Exploring wider Victoria…..
When we weren’t being driven around by our wonderful hosts, we explored the area by bicycle and on foot (hiking)
Brian and Meta have a friend named Helen who is part of a hiking group on the island. Whilst the people in the group are well over 60 years of age, this did not stop them from doing more than 6 hours of technical hiking in one day, navigating 14km in distance and close to 1000m elevation gain. It was so good to be able to get out with people from the area as not only did they provide extra insights into the flora and sights, we also leaned a lot about the people that live there.
One of the group hikes was a 2 hour climb up Mount Doug followed by the same down. The main focus for everyone was keeping fit for the main hike the following week. This turned out to be a technical traverse of a relatively unmarked track around Elbow Point and leading eventually to Mount Jocelyn.
In addition to the two hikes we did with the group, we did a trip to John Dean Park with Meta and Brian – here we saw our first turkey vultures. Meta also did a 12km circumnavigation of Elk/Beaver Lake with us one morning – should’ve been 10km but we took a few wrong turns.
On 2 wheels…..
Brian had borrowed a bicycle from a friend and he had a spare bike Friday (folding bike) to lend us. All we had to do was buy helmets – which we did on sale from MEC, “Canada’s go-to place for outdoor gear, know-how and inspiration”. As it is a co-op, we had to join it to buy anything, so we are now official members of a Canadian organisation.
The most memorable trip we did was a cycle out to Butchart Gardens, about 10km from where we were staying. When Glenda’s mother was in Canada about 8 years ago, she raved about the gardens – and on seeing them, we understood why. The gardens are privately owned and are built on the site of an old quarry. There were so many staff welcoming visitors to the attraction and keeping the gardens looking spectacular. The colours were striking – particularly the tulips and rhododendrons.
Unfortunately, it was too early for the roses as the rose garden was huge with a selection of plants from all over the world. The Japanese Garden was pristine and full of bridges as one would expect. As budding Italians, we found the small Italian Garden the only let down. But we did have fun on the carousel – and for only $2 each!
Our other cycles included a trip to the BC Aviation Museum where the guide gave us a very detailed tour of the aircraft and other memorabilia. We also did a few odd cycles to nearby Sidney by the Sea (to visit the bakery!), Island View Beach and Matticks Farm, a small group of shops with produce, gifts and food.