By Environmental Educator Kirsten Dallimore
his spring, I invite you to take the opportunity to embrace all the scenery, smells and sounds of nature. It’s time to start thinking about how you might spend your time outdoors during spring break.
I’ve often found that the best adventures in nature can be the ones that bring you a surprise.
I once went for a hike at East Sooke Regional Park. My intention was to do some bird watching and observe the fall migration. When it turned out to be a foggy day and I wasn’t seeing many birds in the sky, I thought, “Well, I guess it’s time to head back on the trail and see what else there is to explore.” Just then, my magical nature moment happened.
I found myself on top of a hill with an amazing view of the ocean as the fog cleared. I spotted two orca whales who decided to put on a show very close to shore. Up in the sky a juvenile golden eagle flew overhead. I couldn’t have planned that moment any better. I was in the right spot at the right time.
What I remember each time I go out into nature is that I wouldn’t be able to access magical moments like this if I wasn’t open to new experiences and adventure.
I truly admire those who go into nature with an open heart and an open mind. This spring break I encourage you to gather the kids, dress appropriately for the weather, pack a backpack full of snacks and water, and get out there to explore nature in your own community. Experience nature with an open mind ready to see something new—and an open heart ready to embrace those unexpected moments that nature has in store for all of us to enjoy.
Here is a list of my top 10 favorite activities and places to visit this spring break around southern Vancouver Island:
- Head out to Botanical Beach near Port Renfrew for tide pool and beach exploration. Remember to wear your gum boots and bring an extra pair of socks in case you get wet!
- Hike at East Sooke Regional Park. The Coast Trail allows you to explore local plants found in the coastal temperate rainforest such as salal, Oregon grape and sword fern. Discover new plants such as the ferns popping up on the forest floor.
- Ride your bikes along the Galloping Goose trail through Sooke Potholes Provincial Park and visit the site of Leechtown, an old gold mining community. Stop along the trail for great views and exploring the potholes.
- Kayak along the Gorge Waterway to explore the home of seals, herons, sea birds, otters and more.
- Have a picnic at Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park. First, take a walk through the forest and check out the beautiful Sitting Lady Falls and then head down the trail to enjoy an afternoon picnic and nature play down near the water.
- Create your own adventure! Go for a walk in your own community to see what’s new. Bring along a clipboard, some paper and pencil crayons and draw what you see as you travel along your route.
- Walk up to the top of PKOLS (Mount Douglas) and take nature photos from the amazing lookout point.
- Visit a local library to pick up a nature themed book and take it with you when you visit a local neighborhood park. Sit under the trees, relax and sink your imagination into a new world. I highly recommend “The Curious Garden” by Peter Brown.
- Go on a nature scavenger hunt around Beacon Hill Park. Find scavenger hunt ideas here.
- Learn about slugs, bears and salmon during a guided walk with a CRD Park Naturalist. Check out their list of event outings.