On this adventure it paid to be tiny…

Today was a beautiful day in Victoria. The sun was shining and I was looking forward to getting outside and enjoying it. I was supposed to meet my co-worker for a hike of Mount McDonald but she had to cancel last minute. So most of the day was mine because I didn’t have plans until 3:00pm.

I left the house a little before 10:00am and had my water pack with a little water in it, a protein bar, my phone and my beats. I had put 3 hours on my Garmin watch and I was off. The sun felt good and even though I had been skiing the day before my legs felt good as well. I wasn’t sure where I was going when I left but I had a few different routes running through my head. Did I want to run Bear Mountain and go to Mount Finlayson? Did I want to try and find Mount McDonald? I headed down Goldstream Avenue which could take me to either of those places and I decided on Mount McDonald. To start my adventure I took a little detour through a gated road, just before Ice Cream Mountain on the Trans Canada Highway. I had always wondered where it went and today was a day for exploring. If anyone else has wondered it is a gravel pit basically but there is a good hill there for hill repeats if anyone is ever looking for one.

Sun shining through the trees

I came back down and crossed the road to head towards Mount Wells and Humpback Road. I could remember the directions said to look for rocks along the road and you would see a Capital Regional District sign. I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going but I figured if I didn’t see the rocks or the sign I would just keep running Humpback Road and head home from there. A little ways past the single lane bridge I came to the rocks and the sign and I headed up the path. The sun was shining through the trees and it was beautiful already.

Up I went taking in all the sights. The trail was easy to follow even though there are not markers or signs pointing you in the direction you need to or should go. As I made my way up I would stop and take some pictures of the view and just enjoyed the sun and the moment. I didn’t mind the fact that I was alone doing the hike because it gave me time to think and I could go at my own pace. It kind of felt like I was in my own little world.

At one point in the trail it became steep and you needed a rope to get yourself up and over the rocks. When Warren and I climbed ‘Chief‘  near Squamish, we had to use a rope but I hadn’t had to do that with other mountains in Victoria. There was something about it today that I liked though. As I went along I saw a few foot prints so I then realized that I wasn’t the only one on the mountain.

IMG_20130303_103915I would stop along the way and take in the views that were so beautiful. At each elevation the views would change and I could see more and more. I loved it and it made me smile. As I climbed and rounded a corner I would think I was at the top a few times but the trail just kept on going. I finally reached the top and could hear voices. There were four other people having a snack and taking in the view.

View from the top
View from the top

I snapped some pictures, had some water and some of my bar and I asked them for directions as to how to get down the mountain. I had seen on the map that it looked like you didn’t have to go back down the same way as you went up. They weren’t 100% certain of the alternate route but told me of the power line maintenance road that I could take to get me to Sooke Road. I took a picture of the group, said my thank you’s and was off.

The trail to get to the maintenance road wasn’t marked so I wandered to see where it could be. I found what was like a new logging road and headed down it. After a long winding road I came to a T-junction. That isn’t a good thing for me because I am not good with directions and since there wasn’t a clear sign saying ‘Sooke Road this way’ or a name of a place that I knew pointing me in the direction I should go I went with what I thought was the direction of Sooke.

Maintenance Road
Maintenance Road
The hole
The hole in the fence I slide under

I ran and ran…and ran some more. I was starting to wonder if I should turn back but then what happened if I turned back only to have to turn back again? So, I kept going the way I had picked. It was like answering true or false on a test and you are always told to go with your first instinct. I finally came to some signs. One said Mile 0 (zero) but that meant nothing to me. I then saw a house so I thought that was a good sign except the I noticed all the wire fencing that was running around it and down the road that I was running on. I couldn’t climb the fence either because there were 3 rows of barb wire fencing on top of the other fencing. Oh boy! Now what?

I could see through the fencing the rail road tracks that I had taken before on another adventure Warren and I had took. I was starting to recognize the area but how was I to get to it? As I ran farther along the fence I saw a big rock in front of an opening under the fence. I moved the rock and thought to myself  ‘Am I tiny enough to fit thought there?’ I removed my back pack and slowly worked my way under the fence. Today it paid to be tiny. I put my backpack on and made my way to the tracks. Once I got going I realized I wasn’t too far from Humpback Road and I headed towards home. I was still feeling good until I reached Goldstream Avenue and that was when my legs were starting to feel tired and heavy.

20k and 2 hours and 26 minutes later I was home and overall feeling great. It was a fun adventure even with getting a bit lost and one that I am happy I did. If that hole in the fence hadn’t have been there I am not sure what I would have done but I think a friend may have got a phone call.

When was your last adventure and where did it take you? Did you get lost or do you have a better sense of direction than me?

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