Hiking, Vancouver Island

52 Hikes in 52 Days… Done!

The End of Our Challenge: Richard and I have now completed (and exceeded) our hiking target. We would never have predicted that we’d extend our goal to #52 days. Hiking a new trail each morning quickly became a habit.

We soon realized that it would take us significantly more than #100hikesin100days to run out of local trails. To break our pattern, Richard has just left for a neighbourhood beach walk — one that we have literally walked hundreds of times before. Being an all or nothing kind of gal, I’ve stayed in bed with a good book. We will continue to hike new and old trails regularly — just not new trails daily.

The Final Six: Many people have asked which was our favourite trail. The honest answer is whatever path we were hiking that day. Five of the six final trails in this series were brand new to us. These included a forested school trail with thought-provoking educational signage. These final routes also had us exploring paths, creeks and a trestle that we didn’t know surrounded our local airport. As a bonus, we discovered that if you own a small plane (as one does), you can actually camp overnight under the wing of your plane in Qualicum Beach. Seriously, who knew?

One of the benefits of living in a smallish island town is that there are usually heaps of other small towns, and other small islands to be explored. This is precisely what we’ve done.

The second last day of our journey took us on a five hour, 17 km climb with a very rocky and rooty descent at Strathcona Park. I had bragged a tiny bit too soon that I had received no blisters on this challenge. Next time, I will keep such thoughts to myself.

Our final hike rewarded us with a spot that’s been on my bucket list since the start of this adventure. We simply needed to wait until the timing was right, and the tide was low enough. Shack Island is a T-shaped strip of short bluffs and rocky beach set amidst the shallow waters that separate Pipers Lagoon from Neck Point. It beckons visitors with brightly painted, cedar-shingle cabins that were built in the 1930s. Contrary to common belief, these cabins are not abandoned but are the property of lucky descendants of the original owners. We squashed our desires to take a peek through the windows and kept a respectable difference. If a reader personally knows any of these cabin owners. I’d love to receive an invite!

Parting Take-Away: There was not one moment during our past 52 days when our hikes felt like a chore. We have been keenly aware that each of them has been a true privilege. This has me wondering what other desired habits could be attained simply by setting a goal and putting one foot in front of the other. The sky’s the limit!

Printable Reference Sheet: For those who have requested a simple chart of all hikes, our first 40 hikes can be found here. The remaining 12 hikes are listed below.

DAYTRAILDISTANCENOTES
41Boyle Point Park
Denman Island
Chrome Island
Viewpoint
3 km
Morrison Marsh
Loop, 11 km
•Take Ferry from Buckley Bay
•Easy and challenging trails available
•Check out the views of Chrome Island
42Virginia Road to
Sun King Road
Coombs
7 km
Out and Back
•Easy forested trail with a creek
•Great place for a dog walk
•Take Hwy 4A to Virginia Road
•Park at Sun King and Virginia
•Unmarked but well-groomed trail
43Old Island Highway
to Grandon Creek
Qualicum Beach
3.5 km
Loop
•Diverse 3.5 km loop
•Includes Seaside Nature Park.
44Oyster Bay to
Salmon Point
Campbell River
7 km
Out and Back
•Previously was the Pub-to-Pub hike
•Currently no pubs operating
•Easy hike with breathtaking views
45Mount Tzouhalem
Duncan
8 km loop
•Decent amount of elevation gain
•Views are well-worth the effort
•Many offshoot trails
•Paths are well maintained
•Stunning views from the cross
46Notch Hill Loop
Nanoose Bay
3 km•Slightly steep but very doable climb
•Brilliant views throughout
47Chemanius Lake
and Chemanius
Town Loops
Lake loop:
2 km
Town loop: 4 km
•Lake loop is serene and peaceful
•Follow by a stroll through the town of murals
48Qualicum Beach
Airport
to French Creek
Trails of
diverse length

•Begin at QB Airport
•Head east along the trail to Trestle
•Descend into the ravine below
•Numerous trails to explore in this area
•Final Approach Restaurant for food/drink
49Errington School
Trail
.7 km trail
4 km loop

•Path provides safe bike route for students
•Also a peaceful hiking trail
•Grant money used for informational signage
•Gorgeous hidden gem
50Brickyard Community
Park, Nanoose Bay
5 acres
Trail<1 km

•5 acres of stunning, rocky waterfront land
•Short, easy, forested trails
•Scramble the large rocks
•Popular swimming spot
51Kwai Lake – Forbidden
Plateau Loop
Strathcona Park
17 km•Beautiful scenery throughout
•Much boardwalk to begin
•Great workout, especially the return
•Rooty with much up and down
•Hiking boots recommended
52Pipers Lagoon
to Shack Island
4 km loop
•Incredibly picturesque
•Diverse photographic opportunities
•Check the Lowtide Chart (below)
•Wear waterproof sandals with grip
https://www.windfinder.com/tide/pipers_lagoon_park_nanaimo

After my slack and idle day today, I will be back on the trails this week with fellow bloggers Joanne, Deb, Erica and Ann. Stay tuned for reports on that adventure!

84 thoughts on “52 Hikes in 52 Days… Done!”

  1. Congrats on finishing your hiking project. The pictures you shared are breathtaking. Thanks for taking us on the journey with you to places I’m pretty sure I’d never see otherwise.

    Like

  2. Absolutely fantastic, Donna! You and Richard are so inspirational for so many reasons. You’ve been dedicated and committed to the challenge and even went beyond the original 30 days. You have shown that hiking can be done and the beauty and fulfillment that hiking in nature brings. I’m just so proud of you and have enjoyed your photos so much. Time to soak your feet and have a pedicure I think! xx

    Like

    1. Hi, Sue – Thank you for your kind words and your on-going support. This means a great deal to me. I didn’t soak my feet or have a pedicure, but I did remain on the couch for most of today to write this post, catch up on my favourite blogs, answer emails and read Jo’s 4th book. I’m off hiking again tomorrow – this time with Erica, Deb and Joanne. With four bloggers getting together you know that there will be non-stop chatter. I will keep you posted!

      Like

  3. Great accomplishment and review. If I ever make it up to your next of the woods, I’ll definitely refer to your blog for hiking ideas. So how are you like the new editor? I haven’t switched yet.

    Like

    1. Hi, Ingrid – To my huge surprise, switching to the Guttenberg Editor has been rather seamless. I didn’t follow the recommendations to watch a few Youtube tutorials first. After two years of sitting firmly on the sidelines, I dove right in. When I did have questions, I looked them up as I went along. This is my third post with the new editor and so far I’m quite pleased with the results.
      If you do ever come out this way, please let me know! I’d love to meet up!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Gosh, I am so proud of you guys. And what a great week of new trails with which to wind up this adventure. Those cabins are so cute and colorful. They appear to be on the water’s edge on the farthest side. Wonder if they ever take on water? You are much more polite and considerate than I, and less nosy!! I would have crept up for at least a peek into one of the windows.

    Like

    1. Thank you for your kind words. Ending this series with a Police Mug Shot would not be a good look for me. But I may try to get even closer to the Shack Island Cabins when the summer season is over. They truly are alluring!
      I greatly appreciate you following along!

      Like

    1. Thanks, Suzanne – There were numerous bonuses to this simple challenge. As you mentioned, fitness and promoting Central Vancouver Island were two main advantages. Also, time in nature, discovering new trails, finally hiking trails from my Bucket List, new learning, great photo ops, deep conversations with Richard and coffee/pastry/lunch afterwards. 😀
      Thanks for following!

      Like

    1. Thanks so much, Laurie – I’ve greatly appreciated your comments and your cool expressions. We extended to 52 (instead of a more even 50) because we definitely wanted to include Strathcona Park and Shack Island and didn’t have time to fit them in earlier in the week. They both made for a great icing on an already wonderful cake!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Donna! Wow! Not only did you “exceed” your goal to do hikes, but you managed to bring us all along for the beauty of your area AND keep yourselves busy and happy in spite of a pandemic. And I love the fact that you’ve included a printable sheet for those of us who might be/will be visiting your area in the future and will certainly want to explore some of these ourselves. PLUS….I think the look of your blog and comments looks great. I’m looking forward to chatting with you soon! ~Kathy

    Like

  6. Excellent! I’ve enjoyed going on the hikes with you and Richard so much! I’m curious, although I’m sure you knew of many of the hikes just because you’ve lived in the area for a while but how did you find the new-to-you ones? As many of us have encouraged you to do… if there isn’t already a book of VI hikes, you should put one together. You already have the photos and particulars… “all you need to do” (yes, I know, easy to say) is put it together. I bet it would be a great seller in your area (the proceeds could go to a favorite charity). I even know a lawyer who could help you with any contracts or paperwork you might need 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi, Janis – Funny thing — while you were typing this comment, I was printing off your photo so I could ‘bring you along’ on the adventures with Joanne, Deb, Erica and Ann! 😀
      Thank you for following our hikes – I’ve greatly appreciated your joining in. I found the ‘new to us’ hikes in different ways. One goldmine was a ‘handmade’ document uploaded by the Qualicum Beach Newcomers’ Hiking Group – it was a wealth of information. I also used All Trails frequently. I do appreciate your kind words, but I don’t see me writing a book. I have blogged these hikes, Instagrammed them and uploaded most of them on Alltrails. My job is done! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Breathtaking scenery on all of your hikes, Donna! I think I would be motivated too if I was this close to such scenic areas. Good for you guys and congratulations on hiking 52! I really need to get out. It is so hot right now in California that you can’t go outside! Over 105 degrees for several days and more to come in the 10-day forecast. Can’t wait to get to the PNW!

    Like

  8. Congratulations Donna and Richard on your amazing hiking adventures! Thank you for sharing your hikes and stunning photos with us. I think I said it before that if my family wasn’t in Ontario, I’d move to live in BC for its natural beauty. Look forward to reading your next adventure with fellow bloggers.

    Like

  9. Donna,
    I hope you have a map or chart of your trails framed or mounted on a bulletin board somewhere. It will mean so much to you in later years. We have a large map of the U.S. with map pins in every campground we have visited since we retired. It is a priceless treasure. Congratulations…you both get gold stars from us. Thanks for taking us along. Joe

    Like

    1. Hi, Joe and Helen – I ❤ gold stars! Thank you for them!
      I don't have a framed map of any of our hikes, but I do have many of them (including our Caminos) preserved on this blog. I also have our recent hikes recorded on Alltrails which makes a little map of them. And I now have a heap more photos which I need to go through soon.
      I hope that your travels are going well. I can't wait to read more!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Congrats on an amazing achievement Donna – I love that you and Richard found something to do together that kept you active and happy and that you shared it with all of us along the way. That picture at the top of your post today was just beautiful – and the shack one definitely appealed too – I can see why you’d want to have a look-see inside!

    Like

    1. Thanks, Leanne – Richard and I greatly enjoyed each hike. Every single one of them made us want to explore more. Today I’m off to French Beach, China Beach and a few other hiking spots with Erica and a couple of other bloggers. It should be a few laughs for sure. We’ll keep you posted!

      Like

  11. Hi Donna – brilliant … so pleased to have followed along with you both – you’ve done a great justice to your hikes and to VI … an amazing place. There’s an awful lot of information available isn’t there … for tourists, new locals to absorb and follow whatever their situation takes in … well done on covering all the bases … other than actually writing a book – which I agree probably isn’t necessary. Take care and enjoy the hike tomorrow with ‘les other girls’!! – it’ll be lots of fun and with lots of laughter I suspect … all the best – and happy hiking … Hilary

    Like

    1. Hi, Hilary – Thank you so much for diligently following along and for all of your kind and insightful words. Throughout this journey, I knew that each morning when I woke up your comment would be there waiting. It has meant a lot!

      Like

  12. Good job. Fun that you did this and that you found a way to take us along with you. There are very few beautiful vistas around me and only dingy-looking rivers, so it was refreshing to see your world.

    Like

  13. Well done to you and Richard for accomplishing the task that you set out to do Donna! It’s been such a pleasure to accompany you by way of gorgeous photos and detail. I could feel the energy in all the posts I checked out. Truly, they were such a delight. Hope you’re taking a well deserved rest and enjoying your book … 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi, Susan – What a kind and thoughtful comment! The trails definitely did give us amazing energy — often I was more tired before I started a hike than when I finished. I did take yesterday off to loaf around and read my book. But I was back on the trails (with some blogging buddies) today. Somehow, I just can’t stay away! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I have LOVED every one of these hikes – whether through the blog or through Instagram. Mostly I love how your favourite one is whichever one you’re doing that day. Well done guys & I hope that Grant and I can one day hike one of these trails with you two in person.

    Like

  15. I’m comment #52, very fitting after your post! I’m very impressed but my feet ache at the thought of it! My daily 3.2km walk on mostly flat ground is nothing compared to that! Well done

    Like

    1. That’s so cool that you are Comment #52. Congratulations on your daily 3.2 km walk. That’s a significant distance when done daily and provides heaps of health benefits all round. I’m off to check out your last post now.

      Like

  16. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed joining you from afar on your hikes Donna. You and Richard are a force to be reckoned with and I so admire your commitment. I don’t blame you for a lie-in after all that! Loving the new look of your blog too. #mlstl

    Like

  17. As everyone else has said — “well done”. You’ve exceeded your goals and blogged it all! Plus think of the fitness benefits to you both. I suspect with this wonderful habit commenced you will keep hiking once or twice a week. Going to do the West Coast Trail? Hard to get drawn but with all your energy and enthusiasm it would be an awesome icing on the cake although I suppose this year is already full unless you took a chance on being in the cancellation list.

    Like

    1. Hi, Bernie – Thank you for your kind comment. Sadly, the West Coast Trail is not for me (which is too bad because it is quite close by). Although I love a multi-day hike, I am more of a lodge-to-lodge hiker. Having to carry my bed and all of my food on my back, climb rope ladders and then sleep in the wilderness doesn’t appeal to me at all. Give me a 700 km Camino hike where my bed each night is in a community hall with snoring strangers– and I’m totally in!

      Like

  18. Donna, You heading photo is breathtaking. It also fits perfectly with the title of your blog. The luxury of “bed with a good book” made me go ahhhh. The best!

    When I saw you this week, I was tempted to ask about your favourite hikes, yet, I suspected your answer would be every single one of them. I understand and it makes sense to me. Every hike is special in its own way. It is tempting to peek through the windows. I am always curious how people live.

    I greatly appreciate you sharing your hikes with us. I also understand how it is a special connecting/bonding time between you and Richard. A priceless and memorable experience.xx

    Like

    1. Hi, Erica – Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement. It means a great deal. You are right that every single trail has its own distinct personality. I loved our walks together on Tuesday. Sooke has amazing beaches. They would make great places for the four of us to meet up again in the future!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think this area is usually referred to as the Juan de Fuca Marine trail. Sooke has another amazing area with great walks/hikes, East Sooke Park. You may have explored this area in the past. And, yes, it would be fun if the four of us meet up again in the future. On the way home, on Tuesday, Chuck and I stopped at 17 mile pub for a bite for dinner. They have great outdoor seating and their food is usually consistently good pub food. Hope you had a good trip home. xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Erica – On the way home, Richard and I indulged in Lee’s Fried Chicken. It was totally decadent and completely delicious!
        It would be super easy for us to choose outdoor pubs in Duncan or nearby for a future meetup with the four of us. A great day out!

        Like

  19. Wow, Donna – what an achievement! Reading about your hikes and seeing your beautiful pictures is like a breath of fresh air for these city-bound COVID prisoners 🙂 Hiking is one of our favorite things, and you’ve whetted our appetites to get out there as soon as we can. I loved the link to the people who camp under their airplane wing – who knew that was a thing? Ha! Thank you for this beautiful post.

    Like

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words. I hope that you are able to get out soon to enjoy the hikes that you love. There is nothing like being outdoors surrounded by nature. It’s my favourite place to be!
      PS – Cool about the airplane camping, right? I would have never guessed that either! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi Donna, you have certainly heightened my desire for a return visit to Vancouver Island. I feel like the next time will be much more informed because of your collection of posts. I can only imagine the conversation with the blogger gang and hope you will write about it soon. Enjoy!

    Like

  21. Congratulations, Donna and Richard! Wow, what an achievement! I haven’t commented at all through your challenge (for which I apologise) but have read every post with interest. I find it absolutely amazing that you have found so many different hikes in such a (relatively) small area. It helps, I think, that you live in such a picturesque and fascinating part of the world. Well done!

    Like

    1. Hi, Clare – Thank you so much for following. It’s been a wonderful adventure. My fear was that the moment our challenge ended I would sit on my butt for far too long. Luckily some hiking blogging buddies are currently in town, as are my eldest son and DIL who are also avid hikers. So far, my hiking continues (although I have skipped a day or two and have repeated some old favourites)! I hope that all is well with you.

      Like

  22. What a beautiful blog, and my favorite comment has to be that your favorite hike was the one you were doing that day! Now, that’s living in the moment. These days I get by through focus on the present day; otherwise, I might go nuts. Getting out on all the hikes and adventures must have surely invigorated your brain and brought renewal to your spirit. I loved every minute following you on these adventures. You have inspired me from day one I met you and onward 🙂

    Susan Grace

    Like

  23. I need to copy/paste all your hikes! We spend a fair bit of our time on Gabriola Island and there are only so many hikes here! We need to start venturing a bit further and you have completed some lovely hikes!

    Like

    1. Thank you for stopping by, reading and commenting. I’ve been to Gabriola several times but have not yet hiked there. It is definitely on my list. If you have any questions on the hikes that I’ve posted about, please do not hesitate to let me know. Please leave me your blog link. I would love to drop by!

      Like

  24. Brickyard Bay is another one of my favourite local places, but all of the other hikes you describe are ones I haven’t discovered yet. You have given me so many local hikes to look forward to! Yesterday I walked the new Shelly Creek trail and rail trail, which I know is familiar to you, with a friend who has recently moved to Parksville.donna, we’ll have to meet up for a walk/hike one of these days soon.

    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