Monday, 6 July 2015

Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse- Our West Coast Maritime History

A great park to explore, located near Victoria, BC, is Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site. This coast artillery fort, which was originally built in the late 1890's to defend Victoria and the Esquimalt Naval Base, is a wonderful and historic park with lots to see.

The main attraction is the beautiful Fisgard Lighthouse. Built in 1860, this lighthouse was the first on the west coast of Canada.

Fisgard Lighthouse
The lighthouse was draped in the Canadian flag for Canada Day celebrations this year.

Fort Rodd Hill also has beautiful viewpoints, and many interesting old military buildings to explore.

View Across the Water from the Top of Military Magazine

Head down the stairs to underground magazines and gun batteries more than 100 years old. 

Underground Magazine

Old Military Magazine and Supplies 
Explore some of the trails in the park, there are lots of places to picnic or to sit and looks at the views. Look for the Parks Canada red chairs!

Sit in the Red Chairs for the Best View 
Now head down to the beach for a walk. 

Driftwood Beaches
A short walk will lead you to Fisgard Lighthouse. 

Fisgard Lighthouse 
Enjoy this historic lighthouse and Fort Rodd Hill Park!

Happy Canada Day!

Monday, 15 June 2015

East Sooke Park- A Coastal Hike

A great place for day hikes near Victoria on Vancouver Island is East Sooke Regional Park.

The view across the water at East Sooke Park 
 About a 45 minute drive from downtown Victoria, this large park has many trails for whatever type of hike you are looking for, rugged or easy, coastal or rainforest, short or long.

An easy entry point with a large parking lot is at Aylard Farm.

Trail down to beach at Alyard Farm
Walk down the path about 5 minutes until you reach the sandy beach.

Flowering Meadows at Alyard Farm

Sun yourself on the beach and check out the hidden coves just over the rocks.

When you are ready, walk along the coastal trail. Make sure you have good shoes as the trail can be a little rugged. I walked as far as Alldridge Point and back to the parking lot, which was about one hour, but you could walk farther as there are many trails and entry points at this park.

Coastal views from the trail 
At Alldridge Point are some ancient petroglyphs carved into the rock. This is a provincial heritage site and shows some of the history of the Coast Salish people in this region.

Look for wildlife along your walk and check out the different types of trees along the coast. Many trees tend to be shaped interestingly by the wind and the likely strong storms that can pound the coast. There are also many colourful red arbutus trees.
Arbutus trees abound on the coast 
Once you are ready to turn back, go back along the coast for a bit, and then look for the trail on your left that will lead you back through the forest to the parking lot. This wide trail will take you through a bit of the coastal rain forest filled with lush ferns and salal.

Rainforest trail leads you back
There is lots to explore at East Sooke Park.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Pender Island, BC - Brooks Point Park

A very scenic walk to take on Pender Island is Brooks Point Park and Gowlland Point.

First, drive to the very end of Gowlland Point Road on Southern Pender Island and walk down the staircase to the beach at Gowlland Point.  Here you can see across the water to islands in the distance such as Orcas Island in the USA.

At Gowlland Point, Pender Island 
Look for a trail up to the grassy bluff on the right hand side. Take this trail and follow it over to Brooks Point Park.

The path leads to another beach, with many interesting shaped beach wood and carved out rocks.

Go back up onto the grassy bluff and continue onwards.

Another beach is just over the next rocky slope.

Choose your favourite beach and stay a while!

Pender Island Stroll- Trincomali Beaches

On Pender Island, BC a great area to explore is the neighborhood of Trincomali. Located at the very end of Pirates Road on North Pender Island, there are a few great beaches within an easy stroll of each other.

Start first at the end of Plumper Way. There is an public ocean access at the end of the road, leading to a family friendly beach in a nice, protected cove.

Then walk back along the road to Trincoma Place. At the end of this road on the right hand side is another ocean access point.

View Across the Water 

Enjoy the beautiful views and check out the tide pools when the tide is low. 

Now head back on Trincoma Place to another ocean access point along the road. Go down the stairs.

This is a beautiful beach with some white shell sand, looking across Starvation Bay towards the Poets Cove Marina.

Enjoy your beach day.

Playfair Park in Victoria, BC- Springtime Colour

Playfair Park, located in the area of Saanich, in the suburbs of Victoria, BC is a relatively small but beautiful park.

Playfair Park

 A great time to visit is in the spring, as there are many colourful rhododendrons.

Take your time and wander the many pathways with giant aged rhodos, some as large as trees.

There are also oak meadows, carefully being restored back to their natural state and freed from invasive weeds by many volunteer work parties. You can see the good work being done, and can enjoy the beautiful space filled with wild flowers in the spring. 

Oak Meadows With Camas Flowers 
Walk the many trails, it's easy to explore this hidden neighbourhood gem. 

Enjoy this quiet and peaceful place.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Whistler Walk - Nita Lake to Alta Lake Park

Another short Whistler walk to do is from Nita Lake to Alta Lake Park.  You can start at the Nita Lake Lodge and stroll along the Valley Trail towards Alta Lake.

Check out the Leaning Tree on the trail.

A short distance further on the trail you will come to a junction at the giant pinecone statue.

Public Art On The Valley Trail 

Keep to the left at the junction, walking alongside the trail near the railway tracks.  A very short distance later you will come to the sign for Alta Lake Park on the right hand side.

Follow the trail into this small park. This park has beautiful views of Alta Lake and of the mountains.

The Beauty of Whistler 
Check out the giant chairs. This is a fun place to take a break.

Enormous Chairs To Sit In The Sun 
There are some old cars and remnants of old machinery, I guess from the property's former past, which adds to the eclectic nature of the space.

Remnants Of The Past 
Check out the dock for a premier view of the lake and mountains.

Follow the trail back to the Valley Trail. There are still some small cabins near the lake.

Rustic Cabin 
Enjoy the park and your walk!

Springtime Whistler Walk - Alpha Lake to Nita Lake

A short but scenic walk in Whistler is the section of the Valley Trail from Alpha Lake to Nita Lake.

Still Snow On The Mountains In Springtime
Alpha Lake's Beaver Dam 
Check out the beaver dam on Alpha Lake. Beavers in Whistler have to watch out , as bears sometimes prey on them. This dam is fairly safe as it is away from the shore, on an island in the water.  Alpha Lake has lots of evidence of the beavers chewing on trees. Many trees in Alpha Lake Park have their bases covered in wire netting to prevent the beavers from doing too much damage.

Beaver Chop
Another spring time sign in Whistler is the emergence of Skunk Cabbage plants, otherwise referred to as Swamp Lanterns (I like this name better). They add much colour to the landscape at this time of year, and are quite pretty if you can overlook their smell.

Swamp Lanterns 
Alpha Lake also has a nice park and dock.

Now head along the Valley Trail, past the beautiful Nita Lake Lodge to Nita Lake.

Nita Lake 
You can finish your walk here at Nita Lake or if you like keep on going along the trail. There is lots of scenery to enjoy.

Springtime Colour