Skunk Cabbage and Other Signs of Early Spring

The bus is complicated, so we decide to ride our bikes to East Sooke Regional Park. With a controversial cliffside cottage as our three-night base, we wander the park’s westerly trails, and Doug takes over three hundred photos of trees and babbling brooks. No shooting stars or fawn lilies yet, but the swamps are bright with an early season wildflower: skunk cabbage.

Getting to the Point

The CRD (Capital Regional District) lists East Sooke as one of the regional parks accessible by BC Transit. We consider a day-hike using the bus, but it’s a bit of a challenge. Bus number 64 stops near the park’s Anderson Cove entrance. Number 64 runs weekdays only, and the schedule is infrequent, so a hike needs to be carefully timed.

It’s only a 50-kilometre ride from downtown Victoria to the park’s westerly access, so we choose to go by bicycle. Staying three nights gives us two full days to explore some of the trails that criss-cross the western end of the Park.

Room with a view

SookePoint Resort was years in the making, as the developer battled red tape and unhappy neighbours. Yes, coastal forest was bulldozed to create waterfront views from the cottages anchored on solid rock just fives metres (sixteen feet) from the ocean. The views are spectacular, though, and the suites are comfortable and well-equipped. East Sooke Park is right next door; a ten-minute walk on the Silver Spray trail brings you to the Pike Road/Iron Mine Bay area of the park.

We came for hiking, but it was hard to leave those swivel chairs – front-row seats for watching sunsets and the bobbing heads of seals, otters, and bull kelp.  

Trails

Doug brings his tripod, so we won’t be doing the entire Coast Trail, East Sooke Park’s stand-out hike. The full Coast Trail is a worthy journey for avid hikers, but it’s a rugged six-hour hike and unless you can arrange a shuttle, you have to turn around and repeat the ups and downs and scramble zones; this will not leave a lot of extra time for photos.

The spider web of trails allows us to sample the Coast Trail, then turn inland to the rainforest filled with old cedars and firs, some draped in moss. The Copper Mine and Anderson Cove trails make a varied, moderate loop. Pike Point is a scenic, easy out-and-back walk. The CRD maintains a good trail map for the park.

Windy was right

Snow-rain mix on day one, rain on day four; that was the forecast by Environment Canada and Weather Network. Windy.com was more optimistic and more accurate (and prettier to look at). Four consecutive rain-free days: weren’t we lucky, for early March?

If you go

SookePoint Ocean Cottage Resort has studio, one and two-bedroom suites with kitchens and wi-fi. Check their website for seasonal specials. Bring groceries. It’s a 10 km ride (one-way) to the nearest convenience store and 17 km to 17 Mile Pub.

This is not an “all ages and abilities” excursion. At 35 km (Roche Cove) you leave the safety of the Galloping Goose Trail. The remaining 15 km consists of curvy, shoulderless roads with impatient, risk-taking pick-up trucks. A long series of steep stairs were required to access our A-level suite. If you have a heavy bicycle or weak knees, you might request C-level, which is closer to grade level.


11 comments

  1. Thanks for the great pictures of East Sooke Park which as you know the Wednesday Wonderers, who hike on Tuesdays, have done many times. Its great to be beside the sea!

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  2. Hi Doug and Cathy – love your website and the fantastic photos. Would really like to hear back from you as I’m hoping to borrow one of your images. Thanks!

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    1. Great – hope to hear from you soon. I’m hoping to use the image from your post of May 2018 of the feral goats on Saturna Island. It is beautiful! We have a fledgling business on Saturna Island and are setting up a facebook page – would love to have that picture as our ID. We would of course credit you. Does that sound ok?

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  3. Wow! Just discovered this. Great stories and photos but even greater discovering you guys after 50 years! I was a Tulloss back then and am a Schorske now, but Bonnie has stayed the same. Alec and Mark we born around the same time and we kept each other sane in Crescent Park.

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