Trail: Extension Ridge, Part of The Great Trail (TransCanada)
Distance Hiked: 11.76 km
Walking Time: 3 hours
Trail Rating: Moderate
Extension Ridge Trail first caught my attention due to its fissure. Throw in a fairy circle, sweeping view of the Salish Sea and a lookout dedicated to the soulful love of a lost animal companion and I was completely hooked. This hike is likely the prettiest that Richard and I have done in this series to date. With leaves carpeting our path, it looked like a warm, clear autumn day.
The Fairy Circle
Extension Ridge is approximately 9 km. It links to several other trails, including Creeper Loop and even The Great Trail. In the 1930s, this area was a walking and horseback path for people to commute between Nanaimo and the small mining village of Extension. Stories about the 50cm wide fissure are endless. Some say that it was caused by a mining explosion, others by an earthquake. Either story is plausible. No one seems to know for sure.
Stunning Sweeping Views
This forested hike has several short climbs and descents, and has rocks and heavy roots along the way. The area is known for cougar and bear sightings (of which we saw none). The fissure is less than 2 km from the trailhead, so it is easy to walk just a short section, and not miss out on the main attraction.
If you do hike the full loop, be sure to have a rest at Astraca’s Look Out. I found it to be very moving.
“It is not just that animals make the world more scenic or picturesque. The lives of animals are woven into our very being — closer than our own breathing, and every soul will suffer when they are gone.”