by Gael Hannan –
Going for a walk is one of the few pleasurable, allowable activities outside our homes during the pandemic, so we are lucky to live on a peninsula so be-ribboned with beautiful places to hike.
Some trails are narrower, hidden treasures where you encounter few people. Other trails are more well known and well worn with people – and dogs. Is it only me, but does Saanich seem to have more dogs than anywhere else? Sometimes, it’s like hiking upstream through a woodland best-of-breed show, a constant stream of persons-and-pets. I love dogs – but are there Covid rules around patting other people’s? Especially the dogs who greet you with such needy, soulful eyes that you’re tempted to whisper “blink twice if you’re in danger”. But then they’re off to greet the next person just as happily, such as the many dogs I met on a recent Tod Inlet trail walk with my friend Kathy.
Because Tod Inlet is such a favourite, familiar walk, we found ourselves walking slowly, lingering over the small forest gifts that are easy to miss if you are in a rush.
The many shades of green, for example. The Peninsula has received so much rain this winter that many of the trails are almost swampy in areas, but the rain has turned the plants greener than I’ve ever seen them – from the grass and ferns to the lichen creeping up the trees. At the water’s edge, the glorious green-gray of the firs and cedars on the far shore was reflected in the water, punctuated by a family paddling by in a bright blue canoe.
Keeping our eyes on the ground to avoid squishing too deeply in the mushy puddles, we found the reminders that people once lived along these shores: cement foundations and steps, and the remnants of bushes that were once decorative. At the base of one of the most magnificent bulbous tree trunks I’ve ever seen is a wooden plate that looks like a primitive electrical outlet. And we spent more than a few moments entranced by a fire hydrant that, instead of looking out of place in the forest, has taken on a forest beauty of its own.
Yes, this short stretch of Tod Inlet trail is well worn, but if you take it slowly, you’ll find forest gifts almost everywhere you look. When you go, be prepared for seasonal mushiness, winter greens and friendly people and pets.
Things to Note
• Although trails are not steep, they can be slippery; be sure to wear proper footwear for the conditions.
• Parking along Wallace Drive south of Benvenuto Avenue
• Outhouse at end of trail by water.