Sooke Big Trees - Phillips Road/Sunriver Park
Along the Sooke river on the Phillips Road side there are patches of old forest dominated by a few centuries old giant trees. Some the Douglas-fir are among the largest I have seen in the town area, as is one of the old growth cedars growing on the riverbank.
Here you will also find large Western hemlock, Sitka spruce, fir, red alder and Bigleaf maple. These big trees are in Sun River Nature Park, accessed from Phillips Road just past the T intersection with Sunriver Way. On the river side of Phillips Rd. is a trail head that will take you to these trees.
The thick bark on Douglas fir can separate from the tree and fall. Many loggers have been killed over the years by falling chunks of bark. I guess a bike helmet comes in handy here, although a sheet of bark coming from a hundred feet up is going to do some serious damage, regardless.
This tree shows its age in the deeply furrowed bark as well as the excavations in it dug by birds searching for insects.
In addition to insect holes, you can also see fire scars on these ancient trees. Douglas fir bark is so thick that it acts as fire-proofing for the tree. Older trees have bark up to 30 cm/12 inches thick at the base.