This hike near Sooke Potholes takes you to one of those wondrous places that I find bewildering at the same time. And perhaps it is not just me because my fellow hikers on this trip kept asking questions like “Is this bump one of the bears?”, or “Where are are we going?”, or “Why is there a lighthouse up here?”…but let’s start at the beginning: 7 of us met in the Sooke Potholes parking lot at 10:00 on Saturday. We decided to do the most challenging part of the trail first, which I believe is the start of the ridge at the base of the bears (a series of bumps), after leaving the Sooke flowline (the old pipeline that supplied water to the Victoria years ago). It was mossy, wet, and steeper than I remembered it. Anyway, everything went well and nobody stayed behind. I think the trick is to stay high on the ridge and avoid following mossy ledges and slopes - they tend to get steeper further on, as we experienced. But the good thing is that there are plenty of alternate route options. Along the way Dave pointed out a little lighthouse hidden behind a tree (of the kind you may see in a garden) that he thought was meant to warn ships in the distance, if I recall correctly. There are many great view points from this bumpy ridge and the slow and scenic ascent towards the summit of the bluffs makes this a very attractive route, in my mind. Our lunch break on top was a bit rushed, given the less than favourable timing of a shower. Anyway, spirits were still high and so we also decided to traverse the summit toward the outflow of Peden lake. There was quite a bit of water in the creek. This made for a somewhat exciting crossing but all was good, thanks to the fixed rope that was available. The lake itself was completely quiet - a very beautiful spot, for sure! We did the hike in about 5 hours, 10 km total distance, with about 400 m elevation gain from the parking to the top of Peden bluffs.
We did this hike in clockwise direction, which is what I would recommend.
On the Sooke flowline, just before the start of the climbing (picture credit: Dave Suttill)
The lower part of the ridge
Further up, approaching the summit of the first bear?
Route finding skill are a must for this route - the trail trends to be faint
Looking towards the high point of the route - Peden bluffs
Peden Lake (picture credit: Dave Suttill)