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Moses 01-10-2010 10:55 PM

Hiking Salt Spring Island - Moses Returns!
Grab some genetically modified popcorn, it's a long one.:)

2009 was not good for both hiking and trip reports for me and family, so in order to save face and maintain my good standing *cough on CT, I should get a least one piece of evidence in the form of a trip report showing I did in fact get out on the trail last year.
Some of you may remember the Moses family trip to Salt Spring Island back in 2008. While that TR gives a good account of some of the wonderful things one can expect on their excursion to this island, this TR will actually contain some hiking. Yes, it's true. And not just one hike, but three!

[u]Reginald Hill</u>

Reginald Hill is not the largest bump nor steepest climb on Salt Spring, but it certainly has a more intimate feel in terms of the view and the hike. Summer is the time this island can expect the population to triple as people return to their cottages, or like me, they come back for the food and relaxed pace, so I would have expected to see at least one person on this trail in the beautiful sunshine, but alas, we had it all to ourselves.
We took a slightly different approach for this one and choose to park at the marina in Fulford Harbour (approx. 1km from the trailhead) and walk through Fulford village to add an urban element to our outing.

A quick picture from the parking lot of the marina. Another awesome weather day.

This sign is an omen of things to come for this week. After all, shouldnt a week away from the big city be filled with nothing but Stuff and Nonsense.:)

I had heard rumours of tiny little fairies that inhabited the island, but of course thought this was legend; merely another urban myth. (A nameless CT'er told me about a dream he had; something about hot-boxing with a fairy on an island and making grilled cheese once the munchies kicked in. I had no idea what he was talking about...until later in the week. Keep reading.)

The trailhead.

Like many trails on Salt Spring, this one passes through private land. A big thank you to the many land-owners and First Nations bands that allow us to travel without restriction on their property.

The trail begins on a dirt road for the first few minutes and then ventures off to the left to a more acceptable route where motorized vehicles could not go. The first 3/4s of this trail is not overly exciting by Moses standards; no waterfalls, no view points, no massive old growth trees, but it does have some appeal. There were enough Arbutus trees to keep it interesting (I dont see too many of these in Surrey), and there was not another soul on the trail. Im far from anti-social, but sometimes I just like to have a place to myself to enjoy with my family.

But the last little chunk of trail more than makes up for the first chunk. There are a couple Arbutus trees worthy of mentioning, including one that looks like a giant naturally made barley twist.

The biggie is right at the top of the hill. The root ball is exposed and must be 10 ft across by 8 ft wide, with several large trees growing from it. It is reminiscent to a fennel root, a solid, massive, non-tasty fennel root...with stalks.

The view is pretty amazing as well and strangely peaceful, hence the intimate feel I mentioned a few paragraphs ago. I think this is one of these places that you have to visit to watch the sun set, either alone with a guitar or notepad or canvas & paint, or perhaps with a loved one, blankets, two glasses, and nice Cab Sauv.

After hanging out on the summit for a while I continued on with the trail. It seems to keep going but Im not sure as to where. (Me thinks a secret evil compound maybe!)

We start the journey back to the truck and check off hike #1 from the list, and finish off with a coffee to go!

[u]Tsawout Indian Reserve Trail</u>

One of the locals told me about gem of a trail that few visitors to Salt Spring have discovered. It is on the outskirts of Ruckle Provincial Park, and the trail begins where the road ends. The island only has one Indian Reserve and this trail is on it. It winds it way through the forest as it hugs the coast, revealing a few hidden beaches along the way.

This area is significant in that it had been used by the Tsawout for generations, and evidence is everywhere. Here you can see some ancient reminders of how these people used the land for survival. A few trees with the bark removed, probably used in the making clothes, baskets or hats.

I spoke to one of the members of the Twasout who was harvesting some bark for his daughter, currently attending Emily Carr. They only take what they need, never more. (North American society needs to get back to this way of thinking.)

Youll also find several areas where clam middens have been discovered. The Tsawout would dig holes, fill them with hot rocks from the fire, lay the bounty of clams on top, and then cover the clams with mats. Once the clams were cooked and opened, they would take long sticks and string the clams on them (think skewers) and save them for the winter when Mommas in Tee Pee making chowder! (Im pretty sure Elvis spent some time with Tsawout....Goin to a clam bake!)

There were a couple of creepy moments on the trail as well. We came across this....
It looks like some sort of ritual site, maybe summoning the spirit of an ancient Chief, or possibly MacGruber. (My theory is that this is some sort of altar to Priapus, and if you can land shells on the top centerpiece from outside the circle, you will be endowed with great pleasures.)

While checking the site for pocket knives and paperclips, I had the weird feeling I was being watched. Trust your feelings people....

This trail wont get your cardio up, but there is enough variety to keep your interest as it has something for everyone, such as....

Nice trail

Garry Oaks

Arbutus Monkeys

Typical BC Scenery

Rest area


So ends hike #2.

[u]Mt. Erskine</u>

Now that we had two smaller training hikes under our belt, it was time to take on the Assault Route.

I had heard that this is the area of the island that contains the highest population of fairies. No rainbows and gingham pants, no breaking out in song from a scene on Westside Story, this was more about Tinker Bell or Gnomies. After the initial steep section, this forest looked like just place these fairies wood reside.

We hike a bit further and see the first home.

It is customary to leave a token gift as you pass by the fairy home to guarantee safe passage. As I take a picture of Pippa at the fairy door I notice something that makes the hair on my arms stand straight up! The CT'er was telling the truth, it wasnt a dream after all! (I decided not to tell the rest of family what was leaning up against the left side of the door. I didnt want to explain what it was used for, or more importantly, how I've come I know that.);)

After a while the next home comes into view.
I expected to find a roach clip or zig-zags, but my guess is ([u]blank</u>) was invited to a fondue at the previous residence, so probably never made it this far. (Mmmm, Fondue!)

We finally achieve the summit. Huzzah!

There is an unusual summit cairn here. A granite bowl with a plaque in honour of Rosie. A threaded pipe lies underneath with a summit registry. I took a few photos.

We did it! A better workout than the previous hikes and incredible view! Time to head back down and make my way to the local liquor store. I never realized how many Clubtreaders where into producing their own spirits...until now....

Billygoat is making wine in convenient safe travel cans.

AT of course is into beer.

...and even Shaggy's ex knows how to bottle a few. In all fairness to Simon, I have never heard him speak badly of any former girlfriend, wife, aquaintence or friend w/benefits.)

[u]A few other points of interest</u>

This 5 ton petroglyph rock was unearthed in the 60s and placed in Drummond park. (No relation to Whatchu talkin bout, Willis) Experts believe this is is a face of a seal and was put at the mouth of the harbour to ward off evil.

[u]Beddis Beach</u>

I woke up early to have some solitude and watch the sun rise over the water. The beach had a bunch of dead jellyfish that had washed up. Apparently once a year the jelly fish die around the same time and then litter the shores for a few weeks.
I also saw some deer tracks. Probably a momma and her baby spending some quality together.

I hung out here for a bit and met a local guy who showed me a rock wall where the sandy beach met the shore. He had said that when the now famous winter storm of 2006 happened, the original rock walk was pounded by the wave enough to break loose and reveal its contents... a human skeleton. Investigators brought in determined the remains were likely a couple hundred years old. The local native community came and had a ceremony and reburied the remains.

[u]The Churches</u>

There are a few old churches worth checking out. This one in particular has an interesting connection Vancouver Island. I wont tell you the story about what shook down, but if you have time and youre interested in BC history, just google Butter Church.

This one remains unlocked even though it nearly burnt down down one year.

"I'm preachin' to the deserted!"

[u]Oreo Cows</u>
Need I say more?

[u]Burgoyne Valley & Bay</u>
Some history here as well with this area now a Provincial Park. These building are considered heritage sites and restoration is planned for the future.

[u]Alexander Supertramp</u>

[u]Rock Stuff</u>

I took a brief trip to the northern most point of the island, ironically called Southy Point. Interesting rock formations.

I found this area on the way to Southy point. Is this a fault line? Tectonic plates?

[u]Lavender Farm</u>
Two very bad things happened here. I lost the sunglasses in the last picture shortly after it was taken. I realized they were gone before driving away, so I went back to look. My feeling is the couple behind us found them and kept them. It was pretty open and should have been easy to find, but by the end of the week the farm still had not seen them. Bummer.
The other brutal part of this excursion is that for the next few days I had this song from my youth running in my mind...over and over and over again. The song Lavender Blue, lily lily, lavender green... Do you know it too?(and yes, the height difference between Mrs. Mo and I is around 17 feet)

[u]Famous Encounters</u>

Me: Hey, are you Raffi?
Raffi : Yup, are you Moses?
Me: Yup. So Raffi, I have to tell you, being married to a pre-school teacher I have listened to Baby Beluga more times than a grown man should. My wife is a big fan.
Raffi: Where is she? Perhaps I should say hello.

I go into the grocery store and tell my wife to head outside as someone wants to say hello. It is the pre-schools teachers equivalent to me meeting (insert hottie here).
Needless to say Mrs. Mo was thrilled.

Oh, I also had to wait a very long time at the bank machine. Valdy was in front of me and I think he was trying to take out a second mortgage. Silly Valdy. (Hell probaby write a song about it.)


Heather, the Bread Lady always gets a visit. (I love her!)

As does the goat cheese factory.

And the pastry lady. (I love her too!)

It wouldnt be Salt Spring without the Saturday Market. (Really? Kale chips?)

Does anyone know what this is? Weird jellyfish monster?

[u]More Randoms</u>

Self portrait on the ride home...with new, albeit cheaper, shades.

cambium 01-11-2010 12:07 AM

That was good, and I read it without the Popcorn.
SaltsSpring looks much more touristy then it did on my last visit 18 years ago.Fairy trails.:)

mad owl woman 01-11-2010 07:52 AM


quote:Originally posted by Moses

Does anyone know what this is? Weird jellyfish monster?

It's a nudibranch - aka sea slug. A mollusk.

icevixen 01-11-2010 08:28 AM

Wow, that's the most colourful TR I've seen in ages! Awesome :)

Bonus points for the Raffi encounter and the cool Oreo cows :P

Dru 01-11-2010 10:22 AM

I wonder if you can get both chocolate and regular milk from them?

mick range 01-11-2010 01:04 PM

Wow, good to see you returning to the fray:)
I really enjoyed the report!

0bakasan 01-11-2010 01:34 PM

I absolutely loooooovvvveeeeee yours pictures!!!!!!!!
What's your set-up?

PostHaste 01-11-2010 02:05 PM

Great report, pictures were terrific.

simonc 01-11-2010 02:28 PM

You sure no how to write them (and illustrate too)[8D].

shrubhugger 01-11-2010 06:08 PM

Really good report. Thanks.

SnowSeeker 01-11-2010 09:26 PM

Nice! Thanks for the colorful stuff. Much needed right now. :)

Del Sol 01-12-2010 07:37 AM

The Islands are great. Thank you for sharing your picturess Moses --- great colour!

I remember biking to SaltSpring sometime in the late seventies and running into a Folk Festival and Valdy was there! I was excited to even though at the time I wasn't really sure who he was. My friends did. <s></s>x)()(& that's a long time ago.

Spunky 01-12-2010 08:18 AM

As always, a pleasure to read a T/R from you Mo! Looks like another Excellent Adventure with the family [8D] :)

shaggy 01-12-2010 09:08 AM

Great trip report Mo, Thanks for the laugh, I need to dry off the keyboard now. :D

Moses 01-12-2010 10:46 PM

Thanks for the comments.

Obakasan, Pentax K10 with a couple different lenses. My favourite is the fish-eye!:)

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