Eight of us set out on a Maple Mountain loop from Chilco Road on Saturday. Maple Mountain is the best marked and mapped trail system I’ve found on the Island, in that trail marking is frequently updated and the actual trails correspond exactly with the mapped trails. We set out along the blue trail and switched to the yellow, walking parallel to the water to our first break at Grave Point and the opening of Sansum narrows.
Four Island Mountain Ramblers started our Maple Mountain hike on May 9th from Chilco Road in Crofton. We were the only vehicles parked on the street and the weather was clear and warm. The trail starts gently and gradually gets steeper, although it never gets very steep or particularly difficult. Weaving among the fir and cedars of the Blue Trail we emerged onto bluffs several times to northward views of Georgia Strait and the Coast Mountains with the ferry plying its way from Vesuvius to Crofton. Turning south on an unmapped but flagged extension of the Pink Trail we made our way up to the summit and had a well-deserved snack among the arbutus and oak with views of Maple Bay, Tzouhalem, and the southern part of Saltspring.
We descended heading west on the Pink Trail with some great views of Sansum Narrows and down through some large old-growth fir and red cedar. As we got closer to the water Garry oak and arbutus took over and the blue camas and death camas , with sea blush and spring gold became more common. Along the Blue and Yellow Trails we were always in sight of the narrows and marine traffic. I looked for cactus, which I have seen before, with no luck. We took a break at Grave Point watching a seal watching us and enjoyed the marine action. It’s a busy spot.
We completed our last leg in the sun on a quiet trail. Although it is one of the most accessible mountain and marine trails on Vancouver Island we only saw four people all day.