Camino Victoria Day 5, Mattick’s Farm to The Empress, 13k

Gary cooks us breakfast each morning, bacon and eggs, toast, hash browns, yogurt, blueberries, coffee, etc. Then he drives us back to where we would stop the day before and we start again. Having a road crew is the best way to do this!

The forecast was for 10% chance of rain which we interpreted as being no rain. Each day the rain has been less, well less in terms of time not amounts. Yesterday’s downpour didn’t last long in time and distance, maybe 3K but it was heavy. By the time we get home the weather will be sunny.

We stopped at yet another farm stand only this time it turned it out to be Angela’s Cookie Stand. I am beginning to worry about how many cookie stands there might be on this last leg. There is a lot more people on the trail now. Cookie stands are probably a good money maker. The keto diet and intermittent fasting disappeared on day one. We will probably be one of the rare groups that actually gains weight while doing a long distance walk.

The trail goes through the Blenkinsop wet area and the trail became a boardwalk.

We came across a statue of Farmer Roy on the boardwalk. He looked familiar. I check my photos and go back to Ashley’s Gourmet Cookies. Yup, Farmer Roy is her grandfather.

Farmer Roy

We come to the end of the Lochside Trail, although you couldn’t tell it ended as it joined or morphed into the Galloping Goose Trail which would take us the rest of the way from near Uptown Mall to downtown.

Riding the Galloping Goose
Artwork under a bridge.

Despite the increase in bikers, I am surprised by not seeing a lot of walkers and certainly no serious backpackers like us. We kind of stick out like sore thumbs, or in our case, sore feet. That is until we got to the Selkirk bridge that crosses the Gorge. We had just gotten up after sitting on a bench for a few minutes when we saw them.

View from a bench

“Cathy, Linda, Look, they have backpacks. Real ones. Big ones.”

We cut across the lawn to intercept them . “Where are you headed?” I asked.

“Ladysmith” one of them replied.

“We just came from there.” I replied. “Well not today but a couple days ago.”



And then there was mad chatter as we swapped information back and forth.

The southbound crew on the left and the northbound crew on the right.

They had waited out the rain and had just started walking North an hour before but they were sticking with the Great Trail taking the newly opened Malahat route which is very hilly and joining on to the Cowichan Valley Trail up to Lake Cowichan and back down Cowichan Valley and then all the way up to Ladysmith. They told us they had plans to walk 100 km on the TransCanada Trail AKA The Great Trail, in each province but that the weather in Saskatchewan was making them rethink that idea.

One of the women looked familiar and after chatting with her she realized that I had taught her at Malaspina College many years ago. Seeing her on this trail, I guess I taught her well.

The encounter brought some excitement to our walk and after they continued north and we continued south we felt validated.

On the other side of the soccer bridge two bicyclists passed us at an intersection and one of them yelled over “Buen Camino!” A sign that they recognized us as doing a Camino. We stood a little taller after that.

Even though we were only 2 km from The Empress we decided to stop at Fol Epi bakery which is right beside the trail at Dockside Green. They have the best ham and cheese croissants. As Linda said ‘it was the best ham and cheese croissant she has EVER had’. Every Camino needs a good croissant stop.

We chose The Empress as our final destination because it has a presence. We could have chosen mile zero down on Dallas Road but perhaps we’ll leave that for next time.

Time to buy new shoes.

Postscript…according to my pedometer we did165,338 steps!

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