This week the dogs and I explored two trails we hadn't tried before: Chemainus Lake, which is an offleash park with a 2.5 km trail through forest around a lake, and a section of the Municipal Forest Reserve which I shall call The Escarpment.
I didn't take pictures on the Chemainus Lake trail earlier this week. It is a good trail for a exercise-focused walk with the dogs but not particularly exciting. The lake can only be glimpsed through the trees from the trail, and is surrounded by swampy land that makes it inaccessible except for right by the dock. The trail approaching the dock is too close to a road for comfort, and a very stinky swamp near the dock (I swear there are bodies buried there!) made it not that pleasant. However, with the dogs on leash near the road and the swamp replenished with fall rain, it could be a comfortable outing for the dogs and me later in the year.
Today's adventure, however, was another matter. The trail climbs gently but steadily through lovely lush forest until it opens up to an old logging road affording views across the Cowichan Valley. From there, it goes steeply downhill where it eventually joins up with one of the main roads. Along the way, there are cross trails that lead to Crofton Lake - one could spend days exploring the area.
Four of us two-leggeds with eight of the four-leggeds began the trek through the trees:
At the top, we surprised a forestry worker planting seedlings - who quickly called out to make sure the dogs didn't help themselves to his lunch! Smart move! once out of the trees, the trail was hot and dusty, but the views (though hazy today) were impressive.
On the downward slope, Bonnie pointed out a pile of rocks (okay, I know there is a name for it, but I'm having a senior's moment), in which someone had hidden a geocache. The geocache is part of an international game in which participants locate treasures all over the world. Hikers are welcome to take a treasure but must leave another in its place. This treasure box contained Disney decals, a Canada pin, a crib board, a multi-purpose knife, a set of screwdriver bits, and various other surprises. We added a marble which Else had picked up on a previous hike. More about geocaching can be found here.
We continued on to where the trail began its sharp descent down the other side, but decided the climb back up without benefit of shade would be a bit much on such a warm day, and so we about-faced and headed back to the shade and seclusion of the trees.
It's a hike I look forward to doing again on a cooler day, one I'm told is wonderful on a crisp winter's day.
And finally, I got a picture of all three wolfhounds together! Bonnie has been asking for one but they never sit still long enough. On this hike, however, they were finally tired enough to sit for a photoshoot. Don't ask me which is which, but these are Blue, Mara and Brianna: