Galloping Goose Big Trees - Coopers Cove to Roche Cove
The Coopers Cove/Saseenos area of Sooke is a thickly forested rural area with outstanding old growth trees spread throughout the hillsides and shoreline. Most are on private land, but can be seen from vantage points along Highway 14, side roads, and The Galloping Goose trail.
The trail offers many opportunities to view impressive trees as you travel with forest on one side and the ocean down below on the other. A scenic stretch from Coopers Cove to Roche Cove Park has enough old growth trees among younger forest to keep you searching for the next giant.
Evidence of ongoing forest cycles are shown by one particular tree along this stretch of trail. The bleached and twisted snag pictured here was hundreds of years old when it met its demise. How long it has been standing since then is hard to say. Snags sometimes remain standing for hundreds of years. They are key structures in a mature and healthy forest.
As time passes the sun, gravity, wind and decay take their toll. Over the years this Douglas fir has lost its upper trunk and all limbs except a huge main branch, itself as thick as a large trunk.
Other branches have tumbled to the shoreline below and lay in a grey wood-grained nest worthy of a large packrat.
This de-barked limb rests on the beach below showing a wrinkly pattern where the branch bends.
Many large old trees, links to the unmolested pre-European forest, can be seen from the Galloping Goose Trail. There is a place to park at the trail head at Coopers Cove just at the side of highway 14. At the other end, at Roche Cove Park, there is also parking available.
A short way up the G.G. trail from Roche Cove you will find Matheson Lake Park. Here you can hike through ancient forest that has been preserved. I will be visiting Matheson in the near future. Look for a post and photos on some of the choice trees in this patch of old forest.