The intended trail head (parking lot #2/Sooke Potholes) that would have us closer to our intended destination was locked (icy, windy, steep road); so we changed plans and started off from the Charters Creek trailhead.
Through -5 temps, clear skies, snow and ice underfoot; 4 humans and one dog tromped up Monument instead. We had a brisk pace with very short stops to stay warm.
Coming down off the hill towards the north, we caught icy winds in the face for a short time. We stopped to admire the frozen Grassy lake before returning down Grass Lake trail.
We wanted to include Devastation Hill, but the creek crossing was a little larger than we wanted to attempt.
Took us about 3 hours to hike 12.5 kms with 550 metre elevation gain.
We left a vehicle at both trailheads and commenced the10km ridge hike at Caleb Pike, taking 3 hours with stops for photos and a detour to see both Cascade Falls and the extremely high tide at McKenzie Bight. While there was wind on the ridge, there was no rain! Elevation gain travelling in this direction was minimal, only 400m.
I led (with Ray Billings help) a hike for 8 Island Mountain Ramblers that took us 9 hours and 15 minutes. 1100m elevation gain and 22km. This hike was a Ridge Rambler hike. The weather was good, the wind kept us cool.
I led a hike from the trailhead of Mt. Holmes to Fork Lake, on the Gowlland Todd Provincial Park. It was 20km and 750m elevation gain. Hiked included the whole ridge, which gave outstanding views. We stopped at Jocelyn Hill, Squally Reach, and Mt. Work for longer breaks.
What a perfect day on the trail! When I scheduled the trip, I had high hopes for great weather. But, as the day approached, the forecast took a turn for the worst. We all expected a cold, drizzly day, with wet brush and slippery rock. We were in for a treat!
Seven club members met at Alyard Farm for a car shuffle that allowed some participants the luxury of doing the coast trail without the commitment of following the inland route back to the cars. We started our hike shortly after 8 AM. In the dim light of the morning and in the tall trees, we had no idea what would await us when we got to the coast.
We had a bleak forecast but I hoped the day would still be enjoyable. With the turnover to the new year, I’ve sought trips with a “good” amount of elevation and distance to get in shape for the spring and summer. I scoffed at the forecast – snow?!
On Saturday, February 12, 2022, four of us hit the trail on what turned out to be one of the finest February days we could have hoped for.
The East Sooke Coast trail is one of the club’s lifetime hiking objectives. Along with its incredible west coast character, it has a lot of ups and downs. My first time on the trail was in my first year with the club, 2011. At the time I was surprised about the elevation gain on the trail. I remember being amazed at how remote the hike felt.