BC Thru-hiker Dannie Carson

How and where were you introduced to the outdoors?
I used to go camping with my boyhood friends to Squirrel Creek, a tributary creek of the Nechako River.
What has been your favourite hiking trail or outdoor area?
I’ve been on the Juan de Fuca Trail 4 times and enjoyed it quite a lot. I have to also say I really enjoyed the Tombstone Range hike in the northern Yukon.
Please share an outdoor story related to one of the above areas.
Have you ever been lost in the wilderness? If so please describe this adventure and any lessons learned.
Been turned around lots, took the wrong trail some, but never out and out lost.
Can you share any unique encounters with wild animals?
Had a coyote eye me up and down from 10 feet away on my Alexander Mackenzie Grease Trail thruhike, as I had my hiking poles and he probably hadn’t seen them before.  Saw a caribou at close range on the Tombstone Range hike and he was so majestic against the wild river he was near to. Surprised a blonde grizzly who thumped up the hill at a great clip while we retreated the other way.  Had a moose thunder down into the lake 20 feet away and scared the bejesus out of us.
If not previously mentioned, have you ever completed a thru-hike or multi-day backpacking trip and what nuggets of wisdom did you glean from it?
Thruhiked the Grasslands National Park, did 10 days of the Continental Divide Trail near Silverton, did a 10 day hike the length of the Okanagan Valley.
Got my pack weight down to ~ 20lbs including food. Found an excellent bunch of gear and use a spreadsheet to evaluate every trip. See attached.
What is your favourite outdoor website?
The Lightweight Backpacker
What is your favourite outdoor hiking gear store?
MEC

How and where were you introduced to the outdoors?

I used to go camping with my boyhood friends to Squirrel Creek, a tributary creek of the Nechako River.

What has been your favourite hiking trail or outdoor area?

I’ve been on the Juan de Fuca Trail 4 times and enjoyed it quite a lot. I have to also say I really enjoyed the Tombstone Range hike in the northern Yukon.

Have you ever been lost in the wilderness? If so please describe this adventure and any lessons learned.

Been turned around lots, took the wrong trail some, but never out and out lost.

Can you share any unique encounters with wild animals?

Had a coyote eye me up and down from 10 feet away on my Alexander Mackenzie Grease Trail thruhike, as I had my hiking poles and he probably hadn’t seen them before.  Saw a caribou at close range on the Tombstone Range hike and he was so majestic against the wild river he was near to. Surprised a blonde grizzly who thumped up the hill at a great clip while we retreated the other way.  Had a moose thunder down into the lake 20 feet away and scared the bejesus out of us.

If not previously mentioned, have you ever completed a thru-hike or multi-day backpacking trip and what nuggets of wisdom did you glean from it?

Thruhiked the Grasslands National Park, did 10 days of the Continental Divide Trail near Silverton, did a 10 day hike the length of the Okanagan Valley.

Got my pack weight down to ~ 20lbs including food. Found an excellent bunch of gear and use a spreadsheet to evaluate every trip. See below.

What is your favourite outdoor website?

The Lightweight Backpacker

What is your favourite outdoor hiking gear store?

MEC

Hiking in East Sooke Park (Victoria, BC) – Petroglyphs at Alldridge Point

Hiking in East Sooke Park (Victoria, BC) – Petroglyphs at Alldridge Point

East Sooke Park is a large, coastal park located 40 minutes from downtown Victoria, BC or 20 minutes from Sooke, BC. Most visitors to Vancouver Island never explore this region and miss out on a coastal treasure. The park, which is located on the East Sooke Peninsula, is home to many forest animals, tons of birds and plenty of sea life off its shores.

This hike will take you to an ancient petroglyph carved into a seaside rock by the ancestor of the local native tribe. It takes about 1.5 hours to complete (round trip).

Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains in the background."

Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains in the background.

50 km of trails take you through thick second-growth rainforests and to the ancient shores of Juan de Fuca Strait. This hike, to Alldridge Point, is located in the eastern portion of the park and will take you to a dateless petroglyph, carved into a seaside rock ages ago by a native graffiti artist. The drawing isn’t that spectacular (no offense to the artists) but imagining a romantic couple on these very trails and rocks 1000’s of years ago is inspiring. Maybe a young man was trying to impress his girlfriend with his artistic talents. Did their parents punish them for defacing the seascape? Could they have imagined that their work would last for millennia?

Dateless petroglyph at Alldridge Point in East Sooke Park, British Columbia.

Dateless petroglyph at Alldridge Point in East Sooke Park, British Columbia.

This hike starts out from the Aylard Farm parking lot. There are two routes to the petroglyph at Alldridge Point. The first trail is along the rugged coastline of the park. The Pacific waves have created a jagged and rocky coastal shelf with deep surge channels. There are plenty of rock faces to climb where hikers will be using hands and feet to scale the rocky crags. The trail is well marked with yellow, metal indicators attached to the rock face. There were plenty of places where I had to lift my dog in order to proceed. Hiking boots are recommended for this route.

My dog & I taking the rugged route to the petroglyphs in East Sooke Park, BC.

My dog & I taking the rugged route to the petroglyphs in East Sooke Park, BC.

The second route is gentle and smooth along well-groomed pathways through the trees. Only when you get to Alldridge Point will you have to watch your steps on the rocks to see the artwork. Signage is good throughout the park and will help direct you to the petroglyph. Running shoes will provide enough traction and protection for this route. Click here for a map of East Sooke Park.

When on the interior trail, try to sneak out to the shore for some seascape views.

When on the interior trail, try to sneak out to the shore for some seascape views.

For more coastal hiking around Victoria and Sooke, BC visit Comfort Cove Cottage.

Hiking in East Sooke Park (Victoria, BC) – Coppermine Trail

Hiking in East Sooke Park (Victoria, BC) – Coppermine Trail

East Sooke Park is a large nature reserve just outside of Victoria, BC. It’s located on the East Sooke Peninsula and surrounded on three sides by water. The western portion borders the Juan de Fuca Strait while the eastern portion skirts the Sooke Basin. A narrow channel near Wiffen Spit connects the two.

This regional park is located only 40 minutes from downtown Victoria but feels like a world away. It’s a natural paradise with dense forests, undisturbed shorelines and is considered a hiker’s paradise. (The calm water of Sooke Basin is a kayaker’s paradise).

The Coppermine Trail takes about 2 hours to complete (round trip) but people tend to linger and enjoy the coastal views of the Olympic Mountains across the Strait.

Coppermine Trail, East Sooke Park

Coppermine Trail, East Sooke Park

The trail is wide and well-groomed as it follows an old mining road. As you start out, there is a slight elevation gain as it skirts around Mt. Maguire. Lantern plants fill the water-logged ditches to the side. Shortly after starting, the path hits an important junction. Excellent signs point you in the right direction.

  • To the left, a trail leads to Anderson Cove through a thick, second-growth forest.
  • To the right, a steep trail leads up Mt. Maguire for some nice coastal views from up top.
  • Straight ahead, is the continuation of the Coppermine Trail that leads to the shore.

Continuing straight ahead, the path flattens as your approach a marshy area that’s frequented by mule deer. A bit further ahead, the forest thickens and darkens as you approach the abandoned mine shafts that were once used for ore mining for over 100 years.

Lantern plants grow huge beside the pathway.

Lantern plants grow huge beside the pathway.

An abandoned mine shaft along Coppermine Trail, East Sooke Park, BC

A bit further along, the trail narrows to a typical hiking path as it travels through thick forests, open meadows and beside deep ravines. At one point, a fallen tree blocked the way. As the path continued westward, it drops in elevation eventually reaching sea level. Great coastal views can be enjoyed here and, at low tide, you can beachcomb along the shores of Vancouver Island.

Following the well-groomed path back, the steep incline makes for a very challenging return. This strenuous cardio workout is even more challenging since the thick forest prevents any ocean breezes from cooling hikers down. Bring plenty of water and start your return hike well in advance of the sunset.

Getting There: For driving directions, click here. Continue driving up Coppermine Road, along the bumpy dirt road and park at the top of the hill. The trailhead starts on the right-hand side – not the left-hand side on Gordon Road as I mistook.

For more coastal hiking around Victoria and Sooke, BC visit Comfort Cove Cottage. Plenty of romantic getaways are available at Heavenly Hideaways.

Hiking in East Sooke Park (Victoria, BC) – Pike Road

Hiking in East Sooke Park (Victoria, BC) – Pike Road

East Sooke Park is spectacular natural reserve just outside of Victoria, BC, close to Sooke, BC. It offers treks through the coastal hills of southern Vancouver Island and along the shores of the Juan de Fuca Strait. It’s a nature-lover’s paradise that shows the beauty of the rainforest and the ruggedness of the Canada’s Pacific coast.

It could take weeks to explore all of the hiking trails in this 3500 acre park, but an easy introduction to the park is along an abandoned mining road. The Pike Road hike is along a wide, well-groomed gravel road that meanders through a thick rainforest and leads to the a secluded cove with expansive waters views with the Olympic Mountains of Washington State. It takes only 25 minutes of slow walking to get to the coastal view-point.

Pike Road hike in East Sooke, BC.

Me & my dog on the Pike Road hike in East Sooke, BC.

Pike Road Hike

This hike is actually a leisurely walk through the forest. The flat trail has very little elevation gain and is gentle for most couples with kids or older hiking companions. During the winter months, there may be a few mud puddles which can be circumvented with good hiking shoes. Runners will be sufficient at other times of the year.

Video – Pike Road Hike in East Sooke Park, BC

As you saunter through the thick rainforest, you’ll be deafened by the numerous bird calls. There are plenty of bird nests in the tall trees near the bog that’s located at the half way mark. I’ve had plenty of high-pitch whistling conversations with the resident avians (and received plenty of odd looks from my fellow hikers).

The trail ends on a pebble beach overlooking Iron Mine Bay, a sheltered cove that’s an oasis for coastal water foul. If you reach this point at low-tide, you can venture out on a rocky outcropping to view the entire Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.

Note: There are clean washroom facilities at both ends of the hike. These come in handy at times!

Video – Iron Mine Bay View-point

For more coastal hiking around Victoria and Sooke, BC visit Comfort Cove Cottage.  Plenty of romantic getaways are available at Heavenly Hideaways.

There are plenty of romantic things to do in Sooke and the rest of Vancouver Island.

Hiking in East Sooke Park (Victoria, BC) – Aylard Farm

Hiking in East Sooke Park (Victoria, BC) – Aylard Farm

East Sooke Park on southern Vancouver Island is a quiet coastal paradise with plenty of walking and hiking trails. Located on the East Sooke Peninsula, the park is home to a thick, second-growth rainforest that sweeps down to the rocky shores of the Sooke Basin and the Juan de Fuca Strait. Most people neglect to visit this natural gem even though it’s only 40 minutes from downtown Victoria.

This large wilderness park is approxiamately 3500 acres and is home to eagles, owls, and cougars; seals, sea-lions and whales frequent the local waters off its shores. The park has over 50 kms of hiking trails ranging from expert, wind-swept coastline hikes to easy walking trails. Plenty of exciting coastal views await.

Aylard Farm (Easy Hike)

Easy hiking trail in East Sooke park

Easy hiking trail in East Sooke park

The Aylard Farm Trail offers an easy and picturesque pathway to the shores of the Juan de Fuca Strait. A quick 5 minute walk will take to you a white sand beach covered with giant husks of drift wood. Plenty of couples enjoy bonfires and picnics on the beach. Evenings are cool, quiet and secluded.

Follow the signs and walk to the Crekye lookout point and watch the expansive views of cargo ships heading out to the open Pacific Ocean with the magestic Olympic Mountains in the background. Here you’ll be able to watch seals hunt, birds soar and maybe even a humpback whale or orca playing offshore.

Video – East Sooke Park Aylard Farm & Crekye Point

This short walk is fairly flat and can be completed in about 20 minutes. Running shoes are sufficient but the rocks leading up to Creyke Point could be slippery when wet.

This coastal hike is easy and scenic.

This coastal hike is easy and scenic.

For more coastal hiking around Victoria and Sooke, BC visit Comfort Cove Cottage. Plenty of romantic getaways are available at Heavenly Hideaways.

There are plenty of romantic things to do in Sooke and the rest of Vancouver Island.