Camino Victoria Day 2: Ladysmith to Crofton 24.5k

How on earth is it possible that I need all this stuff for five days! I only had one backpack filled with 17 lbs of stuff that lasted me a month on the real Camino.

We slept in our own beds last night after a butter curry dinner at Cathy’s cooked by Tauno. And ibuprofen. Slept well!
Finished packing as the next two nights are in an AirBnB in Ganges. How is it that for St Jean Pied-du-Port to Santiago de Compestello I only needed one backpack? For this 11k walk, I need the backpack, a suitcase and a bag of food! We each pre-cooked a dinner to avoid eating out. The two AirBnB’s we had booked both have kitchens. We also tried to take routes that led past as many cafe’s and bakeries as possible to replicate the wonderful stops on the real Camino.
Walking 30k one day is no big deal. Walking even as little as 15 or 18k, let alone 24.5k the next day is. The body has to deal with all the muscles that got worn out the day before so each day you hike you feel it more and more until some magic moment happens (probably around day 20) and you don’t feel the pain anymore. The blisters are healed, your soles don’t ache, your hips are well oiled and you can keep walking. But in the meantime we were to find that the body aches.

Heading for town to be dropped off in Ladysmith to start day 2 of walking. Gary and Linda’s otter defence device to keep otters out of their boat. Once it detects motion, its eyes light up and its jaws snap open and shut.
Our approximate route.

We arrived in a downpour at Tim Hortons in Ladysmith and started walking at 9:45am. Officially, the Great Trail is along the waterfront road, below the highway. However, we decided we would window shop along First Avenue since the Great Trail crosses the highway further south and joins First Ave.

By the time we swooned while looking at the famous pecan, chocolate cinnamon buns in the Ladysmith bakery window, the rain had stopped and we soon took off, rain gear, buffs, and sleeves.

Downtown Ladysmith

Ladysmith is a quaint town, filled with interesting small shops, old, well cared for houses, lovingly tended gardens and a sense of community.

The Great Trail, in this area known as the Cowichan Valley Trail

The Great Trail, herein known as TGT, follows out of Ladysmith, over Holland Creek and down Chemainous Rd then branches away from the road. It’s a peaceful walk.

At one point we saw a ‘Cafe, this way’ sign pointing off the trail and we looked over and saw Ma Maison, a great little cafe beckoning us. We were close to the halfway mark, so we ordered cream of cauliflower soup infused with truffle cream and sprinkled with toasted slivered almonds.

Ma Maison located in the Saltair Station House

While we sipped our soup, we surreptitiously wiggled our freed toes under the table. On the popular Camino routes everyone does it. In Canada, one has to do this delicately so as to not upset anyone. This is our rule—every time you stop, you take your shoes off. And, at least once a day you change your socks. What a difference it makes.

Cream of cauliflower, infused with truffle cream and sprinkled with toasted almond slivers.
Cathy and Linda taking a break on the trail.

The Cowichan Valley Trail is a beautiful trail, flowing the rail line and the rail grade. Wide, firm, made for bikes and feet. Well done whoever is in charge. The trail wound through forest and farms, along a golf course, behind subdivisions and between Old Victoria Rd and Chemainus Rd. We followed it for most of the way and decided we should explore TGT more at another time, but we had to leave it to follow Crofton Rd, to get to the Saltspring Island Ferry. Crofton Rd had almost no shoulder for large parts of it and huge logging trucks and chip trucks passed within feet.

By the time we climbed the hill going into Crofton, we were tired. We were revived by the last kilometre being downhill all the way to the ferry. We did @22k, just the right amount of walking.

Gary had gone ahead to Saltspring and waited for us at the Vesuvious Ferry Terminal where he would pick us up to take to our AirBnB and then drop us off the next morning to resume the walk.

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