Mt Braden Loop…attempt

It was a snowy week. So much snow by Victoria standards that the city was practically shut down, I couldn’t even get a haircut. Never the less, it was a perfect weekend to hike in a touch of snow.

About 7 minutes to the West of Langford, along Sooke rd, you will find the trail head on the North side of the road past an abandoned compound full of rusting machinery. Apparently. The trail head was elusive so Kyle and I decided to follow some footprints into the woods figuring that person probably knew where they were going.

Hey look, it’s the same pipeline from Peden Lake. The foot prints followed the pipe so we did too.

Surely following strangers footprints has never led to trouble

Walking along the pipe put our balancing skills to the test. The ice was hidden under snow and the path was narrow. Not relaxing. Thankfully after 10 minutes we met up with the actual path, passed the rusted out punch buggy from our directions and knew we were headed in the right direction.

Then we passed a rusted out punch buggy…hey wait. There are two? Which one are we supposed to go left at. Back to following footprints.

The sound of gurgling water meant that the stream crossing was close. The instructions had said there was a bridge to cross. The bits of ice swirling along with the stream’s current reinforced the idea of not getting wet. There was the bridge, just a few meters ahead. Only one problem. What qualifies as a ‘bridge’ is two logs and a rope.

Halfway across, the first log starts to bounce, not in a pleasant way like in a bouncy castle but more of an “oh sweet mother of pearl don’t let me fall in the ice water” kind of way. At this point you need to step on the log facing the opposite way to continue. Both logs will bounce, the slightest shift of weight makes your legs look like a dessert jello salad.

I expected Gandalf to stop Kyle at any moment.

Across the river, still dry, things were looking good. The trail was well used and led to an old road which circled the bottom of Mt. Braden. The road is easy going and we were making up for the amount of time we spent trying to find the start of the hike.

All of the sudden, blasting towards us on the path was a black and white blur, bear?? cougar??

No, it was a dog named shadow who’s owner then asked if we had seen a cougar. Unsure if this was a joke or not we replied no. Our new hiking friend then showed us tracks from the same morning we were there. He also showed us pictures his infrared activated cameras had captured in these woods, bears, a wolf, and a cougar family.

Cougar track half the size of my foot...great

After pushing through snow-covered pine-curtains,

passing by winter streams

and following deer tracks

we made it to the top.

This calls for a celebratory espresso, care of the handpresso.

After finishing some fresh steaming espresso at the top it was time to head back. The main issue though was that we hadn’t seen any trail markers for a while, quite a while. After searching for 15 minutes for the continuation we admitted defeat. Thankfully we could follow our snowy foot prints back without much trouble.

Back through the snow filled with deer tracks

and back through spring

wait, what?

It was strange, the forest had been covered in snow, a typical winter wonderland and here it was some strange season which was exactly half spring half winter.

The forest became less and less snowy as we got closer to the car. The second half of the loop eluded us, another adventure for another day.

Categories: Hiking Adventures | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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