The Juan de Fuca Trail- China Beach to Bear Beach

So every Sunday my husband and I do ‘Sunday Funday’ and pick a location to do a mega run/hike/trail run at. We have gone up island to Duncan to run Maple Mountain, Mt. Tzouhalem, to Courtenay/Comox to run to Cumberland, and locally, the Galloping Goose in Sooke to the Malahat run. We have been all over!

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You cross a lot of small creeks/waterfalls.

Last weekend I ran solo, a few loops of Elk Lake, which is a pleasant solo run because you can run to your car to get water (there are no water fountains open anymore because of COVID19 and I guess no hand sanitizer in the washrooms/outhouses anymore either, to my extreme displeasure).

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It got hot, but it was ok.

This weekend we went somewhere a little different- the trek out to the Juan de Fuca trail! We are very familiar with the 1 beach- China beach, but we wanted to trail run from China beach to Bear Beach. It’s not that far- about 7km- but can be quite wet, muddy and rugged. And boy, it was!

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We ran the 2km to China beach and it was PACKED with people. Every available square spot to park in was taken. People were crawling everywhere. I really didn’t like that- it’s just too busy now, the new Thetis Lake or East Sooke Park or something?

So it was a lot of stop and go.

We got to the beach and it had a ton of people on it too. A nice day (rare for us, we don’t really get nice weather anymore in the summer) and I guess literally everyone wanted in.

So we went down the beach and picked up the Bear beach trail and continued that way. It had far fewer people, but for a quite narrow and technical trail, it was very busy with camp hikers coming back. One guy even gave us licorice, haha. Of course I accepted it! ūüėČ

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We splashed, climbed and scrambled our way to Bear beach, which was completely deserted. So that was worth it! It was a gorgeous day. I picked a bunch of Salmon berries, we enjoyed our Lara bars (protein ones, I don’t like the blueberry-lemon, ick I think it tastes like lemon Pledge, but the Apple Cobbler are good), and took some photos, and then ran back. On our way back we saw a mink!!! Just a zip of brown and he was gone, into the rocks to the ocean. Wish I could have seen him up close and for longer.

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The cliffside was really cool! 

It was WET! My legs got covered in mud, hahah. Big splashes everywhere!! I gave in and gave up and just went for it hahahahhaha.

By the end of the run, even my toenails had mud embedded in them, hahaha. A good adventure and a lovely day, to make up for how miserable and craptacular I was feeling on Saturday.

Race Report- What, all 8ks aren’t created equally?

Yeahh….Much to my dismay, the Hatley Castle 8k was NOT AT ALL like the Sannich 8k I ran a month or so ago. Jesus, not at all.

My race review: BOO!!

My race review: BOO!! It was HARD!

I had kind of a sinking feeling when my husband was like, oh yeah I don’t think it’s that hilly, maybe we should try to push for a more aggressive pace, and I was thinking, um, I’ve been a student on that campus and I remember it being VERY HILLY.

So, there’s that. The race organizer even had a special announcement- big hill at 2-3km so pace accordingly, doesn’t want anyone blowing their race early! My stomach, already fairly unhappy from my wine/cheese/salami/bread and Arkells concert the night before was even more unhappy with that announcement.

Any day is a good day to run

Any day is a good day to run

We set off, and I immediately fell behind my husband and friend. ARGH.

Started up to a hill after a very nice run along the water, and I started wondering if this was the hill he was mentioning. Nope! It was just a switchback, so we went back down it and then started running up another hill….Uh oh, now¬†this is what he was talking about…

And it just kept going….

And going…

And never went down. It¬†leveled¬†out for a bit, and then UP UP UP! For approximately 6km…Even through the woods, which I would normally like! Except this time I felt like I was going to have a heart attack instead.

People were gasping, muttering and I heard rumours of a ‘big downhill’ coming. It was a long time coming, and when we finally got to it? It was not NICE, it was more like a 1km suicide run pell-mell headfirst down a gravel road. People went¬†flying down the hill.

I had my knee doctor’s reminders echoing in my head- try not to race down hills, it’s tough on your knee, etc etc…I was slower going down that insane gravel run! GAH!

In short, we spent a good 6km running uphill, then 1km flying downhill, and then 1km flat running where I had no gas left in the tank. At all.

I straggled across the finish line gasping like a fish. I had saliva coated around my lips very attractively.

My time was a tad disappointing to me- I was hoping for a better 8k time, but given the literal hell that was this run I guess it was ok: Official bib time of 39:00, but my chip time was 38:52. My last 8k time was 38:40 but heck it was on flat ground, haha.

I would have rather run a 10k, that’s how rough this race was for me. EEEEEK!~

Throwback Thurs: Horse pack trip in the Chilcotins

Looking at this photo, I see it is date-stamped 2006. Man, that is ages ago!

And how I could NEVER get my husband to do something like this again. Young love…Hahahha.

We signed up for a 3-day pack trip in the Chilcotin mountains of the Interior of B.C. and woah, it was an intense trip.

The drive up is insane- it’s bumpy, dirt road way up the mountains. And you’re not even close to the trailhead…We rented a cabin the first night because it takes so long to get up there, and you leave from the camp pretty early the next morning.

Next morning we saddled up with Warren, the wrangler and rode an hour up to the trail head. The cook comes with us, and so do a bunch of pack horses. Some other families (who were fairly experienced) were on the trip too.

And then the fun begins! The trail head begins with a walk across a VERY steep slide path that slides 40 ft into Gun Creek, a raging river. I was like WTF? The horses were marching sideways! They made it fine, and I later learned that horses HAVE slid into the river- packed up- and gone home! Warren the wrangler seemed surprised they would go home after that, and I was like, well they fell 40 ft into a river?!! 

Anyways, after that harrowing experience, it was on to the real fun stuff- trail exploring and even more danger! My husband saw my horse’s hoof waving off a cliff, and then regained his balance. Frrak!

We made it to the base camp, and they had a nice cook tent, and wall tents. It was very cold- for July- snow had just melted up there. Brrrr….

Food was excellent- we had snacks and sandwiches packed in our saddlebags, and dinners were steaks and chicken, and desserts. Yum! 

The next day we did a day-trip up Open Heart Mountain, so steep that on the way home, we had to get off and walk the horses! Hahah.

We saw lots of deer, and Warren had a rifle with him because grizzlies often prowled the area…At night, the horses were let loose to run up the mountain with bells and wrangled back at night.

It was a tough, exhilarating experience and one I would definitely repeat (though now I am even more of a chicken?!)

And of course, on the way back to Vancouver we didn’t make the 9pm ferry and got stuck in Tsawassen, exhausted and grouchy haha.

C’est la vie!

New Home

Here you can go to find more info on the trips they do.