Sunday, July 23, 2017

Carol climbs a hill

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!

1 comment:

  1. Good on you! I don't think I would assume I could do what a five year old could do...