|John thought it would be a great adventure to do the Baker Ridge Trail on Saltspring on Friday. Do I look like I'm having fun? Photo by John.|
|On trails like this, my strategy is to hang onto anything solid. John was always a few yards ahead of me so he could photograph me trying to stay upright.|
|This might give some idea of why I usually avoid this trail, described at the entrance as "difficult."|
|Thank goodness for trees to hang onto, is all I can say!|
The walk I often do on Saltspring is half a loop. The Quarry Park Trail begins off a side road, leads up a modestly steep ridge (a hike of “moderate” difficulty, says the sign at the entrance) and takes you down the other side to the beach. It’s a short distance, so I usually walk the beach for awhile, then retrace my steps and go home.
Completing the loop would mean walking along the beach to a flight of steps that leads to Baker Ridge Trail, which links back to the starting-point side road. But this trail is far more menacing than the first; its sign warns it is “difficult.” From the bottom, it looks innocent enough; a series of earth-filled wooden steps, but it gets steeper and steeper, and eventually turns into a pile of moss-covered boulders. If you fall, well, it’s a long, bumpy way down.
That sign has always been a good enough warning for me. But I was embarrassed a couple of years ago when I met a young woman and her small son – maybe five years old – who told me they do the whole route, often. A five-year-old scrambling over rocks I’m afraid to face!
So when John suggested on Friday that we do the whole loop – “Let’s have an adventure!” – I had two reactions. First, what a horrible idea; second, if a five-year-old can do it, so can I. For John, who grew up in hilly Vancouver, the trail was as easy as a city sidewalk; he scooted ahead and scraped away the slippery arbutus leaves so I wouldn’t fall, then turned around and took pictures. I watched every footstep, clung to whatever was solid and envisioned the embarrassment of falling. Imagine having to be airlifted out!
When we “summited” without disaster, I was pleasantly surprised. There was no big view, but there was the pleasure of knowing it was all downhill from there. And that I had at last matched the efforts of a five-year-old.
|The first part of the loop is the Quarry Park Trail, a "moderate trail for the average hiker." That sounds like me, and I walk it often.|
|Such a nice gentle start to this trail.|
|A little stairway partway along takes you through the hardest section.|
|Typical steps in the Quarry Park Trail -- quite different from those in the second part of the loop.|
|This gives you a sense of the gentle slope on my familiar route.|
|But arbutus leaves are a menace -- dry and slippery and everywhere.|
|The reward at the bottom of Quarry Park Drive; a beautiful beach view through an arbutus tree. Photo by John.|
|Walk along the beach for awhile, and you come to this stairway, which takes you to the second part of the loop, the Baker Ridge Trail.|
|Here's the sign that has always warned me off this trail: it's "difficult."|
|The start of the Baker Ridge Trail. It looks gentle enough, but soon turns into the rock formations I was scrambling over in the photos at the top of this blog entry. I know I can do it now, but I won't be doing it alone!|