6/26/2011

Metchosin's Pears Road Landmark Douglas-fir Trees

Landmark Douglas-fir on Pears Road, Metchosin
The main route, Highway 14, from Victoria to Sooke (and up the southwest coast of Vancouver Island) is very scenic. It twists and turns through tree-covered hills, with occasional water views as you get closer to Sooke. For the sharp-eyed passengers (drivers should keep eyes on the road) there are several outstanding big trees to discover.

But there are also many alternate routes between the two coastal communities that offer beautiful views and interesting trees. As an added bonus, the alternate roads are more tranquil than the main highway which can get busy depending on the time of day.

Companion tree with dead top
The drive I recently took is a deviation off of Highway 14 leaving the main route at Metchosin Rd by Victoria, and then returning to it at the intersection with Gillespie Rd near Sooke.

Along the way are rolling lands that have been farmed for many years. Most farms have areas of forest, which often include some great Douglas-fir, as well as Garry oak, and Arbutus. Keep your eyes peeled and you will see many such trees.

A couple of the notable holdouts are the landmark trees on Pears Rd near the Metchosin Golf and Country Club. The two Douglas-fir are outstanding in their age and character, and are right off of Pears Rd so are easily viewed. The tree closest to the road is the more robust, even with a broken top. Its companion tree is not doing as good and has a dead spire jutting above a small growing canopy.


These tree have been gracing this land for hundreds of years while battling Pacific storms coming off the Juan de Fuca Strait. The trees show their experiences in their twisted character-laden limbs and broken bits. Even more dangerous, they survived the dreams of land-clearing farmers and enterprising loggers. Today, the biggest threat is residential development.

The big tree and beyond: Juan de Fuca and Olympic Range
This alternate scenic route is a nice change to driving the faster, busier main highway. The route crosses the Galloping Goose Trail in several places. One can get out of the car and hike or bike a bit away from motor vehicles. The trail has stunning views of the area, forest, farm, and ocean.


Getting There

The route can get complicated, so is best explored on the map below. Zoom in for a more detailed view. You can use the map to locate other interesting routes along back roads through the hilly semi-wilderness. Big old growth trees still hang on here and there throughout this region, despite the heavy alterations that have occurred since the arrival of Europeans. Drive carefully, watch for the big trees - and the deer, bear and cougar that live among them.


View Pears Road Landmark Douglas-fir in a larger map

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