Mount Empress

April 9, 2022

~ submitted by Mary Hof

Wow, just wow, what a day for a hike today. Joint trip with Island Mountain Ramblers and the OCV. We did 21.3km, 1103m, in the Sooke Hills.

There were 7 of us. I had planned to make a short car shuttled but we decided since we parked at Charters River, we would just head to South and North Larkspur, and bushwacked a short distance to meet the Harrison Trail. From there we headed to Mary’s Peak, Puzzle, both Dumbbells, and then way down, to go back up Empress Mountain, which is the highest Peak on South Vancouver Island.

It was very windy at top but we had no rain all day. We actually found shelter out of the wind while on top. After heading down Empress, we decided to head right back up Screen Hill, went around Bert Lake. Had a snack at Grass Lake and then headed up Monument. Once we were down Monument we headed back to the vehicle via Charters Creek 8 hours later.

We took group pictures up Mary’s peak. I first found this peak 15 years ago, when there was no trail. It was a place where I felt nature at its best. A place I felt I could leave all the things I didn’t want to think about and just be at peace. Mary’s Peak overlooks Shields Lake and and lots of surrounding hills. Once arriving there I always feel my energy level increase. 

Today was very special, as I put on my new rain jacket that I won by leading hikes for Island Mountain Ramblers. A picture of me was taken with my jacket and the sign for Mary’s Peak. It was a wonderful moment for me. No it wasn’t raining, but I am very proud to wear this gifted jacket.

Thanks for those joining me today, and for Ray, who helped lead the way at times.  Live Life to the Fullest Folks, one just never knows.

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