–Submitted by Phil Dol
East Sooke Regional Park offers 50 kms of trails through forest, marsh and field a Challenging 10 km Coast Trail, Pocket beaches, rocky bays and tide pools for exploring and scuba diving and Spectacular views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Olympic Mountains. This would be my third hike following the Coastal Trail from Pike Road to Aylard Farm. We started by making arrangements the day before with Sooke Harbour Taxi to pick us up at the Aylard Farm parking lot and drop us at the Pike Road trail head.
We departed Parksville at7:00am Saturday in the darkness of the early morning not knowing what type of weather we would encounter today. When we were about 20 minutes from the Aylard parking lot we contacted the dispatcher for Sooke Harbour Taxi to confirm that we would be ready at our pre-arranged time for pickup.
The day started out cool and overcast with a blanket of fog over the ocean blocking our view of the Olympic Mountains. The trail is fairly easy to follow with a well trodden path through the forested sections and reflective markers over the rocky areas, recently they have added colour trail maps at the major trail junctions as well as the existing wooden directional signs.
We stopped for lunch at the Cabin Point Trap Shack, normally I would sit on the rocks and enjoy watching the waves move in and out over the tidal pools, but today we sat under the protection of the trap shack roof overhang from the light drizzle that had started about an hour earlier. This area is were you will usually start to see people on the trail. Along they way to our next stop at Beechy Head the sun decided to come out. From Beechy Head we continued past the Petroglyphs at Alldridge Point and to our final stop at Creyke Point to enjoy watching the sunlight start to diminish over the ocean before returning to the parking lot at Aylard Farm.
Along the trail we enjoyed the rugged coastal terrain views of Vancouver Island, multiple Heron sighting, a few Seals having a nap on the rocks, numerous Sea Gulls and a very vocal Squirrel. The trail is well maintained with lots of ups and downs, but no major elevation gain, also there are a few spots along the way that drop down to sea level. In total we hiked 13.5 km and took 7 hours with lunch and a few picture breaks.