At the end of June, we packed a picnic and ventured out to East Sooke Park. I had hiked the trail there with my cousins about a decade ago when I came out to the Island during my first Reading Break at university and we’ve talked about returning there ever since we moved out here. The trail is marked long and challenging, however, so we didn’t think it would be suitable for the girls—until this year.
We started out by hiking along the coast to Creyke Point, where we sat and ate our picnic with a view out over the ocean in three directions. I slathered the girls in sunscreen because it was a hot day and we watched motor boats and sail boats on the water below us. Then we walked past the beach, telling the girls that they had to hike before they could play. (I was hoping that the trail would be shady and we could return to the beach later in the afternoon when it wasn’t quite as hot.)
The girls had a blast on the Coast Trail. We had just done the letter C in our alphabet activities, so I pointed out the “C” on the signs and told them we were following C for Coast. They ran ahead of us, clambering up over the roots or rocks in the trail and dashing through the trees. We stopped in a few places to admire the view of the ocean, including a glimpse of Race Rocks out across the water.
There are several loops that you can do from the Coast Trail—various places to return to the parking lot or beach via a shorter route. However, the girls were having fun so we just kept hiking… on past the Petroglyphs towards Beechy Point. We should have stopped for a break and a snack at the Petroglyphs, because Beechy Point was a bit further than we expected. Jade woke up and wanted out of the Ergo (so I was hiking with a baby in one hand, trying to help Lily and Sunshine with the other, on a very rough trail) and Sunshine was very whiny and thirsty for the last half hour.
Beechy Head was worth it, however. The girls ran through the split in the rock and happily “rock climbed” up the Head. We got out their snacks and water and admired the view from there while reading the historical information on the marker. I changed Jade and fed her. Then we bundled her back into the Ergo and started back down again. We followed the shorter trail straight back through the trees (rather than going back along the coast) and the girls were once again running ahead. Sunshine liked checking all the signs and soon recognized A-Y-L-A-R-D for all the signs pointing back to Aylard Farm.
We put our hiking stuff in the truck and got out our beach stuff and headed back to the beach to let the girls play there. Sunshine and Lily soon made friends with another girl who was building sandcastles and they all worked together to make a long row of castles. Finally, tired and sandy, we rounded everyone back into the truck for the drive back to Victoria.
If you are planning to visit East Sooke Park, I recommend taking lots of water and good, sturdy hiking shoes. The trail is rough but the views are fantastic and our girls have more fun on “rough” trails like this one than on a simple path through the woods. There are picnic areas around the parking lot and washrooms located at the parking lot and near the beach. The beach is sandy and quite big, so it didn’t feel crowded even though there were a lot of people there just for the beach. The trails were all well-marked, either with signs or with little orange/yellow squares.