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I Love Victoria - Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary

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I’ve decided to profile Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary as today's entry.  Shortly after my wife and I moved here, after a glorious year of renting a waterfront home at Portage Inlet, we moved to an area of Saanich known as Lake Hill.  At first, we were disappointed with the suburb – what a letdown after living on waterfront.  Where was the nature?  The local parks had baseball diamonds but nothing else that interested us.  Of course, we just needed to walk around a bit and open our eyes.  The beauty is there - as it is everywhere in Victoria.

It wasn’t long before we found the wonderful things that surrounded our new neighbourhood.  We were just a few blocks away from the Lochside trail, a world-class, 29 km long trail that stretches from Victoria to Schwartz Bay and intersects with the 55 km long Galloping Goose trail that runs from Victoria to Sooke and beyond.  But it was the twenty minute walk from our house to the beginning of the Christmas Hill Nature Trail that we really grew to appreciate.

The trail itself is only about 0.6km long in a loop through 11 hectares of terrain with Garry Oaks, arbutus, and fir trees mixed with wild ferns, grasses, and flowers.  The trail is very easy terrain and an excellent retreat to make you feel like you’ve left the city.  I took two friends up there, both of them on heart medication that keeps their heart rate from elevating, and they climbed to the summit with ease.  They even commented on it being a hike with minimal effort needed to achieve a great reward.  The views at the top allow you to gaze upon the Olympic Peninsula, Mt. Baker, downtown Victoria and much more. 

Usually there is an abundance of colourful wildflowers this time of year.  Unfortunately, this year we’ve had pervasively cold weather at night so the flowers are almost a month behind schedule.  Spring is here, 14 degrees and sunny today, but I only saw a few splashes of colour - nothing like I’d expect. 

The trail also connects with Swan Lake.  Swan Lake is a protected lake with a 2.5km trail surrounding it.  No bikes allowed, this trail is for foot traffic only.  Look to future supplements to this blog as Swan Lake is on the list of great places to feature.  Victoria has so many great attractions.  I can only profile one at a time.  Years from now, I will still be adding new things each month.  There are so many special things about Victoria, it will take a lifetime to see them all.

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As always, I end my blog asking "Do You Love Victoria?"  If the answer is yes, please send your stories or photos to me at sweethomevictoria@gmail.com.  We will post them on this website for worldwide appreciation.