Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gowlland Tod Provincial Park

A couple days ago Jon and I decided to venture out to the Highlands and try out the Gowlland Tod trails in Brentwood Bay. To be honest, I didn't quite realize how high up we were going so when we got there and there was snow on the ground I knew I was very under-dressed. We chose to do the McKenzie Bight trail and it wasn't long before we realized that that particular trail was all downhill. Soon we were out of the snow and into the lush forest heading down alongside a stream.
The trail can be quite hard on the joints because it is a good 30 minutes of walking straight downhill but I think it was worth it. I really enjoyed observing the natural processes going on around me. There were many fallen trees from the wind storms earlier that month as well as a landslide that appeared to have happened maybe a year or more ago.

I loved the little waterfalls. If you just stood still it was so relaxing listening to the sound of the water running down to the sea. Definitely beats any relaxation CD out there. When you finally reach the bottom of the trail the view is stunning. Tod inlet is very serene and obviously a home to wildlife. While we were there we saw seals, ducks and many other birds. I could imagine that you might see otters there as well but we didn't see any that day.

It was nice to see the forests around the inlet were intact and as far as I could tell had no evidence of  logging. I found that to be refreshing, especially since we noticed there was logging along the road that leads into the park. For the most part we alone out there staring at the see. A couple other hikers passed by but didn't really stop. It was a nice place to relax.

The water was amazingly clear. Even in the dead of winter it makes you want to jump in. This will be a trail I will be visiting in the summer. The park website states that swimming and canoeing is allowed (however, I'm not sure how one would get a canoe down there, not to mention back up).

This was the last shot I took before we made our way back up the hill. Normally, I imagine the hike up would not be all that bad but it was muddy and in places icy so it was definitely a challenge to get back to the car. If you plan to hike this trail in any season other than summer wear really good hiking boots because it will take you a long time to get up the hill if you don't. Also, dress warmer than you think you need to because it is much colder up in the Highlands than even down on West Saanich Rd.
The Gowlland Tod Park has many trails and multiple entrances. I will definitely go back for more hiking but I'm thinking of starting on the Langford side next time and seeing where that takes me. If you are interested in visiting the park and you would like more information visit the park website at

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