Practice Hikes

Richard and I are on the countdown until we begin our whirlwind family and friend tour (Victoria, BC, Kelowna, BC and Lincoln, UK) and then onto our 400 km trek across Tuscany into Rome.  To prepare, we have been packing, unpacking, repacking and adjusting our backpacks trying to make miracles happen. We have also been working hard to acquire some basic Italian (Google Translate can be a very cool teacher…although it did once respond “ha, ha, ha” to my attempt to roll the double r’s in “carro” (cart)!

We’ve been so busy with all of the above, that we have almost forgotten that we need to be doing LONG practice walks…with our full packs! Fortunately, living on Vancouver Island we are spoiled for choice of hiking locations and terrains. Below is a hodgepodge of hiking pics from my recent practice hikes — some with Richard and others with my friend, Louise, who will be walking the Portuguese Camino while we are walking in Italy. Of course, all good hikes include a refreshment stop…or two!

 

If you’re familiar with this section of Vancouver Island, how many of the above locations can you identify? If you are looking for some great hikes in Mid-Vancouver Island, why not consider a few of these:

Notch Hill

Enos Lake

The Rail Trail

Top Bridge

Rathtrevor 

Continua a camminare!

87 Replies to “Practice Hikes”

    1. Hi, Georgia – Richard and I have done three different Camino routes so far (Camino Frances, Camino Portuguese, and Muxia-Finisterre). In Spain, that leaves us with Camino del Norte, Camino Primitivo, Via de la Plata and Camino Inglés still to do. So many paths, so little time! How was the rest of your time in the desert this year?

      Like

    1. Yup, Google Translate can definitely be cheeky. When no other IRL teacher is around, it is a great practice tool. My “caro/carro” experience (expensive/cart) was very frustrating. I made hundreds of attempts for GT to understand my “carro”….no luck. Richard (who spends almost no time in learning Italian) walked by and got it right on the first try. Hurtful! 😦

      Like

  1. Your Google translate experience made me giggle! Don’t you just love AI?!1 What some beautiful scenery you have in Vancouver – I’d be along with you on those walks for sure. Would love to see more of Canada one day. I hope your preparations go well for your long hike – it sounds fabulous. I think you are doing all the right things, setting yourselves up for success, and not just taking off ‘gung-ho’ style. #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Johanna – Thank you for your kind words. Our preparations for this walk have been very enjoyable…and hopefully, have been good for our bodies and our brains! I look forward to following your upcoming trip as well. You have inspired me with new travel options to consider! 🙂

      Like

  2. Not only is your scenery beautiful but it looks like your weather is great as well. Hoping for some of that here soon!

    That spot with the blue chairs looks like somewhere nice to sit and not move for a long time 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi, Joanne – Our weather has been gorgeous! It did pour down rain on our Practice Hike yesterday. But, that rain was desperately needed so I truly could not complain. One of my favourite Mother’s Day activities on Vancouver Island is joining the Garden Tour. This year, Richard and I walked to the first six stops (total of 4 hours of walking). That’s where the blue chairs were from. You’re right. Once I sat there, it was difficult to get up again!

      Like

      1. I’ve heard of these Garden Tours and made of note of checking them out here in Toronto this spring. Sadly, this spring has been cold and wet so I think everything is well behind schedule.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful photos, Donna! I hope to become well acquainted with each and every one of the trails you mentioned someday. And your weather looks so much better than what Ontario is experiencing right now, I’m envious! It looks like prepping for the Camino is a very fun part of the experience, which I totally get. When I signed up for 1/2 marathon races, I enjoyed the months-long training phase as much or more than the actual run itself.

    Deb

    Like

    1. Hi, Deb. I love the lead up to things that we most look forward to. Christmas, travel, special events….all become more magical by the planning, preparing and anticipation.
      I look forward to introducing you to some of these trails in person. Of course, we’ll need to invite Joanne to come along as well. How fun will that be?!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really loved reading this Donna! There must be so much to do in readiness for you trip – packing, language and then the actual walking!! Your walks around Canada look delightful and hopefully you are feeling a bit better prepared for your trek. You are an inspiration to us all and I wish you well. Shared for #mlstl

    Like

  5. I’m not familiar with any of them Donna – but they all look incredibly pretty and that would make the hike that much more enjoyable. The refreshment breaks would be the icing on the cake! I’m looking forward to your posts on the Italian Camino – and the fact you don’t have to be doing the AtoZ in amongst it all!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks, Leanne – The hikes that I listed are all very local so you likely would not hear about them unless you were out his way. (Your room is ready for whenever you visit)!
      I’m actually looking forward to writing those Italian Camino posts. It’s a great way to reflect, consolidate, share and preserve! 🙂

      Like

  6. Hi Donna, Since when did Google Translate become a critic (ha ha)? Fun photos! I immediately recognized Rathtrevor and Coombs. I will check out the others, likely “up Island.” 27,7000 steps, Wow, you are well prepared. As for the beer, staying hydrated is very important🙂 I really enjoy reading the planning/preparing stages:) Erica

    Like

    1. Hi, Erica – Google Translate definitely has a huge personality — which makes it quite fun to use. The two of us (GT and I) have already had several ‘arguments’ together! I’m impressed that you recognized Coombs and Rathtrevor. We will need to plan a hiking trip together out this way. I would love that!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would love to meet with you for a hike, Donna! I am not too familiar with the trails in your area, and I don’t mind driving at all. I think you had mentioned wanting to play more with photography. I am such an amateur, although I love taking photos. I look forward to connecting after the Spring/Summer schedules settle down.🙂

        Like

  7. Hi Donna,
    Loved reading about your “practice pack packing” and practice hiking. You do seem spoiled.
    I’ve been getting so excited about our ’round the country trip and have always wanted to visit Vancouver Island. So it was great to read about your hikes and the different outdoor opportunities near you.
    With Dan’s physical limitations we cannot hike far any more but welcome shorter, easier trails.
    And I like the idea of a beer at the end. 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks, Nancy – I definitely am spoiled in so many different ways. I am incredibly grateful!
      I look forward to reading about your ’round country trip’. Fingers crossed that a trip to Vancouver/Vancouver Island is in your future. I would love to meet up!

      Like

  8. Great to hear of your preparations for another epic hike! I’m familiar with Coombs and Rathtrevor, but none of the others. You don’t mention the West Coast Trail, which used to be a popular challenge a few years ago. It’s possible that it may be closed or renamed now. Have a happy journey, and please keep us updated!

    Like

    1. Hi, Diane – Great point about the West Coast Trail. As it is a multi-day wilderness hike, I have not included it. I would love to be brave/strong enough to hike that trail. Sadly, I am not a wilderness backpacker. I need to enjoy The West Coast Trail vicariously through others.

      Like

  9. Hi Donna – You’re so wise to practice long hikes with your full packs, and with such beautiful scenery, it’s really perfect for practice and practice makes perfect 🙂 I look forward to reading more. #MLSTL

    Like

    1. HI, Natalie – I can’t underscore enough the importance of trying out EVERY SINGLE ITEM in your backpack on several practice hikes. Even though I had carefully selected every item for my backpack, I made many last minute changes (including socks, underwear and sunscreen) based on my trial runs.

      Like

  10. I’d guess that advance planning and practice is what’ll make your Italian adventure a successful and interesting experience. As an armchair traveler I look forward to reading about your hike and seeing your photos. Stay safe, have fun.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for dropping by. My husband has multiple injuries that would make a ‘sane’ person stay home. Sitting on the sidelines is not his thing. Our motto for this walk with be “slow and steady…..and finish each day with wine”! 🙂

      Like

  11. Hi Donna! You KNOW I agree that some of the best parts of travel is preparing, planning, practicing…oh wow!…the 3 P’s of successful travel. Sounds like the title of an upcoming blog post to me 😉 . You are doing everything so well and I’m so-o-o looking forward to hearing about your trip when we come up for a visit….and maybe even taking one (or two) of those practice hikes! Buen Camino!!!! ~Kathy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Kathy! I am glad that you interested in checking out one or more of these hikes. I’m sure that Janis can be persuaded as well! I will also add on to our list a visit to Cathedral Grove (which offers rare and endangered remnant of an ancient Douglas fir ecosystem) as well as Cameron Lake (which is just plain fun). Oh, and a visit to Jude’s Art Studio. So, there will be lots to see and do. I can’t wait!
      PS – The 3 P’s of Successful Travel is an awesome blog title. You should totally write that!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Selfishly, I hope your long hike translates into several photo-heavy posts when you return. If you find a way of making your back pack comfortable, you need to patent that right away. Mine was never comfortable…and I was young and fit when I was carrying it. Cannot imagine trying to carry a 40 pound pack now. You truly inspire me. Glad refreshments accompany your practice hikes…you deserve them!

    Like

    1. Thanks, Leslie. Forty pounds is a BIG pack! I’m impressed — I don’t think that I could have ever consistently carried that. Mine is 12 pounds, and that is heavy enough. The only way that I know to make a backpack comfortable is to keep it as light and well-fitting as possible.
      I look forward to sharing these photos. Stay tuned!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Donna, I hate to recall when I could head out on a 2 week vacation and hike 8-12 miles a day without any preparing. OK, it was with only a day pack (not full pack) because I’ve only even done day hikes (a hot shower, glass of wine, yummy dinner, and comfy bed are a must for me every evening… add in a hot tub and I’m in heaven). But now, I’m not sure my body could do multiple days of hiking anymore. Even with preparing. I hope you have a glorious trip, with weather as beautiful as those pictures you just posted!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Pat – Although we stay in very basic accommodations along the Camino, our after-hike routine regularly includes a glass of wine (or Sangria), a warm shower, delicious dinner, and a comfy bed. Okay….so perhaps the mattress does not meet everyone’s comfort standard — but I have honestly never slept better. (After my first practice hike, I slept for 11 hours and 45 minutes straight…without even changing my clothes or pulling back the covers!)
      Since accommodations on this Camino can be scarce, I went ahead and wrote to the first three places where we are hoping to stay. All three wrote back favourably, with the first one writing:
      “Il cottage Pellegrino si trova sul tratto più bello e antico della Via Francigena. La nostra comunità è molto orgogliosa di offrire questo ristoro ai pellegrini e ai camminatori.In attesa di darti il ​​benvenuto, invoco le migliori benedizioni del Signore sul tuo cammino.” (The Pellegrino cottage is on the most beautiful and oldest stretch of the Via Francigena. Our community is very proud to offer this refreshment to pilgrims and walkers. While waiting to welcome you, I invoke the best blessings of the Lord on your path.)
      This note reminded me of what I love most about these pilgrimages. Despite race, religion, or income, I find this kindness and generosity to be everywhere. Although hard to adequately describe, it is incredibly powerful.

      Liked by 3 people

  14. I imagine there are more than a few Camino hikers who make the mistake of not preparing enough (including practice hiking, for sure) for that long trek. After all, what could go wrong 🙂 ? You and Richard are way ahead of the game, as I would expect. I am really looking forward to your tales of the trails when you get back… and taking a few of those VI hikes you listed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Janis – You are very wise! It continually amazes me the number of Camino hikers who state that they first began packing the morning that they left. Seriously!! I can’t even imagine trying this!
      I believe that the biggest mistake that people can make on long-distance hikes is starting out too fast. So often, Richard and I have seen young, fit hikers speed off in the morning as if they were in a race. When we see them again, they usually have ended up no further along than we are…but have more blisters and bandages for their efforts.
      I am super excited that you’d like to try out a few of the “practice hikes.” I’m preparing a list!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. This all sounds like a great way to get ready for the trip. Enjoying and training in your own neck of the woods with stops for refreshments! Sounds like my kind of fun (hmmm, I mean training!). We outdoor girls think nothing of 9.8 miles and 27,716 steps. All in a day’s fun (hmm, I mean work), ha ha . Keep up the training (I mean imbibing!). only kidding.

    Susan Grace

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi, Susan – When I got home from that particular practice walk, I mistakingly read the 9.8 miles as kilometres. I was sure that I had been robbed!! That particular hike caused me to sleep for 11 hours and 45 minutes straight…without even having dinner! There is nothing like a “Camino sleep”. Thank you for always sharing your kind words. They mean a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Donna,
      Sleeping 11 hours, 45 minutes”straight” would be like a dream come true for me, ha ha. It must be so satisfying to accomplish that length of a hike and be tired enough to go into such a long, deep and restful sleep! Pure heaven. I need a “camino sleep”!

      The other evening I took an hour cardio/weight class followed by a wonderful yoga class and I tossed and turned until well after midnight 😦 I need to go on a 10 mile hike and put my 5 mile baby-hikes behind me, hee hee.

      BTW, great photos!

      Susan Grace

      Like

      1. Thanks, Susan – It’s funny, but on that particular evening, I didn’t even realize that I was tired. I stretched out on my bed “for a few minutes” waiting for my computer to charge….and woke almost twelve hours later…in the exact same position!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Training and having rest days are so important as you know 🙂 I can feel the excitement building up for your adventure on the Italian Camino. Canada trails will undoubtedly take some beating in the beauty stakes! Though Italy offers a different sort of beauty.

    Like

    1. Thanks, Molly – Despite its occasional off-script “detour,” Google Translate is an incredible learning tour. It allows you to slowly and clearly hear the pronunciation of any word, and to test to see if your pronunciation is understood. There are also some excellent Youtube language tutorials out there on most topics. When combined, GT and YT totally rock….and are completely free!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh yeah, the walking part! 🙂 This post made me smile Donna, as your blog usually does. I truly enjoyed browsing through your photos. Good luck on your walk. I’m eager to hear all about it.

    Like

  19. It makes so much sense to practice not only hiking with packs, but packing and unpacking, Donna. Steps that inexperienced hikers might forget. You and Richard are such inspirations! Looking forward to reading about your adventures!

    Like

  20. Hi, Terri – Thank you for your kind words. Prior to my official practice hikes, I had packed as carefully as possible and thought that my pack was finished. I had bought some very light “no blister guarantee” socks that I thought would be perfect. I got a blister in less than 5 km out. That experience illustrated that the socks must go, and my new fangled compeed plasters were useless. When packing light and then needing to live with those decisions for six weeks, a dress rehearsal (or two) is essential! 🙂

    Like

  21. ooo la la Donna! loved reading this and am vicariously sharing your excitement! I know full well how important those dress rehearsals are; what one thinks will be ok turns out not to be so. Preparation is key! Louis Pasteur I think it was who said ‘chance favours the prepared mind’ …

    My sister flies out from Cape Town this evening, with some river barging in France, and a few days here here and there before they begin their Camino …

    Liked by 1 person

  22. You did write going on “practice hikes”, right? I had to look twice at the photos… 🙂 Fun times, good company, amazing scenery, and beautiful weather. I love it! Enjoy the rest of your prep time and then the next big adventure.

    Like

  23. Who needs to travel when you live in a place like this ;-). The picture of the anchorage through the trees from on-high has me wanting to sail there right now and drop anchor.

    In all seriousness, I am seriously excited to follow your hike from Tuscany to Rome. I’d never thought of using google translate to practice your pronunciation in another language. I wonder how it would interpret my garbled attempts.

    Like

    1. HI, Lisa – I would LOVE for you to sail to Vancouver Island right now. Better yet, make it July — you could meet up with Janis (RetirmentallyChallenged) and Kathy (SmartLiving) at the same time!
      When practicing another language, I highly recommend Google Translate. It is a very patient teacher….with a definite sense of humour!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How I would love to join your trio in July but I think it will be a year or two before I make it up that way.

        I can imagine the laughts I would have listening to how Google would translate my broken foreign language phrases.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. Vancouver Island looks amazing. With the same climate as Wales, I’m sure it’s the perfect place for walking and hiking.

    Did you use Gutenberg for this post? The reason I ask is that the photo gallery looks amazing. I was wondering if WordPress had at last fixed the problems with the layout of the galleries?

    Have a great time, Donna.

    Like

  25. Hi Donna – great views of Vancouver Island with hikes … and I’d love to be around to meet up with you and fellow bloggers … but now I reside quietly on the south coast of the little mother island! Enjoy all the trips and then your pilgrimage trail … that will be amazing – good luck with all the packing etc … take care – cheers Hilary

    Like

  26. Over here from Ally Bean’s blog…read your ‘about’ and realized re retired about the same time. I retired (the 2nd time, it’s a long story) in May of 2015. I am LOVING being retired and hope I never have to go to work for someone else again! I am excited for you about your long walk in Italy….have been there once, and loved it. Did not, however, walk as far as you are planning! Looking forward to seeing more about it! Now go out and get that long training walk in. You’ll be glad you did.

    Like

    1. Hi, Dawn – Thank you so much for dropping by….and for visiting my ‘About Page’ as well. As much as I loved my career (I truly did), I still can’t help smiling about retirement each morning that I wake up…and like you, it’s been four years! As Richard and I get closer and closer to our walking date, it has been harder and harder to sneak in an extra practice hike or two, as we have been spending this time with family, friends and last minute errands. We do have early tomorrow morning booked for a big hill climb….my legs are already trying to talk me out of this! 🙂

      Like

  27. Donna, I recognize several photos from along the Parksville to Coombs Rail trail, Coombs itself, Rathtrevor beach, top of Notch Hill (you should have stopped in for a visit), the Englishman River Regional Park at Topbridge, and the Black Goose Inn. I hope you are having a wonderful time on your travels!

    Jude

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s