I just completed my first 28-mile two-day walk in quite a few years and I thought I’d practice my blogging skills while I’m at it. I had fantastic weather although Tuesday was pushing 30 degrees Celsius and so Wednesday’s brisk wind off the water was a welcome relief.
My route began in downtown Victoria and my destination was Saanichton, in the heart of the Saanich Peninsula. I’ve done this walk a handful of times and the 14-miles takes me 4 hours to complete, not including rest stops. I carried a large day-pack that weighed in at just over 6 kgs. including snacks and water.
I started out just before noon, donning my new hiking shoes and floppy bush hat, and headed north through the familiar streets that constitute my patch. The first leg is a 4 mile stretch designed to get me out of the city as quickly as possible. The route climbs a series of gentle hills for the first couple of miles before leveling out.
For now this is the closest I’m going to get to the South West Coast Path (FYI, Falmouth is just a few blocks up and on the left)…
After about an hour of city walking I hook up with the Lochside Regional Trail, a 29-km pathway popular with cyclists and walkers throughout the region. The trail follows the old Canadian Northern Pacific Railway line that linked Victoria with steamship dock at Pat Bay. Constructed in 1917 the railway carried both passengers and freight before being taken over by the Canadian National Railway in the 1920’s. Service ceased in the 1930’s.
I was onto my second Energy drink by now and really moving. When I next looked up I found myself on the outskirts of Cairo!
I followed the Lochside Trail for the next 7.5 miles as it cut through farmland and quiet residential areas. Blenkinsop Lake, nestled in the Blenkinsop Valley, is a marshy wetland spanned by a wooden trestle. According to a small plaque one of the piles driven into the marsh was 189 feet long. The water lilies are spectacular at this time of year.
The trail offers some nice shady stretches and some great ocean views to the east. Mount Baker, in Washington State, is clearly visible on the horizon as I walk above Cordova Bay.
I take a short break at Mattick’s Farm, a collection of shops and restaurants situated next to an 18-hole golf course, before rejoining the trail and emerging into proper farm country. I leave the trail and cross the highway at Michell’s Farm for the final 1.5 miles along a local road.
I returned to Victoria the next day along the exact same route but the last few miles were tough. It’s a great walk but the downside is it’s mostly over hard surfaces, a fact my feet were well aware of. No blisters but they sure did ache. But all in all a great walk.