Pitt Polder Dike Walk Part 3 – Katzie Marsh Plants

Cloudy skies make a bright background for these water plant reflections at Katzie Marsh in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada.

aquatic plants in katzie marsh

Katzie Marsh Plant Reflections (Purchase)

I split my writings here about my long walk along the Dikes near Pitt River and Pitt Lake into 3 parts – the first being the walk along the Pitt Polder Dike Trail, the second of Pitt Lake Dike Trail, and this is the third in that series. Earlier in the day I’d started my walk just expecting to quickly take a look my favourite view from the Pitt Polder Dike, but wound up walking a number of kilometers all the way to Pitt Lake. I’d been trying to outrun the onset of some clouds from the south, clear days being a tough situation to find this fall, and this location straight north of where I live turned out quite well. I initially used the sunshine to brighten the fall foliage, then the cloud cover to give some flatter light but without glare, still with some blue sky available. The remainder of my plan after I arrived at Pitt Lake was to again photograph the aquatic plants in Katzie Marsh. I had enough of them that I thought I’d give them their own post.

It seems clear I will have to to photograph these plant species in the spring or summer sometime so I can actually identify them. In the meantime, I’m left seeing how many variations on “aquatic wetland marsh plants” I can use as descriptions. It does pain me to not know a plant’s species name, but not knowing what these are at all is particularly vexing. The first photograph above shows the onset of cloud cover to the south. The reflection is very bright, and I used it to make a near white background to these aquatic leaves. It is a bit disorienting as to where the leaves themselves end and the reflections begin, but this was all meant to be somewhat abstract so I think it works.

wetland plants in katzie marsh

Wetland Plants in Katzie Marsh (Purchase)

The photograph above is a twin of sorts to one I made at Katzie Marsh (link) a few years ago. In a similar way to the image I linked to, I liked the appearance of two rows of plants in this area. From there I worked on other ideas, and using my 100-400mm lens for all of the photographs I made in all 3 of these posts, I was able to zoom in 400mm and make the photograph below. Just a few plants by themselves, but also a bit of subtle colour from the leaves of other plants now underwater.

marsh plants in katzie marsh

Wetland Plant Reflections in Katzie Marsh (Purchase)

The photograph below is from along the Pitt Lake Dike looking southeast towards Gwendoline Peak. The dike you can see running through the background here is the Swan Dike, which is the next dike one uses to complete the Katzie Marsh Loop. Some Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera were nice enough to provide some fall leaf foliage in the background as well.

fall at katzie marsh

Fall Foliage at Katzie Marsh (Purchase)

After I’d tried various compositions in the marsh I noticed from the clouds to the south it was about to rain. This was an interesting realization in light of my having left that rain jacket I mentioned in part one in the trunk of my car during my poorly planned departure. The car now sitting roughly a 3.5km (2.4 miles) walk away. I did not make any photographs on the way back to the car, and I stowed all of my equipment so I could walk with purpose back to the car. When I arrived, I could hear the rain coming, and was lucky to make it just as the rain started.

fall appearance of wetland plants in katzie marsh

Katzie Marsh in the Fall (Purchase)

For more photographs of the Pitt River/Pitt Lake area including the 28 images I published from this day please visit my Pitt Meadows gallery in the Image Library.

Pitt Polder Dike Trail Walk Part 1

Raven Peak with fall foliage from the Pitt Polder Dike near Heron Cove and the Smohk’wa Marsh in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada.

raven peak and fall foliage along the pitt river

Raven Peak And Fall Foliage in Pitt Meadows (Purchase)

This is the first part of a series of posts about the Pitt River and Pitt Lake area where I photographed this fall. 2021 was a relatively spectacular year for fall foliage in this part of British Columbia, giving me a lot of potential opportunity to try to photograph in my favourite fall foliage conditions – sunshine. I like fall leaves in almost any weather aside from a downpour, but when they are hit by some sunshine they can really light up in great ways. It was fortunate the Maple tree fall foliage was good this year, and was followed by many weeks of great foliage in the Cottonwoods and Birches, because the weather was very very wet. The southern part of British Columbia had an endless string of rain storms starting in October and ending (so far) just last week. More than one of these were quite damaging and caused record flooding and highway damage. So finding time to get out and photograph when it wasn’t pouring rain was difficult, and doing so with a rare sunny break even more so.

On this particular day, I had planned to do some photography closer to Vancouver but instead headed straight north to the Pitt Lake area in Pitt Meadows. The clouds made an early appearance on what was supposed to be full day of sun. So I managed to outrun the cloud advances from the south, and had over an hour to photograph with some sunny breaks. Some of the place names for this area can get confusing with multiple names being used, some official, some not. I made the photograph above next to the Smohk’wa Marsh from the Pitt Polder Dike (as per the city of Pitt Meadows) between Heron Cove and the boat launch area at Pitt Lake/Grant Narrows. I liked those two colourful Paper Birch trees (Betula papyrifera) and walked a bit to line then up on either side of Raven Peak above. This image is the September photograph in my 2022 Nature Calendar.

golden ears edge peak and fall foliage along the pitt river

The Golden Ears (Evans Peak), Raven Peak and Fall Leaves in Pitt Meadows (Purchase)

My plan before this moment had been to walk up onto the Pitt Polder dike and take a quick look at one of my favourite views looking north. I stayed for longer than that, and made the photo above looking east towards the Mount Blanshard’s Edge Peak (The Golden Ears). I believe the yellow trees in the foreground are Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) which I don’t recall having as nice foliage in the fall in previous years. One doesn’t need to walk far (or at all) to see great scenery in this location though. I made the panorama below to show why this is one of my favourite views in the area, and this is just 45° of a 360° view. The wetland in the foreground here is the Smohk’wa Marsh. The Golden Ears are on the right, followed by Raven Peak, Osprey Mountain (in the Golden Ears Ranges), and Gloomy Peak/Widgeon Peak on the left (Coquitlam Ranges). The Pitt River can be seen in the left hand side of the photograph between the marsh and the mountains to the north.

panorama of the view from pitt polder dike in pitt meadows

Panorama of the scenic view from the Pitt Polder Dike (Purchase)

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I had never walked along this dike before, and this became a fruitful afternoon of “what is around that corner?” which drew me further and further from where I’d left the car on Rannie Road (and my rain gear). The photo below shows the view mountain peaks I’m most familiar with along this stretch. Gloomy Peak here is hiding behind a colorful Birch tree. Widgeon Peak is hiding off to the left, but I’ve always thought the peak in the middle should be named. If it is named, even unofficially, I’ve yet to find it. I guess I’d just like a result from a 20 minute search through maps sometimes!

gloomy peak birch fall foliage pitt river

Gloomy Peak Hides behind Some Fall Birch leaves (Purchase)

I had continued to walk the dike heading east, going around interesting corners and finding new compositions with fall foliage and mountains. Near the end of this section of the dike I photographed the scene below with some more Birch and Cottonwood tree fall leaves with Osprey Mountain in the background. Osprey Mountain is fairly prominent when one reaches Grant Narrows and travels further along the dike next to Katzie Marsh. I look forward to photographing it and the surrounding mountains soon when they are covered in snow.

pitt polder dike trail osprey mountain

View of Osprey Mountain along the Pitt Polder Dike Trail (Purchase)

Part 2 of the “Pitt Polder Dike Trail Walk” will have photos I made near the Grant Narrows boat launch area at Pitt Lake as well as some from the “Pitt Lake Dike Trail” that heads east from there towards the Golden Ears peaks.

For more photographs from Pitt Meadows visit my Pitt Meadows Gallery in my Image Library.

Katzie Marsh Loop in the Pitt-Addington Wildlife Management Area

Fall foliage along the edge of Katzie Marsh Loop Trail in the Pitt-Addington Wildlife Management Area – Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada.

fall foliage along the katzie marsh loop trail in pitt meadows

Fall Foliage along the Katzie Marsh Loop Trail (Purchase)

The Pitt-Addington Wildlife Management Area is a 2,972 hectare nature reserve in the northern part of Pitt Meadows, British Columbia. Much of the reserve used to be known as Grant Narrows Regional Park, but that was dissolved in 2011 when the Katzie First Nation were given control of the area – now called the Pitt-Addington Recreation Area. I have photographed near Pitt Lake many times, but mostly from the easy to access roadside spots. There are great views of the Pitt River, Pitt Lake, and the surrounding mountains readily available without straying too far from the car. A few weeks ago, however, I wanted to see what views could be found on the trails along the various dikes that head from the roads out into the marsh. Despite the presumption that most of the fall foliage would be gone, and the fact the midday light was filtered through a lot of smoke, I wanted to see what the area had to offer regardless.

I decided to start with the Katzie Marsh Loop. From the main parking lot, past the boat launch, there is a gravel road called the Swan Dike Trail that heads straight towards the Golden Ears Mountains. The main view on this stretch of the trail is not of the Golden Ears, however, but of Pitt Lake, the mountains to the north, and the Katzie Marsh to the south. I expect I’ll be back to photograph these mountain views again when the snow blankets them in a month or so. Along this trail I saw a number of Great Blue Herons (as one would expect) but also had a few passing Osprey, Bald Eagles, and various duck and waterfowl species. Approximately 500 meters from the parking lot there is an observation tower to climb for a better view. I also photographed the marsh plants below (likely sedges or reeds – I was unable to accurately identify them from my photograph) in this stretch of the loop trail.

plants growing in katzie marsh in pitt meadows

Wetland plants (reeds or sedges) growing in Katzie Marsh (Purchase)

On the eastern edge of this part of the Katzie Marsh Loop the road continues to a (private) boat launch and dock. The loop trail itself turns south at this point, away from Pitt Lake (approximately 2.4km from the parking lot). While the trail is no longer a well maintained gravel road, the dike is easy to walk on, and quite flat. Heading south there is a long stretch of water on the left hand side, with Katzie Marsh area on the right. There are a lot of interesting trees and patterns in the rocks along this stretch, and I think it gave a better view of the waterfowl using the marsh as well. The first photograph above shows some remaining fall foliage in the Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) trees at the base of the mountains to the east. Looking backwards to the north along this section of the loop trail also gives good views of the mountains to the north and some nice reflections.

After walking an additional 1.6km from Pitt Lake the trail turns a bit more to the southwest. This is where I found the pond below with a nice reflection of the trees behind it. There was a lot of waterfowl in this area, but many of them left as I approached (I hadn’t seen them until they flew away). There were a few cautious herons who remained, however. From this pond the trail turns even more westward and you come to another observation tower that gave a great view north towards the mountains, Pitt Lake, and gave a good overview of the Katzie Marsh itself. There were two large Kingfishers making a lot of noise in the area. They did not perch close enough to me to photograph, but they were continually on the move and if I’d had the time I likely could have made some good photographs from the cover of the tower.

fall leaves reflection in katzie marsh pond

Fall foliage reflected in a Pitt Marsh Pond (Purchase)

Near the observation tower the trail narrows and is no longer a wide dike trail. The trail for the remainder of the Katzie Loop not only was narrow with blackberries reaching out to grab all my clothing, but offered very little in terms of views of much of anything. This section of the trail is also right next to the water, and eroded in a few spots, so I had to pay attention to avoid a wet mishap. This made for a relatively uninteresting 2km trudge back to the parking lot.

autumn leaves trees foliage katzie marsh pitt meadows

A Row of tree on the edge of Katzie Marsh (Purchase)

I think if I had the time and were to walk the Katzie Loop Trail again soon, I’d turn back at the southern observation tower and go back up to Pitt Lake and then to the parking lot rather than do the whole loop. The last stretch is not interesting, maybe slightly dangerous if you aren’t paying attention, and doesn’t have much in the way of any opportunity for photography or views. All in all I walked 6.8km in completing the loop. Skipping the last stretch to the parking lot would make the “loop” a bit longer at around 9km total distance. This is likely what I will do next time I visit when the snow has arrived. Some of the trip back will be facing the mountains too which will be a great view.

For more photographs of the Pitt River and Pitt Lake area visit my Pitt Meadows Gallery.

The Pitt Addington Marsh

Pitt Addington Marsh, Gloomy Peak, and the Coast Range after sunset in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada

coast mountains reflected in pitt marsh

Gloomy Peak and the Coast Range reflected in Pitt Marsh (Purchase)

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    A month ago I headed to the Pitt Polder Ecological Reserve in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Candada to check out potential for fall colours, and to photograph the northern lights should they show up (they didn’t). This is Gloomy Peak and parts of the Coast Range reflected in a pond along the Pitt River. A familiar spot for me, but I did like the light here after sunset even if it was rather brief.

Birch trees and cotton grass at pitt marsh

Paper Birch and Chamisso’s Cotton Grass at Pitt Marsh (Purchase)

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   The Chamisso’s Cotton Grass (Eriophorum chamissonis) was one of the reasons I walked into the marsh along the dike. I had read they grew here, and I enjoyed them as a foreground element when I first ran into them at Washington Pass. I think I will try to photograph this area again when the leaves are exhibiting some nice fall colours. While the Maples cannot be relied upon for nice colours, the birches usually deliver, though they are few and far between.

widgeon peak reflected in pitt marsh

Widgeon Peak and Pitt Marsh (Purchase)

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You can view more of my photography from British Columbia in my image archive’s British Columbia Galleries.

The Golden Ears Mountains – Mount Blanshard

The Golden Ears Mountains – Blandshard Peak and Edge Peak in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada

panorama of the golden ears mountains in maple ridge, british columbia, canada

Panorama of the “Golden Ears” Mountains – Blandshard Peak and Edge Peak

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   Part of the Garibaldi Ranges – The Golden Ears mountains are a familiar sight in Metro Vancouver, especially from Langley and Maple Ridge. On of my favourite mountains, I have been looking at these since I was a kid. This “Blue Hour” photograph was made from the Pitt Polder area of Pitt Meadows.

See more of my mountain photographs in my Mountain Photos Gallery.

Mount Baker from Pitt Meadows

Sunset on Mount Baker (Komo Kulshan) from Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada

mount baker aka kulshan from pitt meadows - british columbia

Mount Baker from Pitt Meadows (Purchase)

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   Growing up in the area around Vancouver, British Columbia, especially out in the Fraser Valley, Mount Baker is a constant presence on the Eastern horizon. Many roads seem to point straight towards Baker or sometimes Mount Shuksan. While I am most familiar with the view of Baker from Langley, it can be seen all the way from Stanley Park in Vancouver, the Southernmost point of the area in Tsawwassen, and from North of the Fraser River – here in Pitt Meadows. I made this photograph from the edge of one of the many Cranberry fields on the road to Pitt Lake. As Baker is such a constant for anyone living out here, it was quite a surprise for me as a kid to realize that it was not a Canadian mountain – it actually is in Washington State. I was young enough that I am not sure I believed that right away.

Reflection of Mount Blandshard

mount blandshard - the golden ears - reflected in a pond at the pitt-addington marsh in pitt meadows
Mount Blandshard
(The Golden Ears)
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   The mountain peak here is Mount Blandshard (1 716 m or 5 630 ft) and it is always nice to see it reflected in the ponds of the Pitt Marsh in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia. Mount Blandshard is known locally as “The Golden Ears” and is probably one of my favourite local mountains as I was able to see it out my bedroom window when I was a kid. Looking at Mt. Blandshard from the south the mountain has two peaks which sort of resemble pointy ears. However, it seems the name is more likely a corruption of the mountains original name The Golden Eyries.

   This was a cold day, and you can see a bit of ice in the water of the pond messing with the reflection just a little bit. The last time I was making photographs here I managed to catch some epic sunset light. On this day I was actually a bit surprised that I did not find snow at ground level – so, as usual, the planned shots went out the window. This location is only 30 minutes or so (plus a toll bridge 🙁 ) from my house, so I will be visiting it again – I have quite a few ideas I’ve never found the right conditions for that I am itching to finish.

   My next post will likely be another photograph I made at this location on the same day – but of the same view as my previous “epic sunset” photo. A change in seasons creates a very different photograph!

Great Blue Heron at Pitt Lake

A Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) at the marshes near Pitt Lake in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia

great blue heron in the marshes near pitt lake

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

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   A few weeks ago I visited the Pitt-Addington Marsh Wildlife Management Area near Pitt Lake. Shot a lot of landscapes, but this area is always a good place to spot a lot of birds and general wildlife. I walked along the dike for a while, then down into the marsh along a trail. What I should have done was look at the marsh before I came down off the dike into it – as there was a Great Blue Heron standing about 5 feet in front of me looking a bit startled. He took off immediately and landed at a distance just near enough for me to see him and just far enough away that my longest lens wasn’t quite going to cut it.

   I must not have looked like too much of a threat because once I got the wide angle lens back on and started shooting the landscape he flew close again. Not as close as our original encounter but close enough for me to be happy with the photographic opportunity. Was hoping for some hunting shots like I had at Stanley Park recently but today this one seemed much more intent on cleaning and preening itself.