East Sooke Park — A Sunny Sunday Stroll

— Submitted by Matthew Lettington, read the full report on his blog
A Beautiful Cove

Oh the west coast of Vancouver Island. Why are so unpredictable! They say, if you don’t like the weather just wait five minutes….. How true they are!  November on the west coast is not known for is ample sun, warm days, and gorgeous sunny views. Rather it is common to find oneself mired in light drizzle and a bone chilling coolness. On November 24th, I led a group to the south western edge of the island to hike along The coastal route in the East Sooke Park.

This route is one of the best coastal day hikes on the island. The terrain has its ups and downs and does travel through second growth forest but the second growth is 60-100 years old and there are still several giants.  PARK MAP

GPS Route with 48 Photographic Annotation 

Total Horizontal Distance: 12.7 km
Beginning Elevation: 14 m
Max Elevation: 96 m
Total Elevation Gain: 800 m
Time: 6h 30 min

In total 12 hikers made it out for the day, including three guests. I’m normally not one to obsess about the weather, heck I grew up in Nanaimo! I, like many from the area am acclimated to the region. I don’t walk with and umbrella, I don’t spend much time looking at the forecast, however, as a trip leader things are different!  The days leading up to the trip, I checked the weather at least once a day  The night before the trip I awoke to the sound of driving rain beating against my window and roof. The wind was howling as it buffeted my windows.  I was worried that I would awake to discover a dozen emails, sending regrets

Excerpts from Timberline Tales Number 2 January 1966 — Elk River Valley April 16-18 1965

— Originally published January 2, 1966   
A note about the transcription: Careful attention has been given to the original text. Though difficult to read at times, I have preserved the original text, including any evident typos. 

Read Original Document

This was the weekend we were to join the Outdoor Club of Victoria on their trip to the West Coast. While we waited at the Duncan Parking lot in the cold rain for the group to arrive, the up-island members reported there waas no rain North of Naniamo. Since we were a self-contained group, and a change of plans would not hinder the Outdoor Club, we headed north to Strathcona Park for the weekend. By the time we reached Parksville, the sun was trying to shine. From Courtenay on , it was a bright, sunny day.

On arriving at our campsite on the East bank of Tlools Creek, west of Buttle Lake, we had lunch. Since the afternoon was free, we drove on up the Elk River valley, through the pass, descended the Heber Valley to Gold River, and continued down its canyon with the many waterfalls and pools. Rock on the side of the road were covered with pink Easter lillics at many points. On arriving at the bay, we photographed the old town of Gold River at the side of the mountain. We were seeing it for the last time, as it would be demolished. While driving back over the new bridge at the Gold River townsite, where the Gold River joins the Heber River, I looked downstream and saw the remains of the old cable bridge. My mind went back ten years or so to when I walked along trails in the area with the big trees trying to meet overhead. What was then a most beautiful river valley was now a slashed hillside, with the Cats workin on the new townsite. I wonder if we have to destroy so much in the name of progress. As we neared our campsite, we stopped to view Elk Breeding on the side of Big Den mountain. We were wondering how they would make out now that a new highway and power lines are to be constructed through the valley.

The nest day dawned quite clear, but clouded up after breakfast, with a mixture of cloud and sunshine during the rest of the day. After getting away to a good start, we hiked back along the logging road a few hundred yards to the point where the south ridge of Mt. Flannigan comes down to the Road. More we climbed up this ridge as it is perfect going along open rock slopes covered with flowers. Due to the late spring they were just coming out. Near the 30000 foot level we came to soft snow. As the peak could wait for another day, we came back down a short way and spent an hour or so by a warm fire, enjoying the view before retracing our steps to camp and supper, followed by a quiet evening by the campfire.

Sunday commenced cloudy with the peaks hidden. Since the weatherman was forecasting rain from the south, we cut the trip short and returned home after a most enjoyable weekend.

[participant names omitted for privacy reasons]

Syd. Watts.