Summer arrived to southwestern British Columbia this weekend with temperatures topping 28C on Sunday and in doing so breaking the temperature record set in 1953. It’s just as well I chose Saturday for my long walk out to the Peninsula. It’s the same the old route I used to train for my LEJOG and despite me having lost count of how many times I made the journey I never tire of it.
Walking conditions were perfect for the first few hours as there was a gentle breeze that kept the temperature in check. Not surprisingly it seemed like most of Victoria was on the Lochside Trail although most were on bikes rather than on foot. I took my first break at the 4-mile mark where I joined the trail after my walk through the city. I took the opportunity to fill up my water bottle at the fountain that was installed over the winter. It’s a clever bit of kit with three water fountains (one for adults, children and pets) and a separate tap designed specifically for water bottles.
From there I continued over Blenkinsop Lake (lovely as always) and then along the old rail bed where I crossed Royal Oak Drive and into Broadmead. Another quick break was followed by a 45-minute walk to Mattick’s Farm where ice-cream sales were booming. I munched on strawberries and a granola bar before setting off on my favourite stretch of the whole walk which took me through the heart of farming country. When I took my last break at Mitchell’s Farm the breeze had subsided and the temperatures soared.
Despite this I set off with the intention of extending my normal 14-mile walk by an additional 3 miles. The prospect of some excellent vistas and a pint at the Prairie Inn kept me going. I wasn’t disappointed either. The skies were unusually clear and I was able to clearly see three distinct snow-topped mountain ranges. To the east was Mt. Baker in northern Washington State, to the northeast were the Coast Mountains near Vancouver and to the south were the Olympics, on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. I staggered into the pub to celebrate my first 17-mile day in more than a year and after a quick bite caught the bus home.
A new LEJOG blog to follow: I encourage you to check out Grant’s End to End Challenge. Grant Paterson began his LEJOG on April 1 and should now be somewhere on or nearing the Pennine Way. Grant’s raising money for three charities and donations can be made online through his Just Giving page.