Our very favourite trail run begins just a few minutes from home, on Mt Tzouhalem. The first half is uphill, the second half, downhill but there's lots of variety both ways as the trails wind, dip, and rise through the forest. We've been to the top 466 times over the past seven years. Yet, every time is as thrilling as the very first time that we hiked up with a friend. We didn't run all the way in the beginning but the legs are used to it now - it actually seems easier than hiking. The rocks and roots require that you focus on each step with the result that your mind clears of every earthly worry...that brings a deep sense of relaxation.
The view from the top takes your breath away - again, every single time. We look out at the funky seaside community of Cowichan Bay and way across the channel to Victoria International Airport. Ferries travel from island to island and across the "Salish Sea" to Vancouver where the 2010 Winter Olympic Games will open with great fanfare in just a couple of weeks. (Some more snow in the Coast Mountains would certainly relieve some anxiety amongst athletes and organizers.) When the skies are clear, the snow-capped Olympic Range, just over the border in Washington State, serves as a inspiring horizon.
It's the end of January. We always wear shorts. The forest is green with fir and arbutus trees. The delicate little "snowdrops" are flowering and the daffodils will soon be up. The weather is great for paddling. Yep, it's winter on the west coast. Folks in the rest of Canada, please don't be too annoyed with us - spring is on the way. Honest it is. :-)