Hiking at Finlayson Arm

Hiking at Finlayson Arm on southern Vancouver Island formed the second part of my rare day off yesterday after that wonderful introduction to kayaking in Saanich Inlet.

Finlayson Arm is a reach of water extending from Saanich Inlet. Being fjord-like it has steep sides so I expected good views across it to the Malahat where the main Vancouver Island highway passes.

Finlayson Arm

Hiking at Finlayson Arm

I was planning to explore trails in the southern end of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park, one of many BC Parks in our area, which flanks Finlayson Arm on the Victoria side. The starting point is at Caleb Pike Access (more of him later). I took the wider southern trail surrounded by foxgloves (favourites of mine) and dragonflies doing their whirly-birds acts. This route was somewhat disappointing so I suggest you ignore it and just go north following signs to Holmes Peak. This is allegedly 1.3km but don’t believe them; they’re for optimists. Actually the signage could be better says one who strayed off the track more than once. Anyway the whole 2.5 hours on different trails did produce some great elevated views, as above.  To add to the pleasure, I met no one at all en route. The paths were quite rugged at times but the runners I wear for gardening at the B&B were adequate.

Caleb Pike House

Caleb Pike House

I needed to return to the B&B but wanted to stop first at the nearby Caleb Pike House. As you can see this is an old homestead full of character if lacking in comfort (though somehow it has a sitting room, kitchen and five bedrooms).

Caleb Pike was an early colonist (what else with a name like that) who arrived from England in 1849. He and his two sons started building this house in a remote setting whose return trip to Victoria by horse and buggy took a full day. I want to bring Linda back here and we can try to get a sense of what life was like then.

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