The Canadian prairies is a decrepit gold mine of photo opportunities. While navigating the maze of gravel roads outside my hometown of Regina this Christmas, it didn’t take long to find abandoned houses circa 1880 and old train cars emblazoned with rust. I started to wonder: What is the Vancouver Island equivalent to exploring gravel roads in the prairies? The ocean, the forests, the mountains—it’s all stunning—but sometimes, it’s almost too pristine. Where could I find some rot and destruction mixed in with the natural wonders of the Island? When I arrived back in Nanaimo, I found my answer in the logging roads off Nanaimo Lakes Rd. and the clearcut forests they provide access to. Simultaneously barren and lush, there is something otherworldly about these landscapes.

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[Editor’s note: Spanky refers to a popular TV show from the 1930s called Our Gang about Spanky and his gang of five to eight-year-olds.]