Hiking Trails I: Victoria and Vicinity
Matt Hartman is a freelance editor and cataloguer, running Hartman Cataloguing, Editing and Indexing Services.
The Outdoor Club of Victoria was founded in 1942 “by a group of Victorians interested in hiking together so they could share the companionship of others with similar interests and pool their knowledge of places to go” (Vol. I, p. 6). The club’s Trail Information Society has compiled this series of three small volumes for the “growing numbers of people ... who wish to explore the outdoors locally and who prefer to hike on a trail.”
Volume I covers Victoria and vicinity; Volume II ranges through southeastern Vancouver Island; Volume III deals with central and northern Vancouver Island. The books’ popularity is witnessed by the fact that they have been so frequently reprinted. The first volume is in its ninth edition, the second and third in their fifth. All have been revised and expanded as more trails have been opened or discovered.
The booklets share a common format. Each trail is allotted one or more maps and a page or so of description. The maps vary in quality. They are nearly all sketches, giving trail markings, campsite locations, and elevations (using contour lines). While viewing sites are mentioned, the editors have made no attempt to indicate exceptional flora and fauna that might be encountered along the trails. Because Vancouver Island is so heavily involved in logging operations, many of the trails encroach upon private property. Suitable cautions and right-of-way rules are given, along with the standard warnings about changes that the weather might inflict upon the various types of terrain. Also included in each volume is a list of sources where hikers may obtain more complete maps and materials.
The books make an excellent starter package for the novice or intermediate hiker. They are compact enough to fit easily into the smallest knapsack (though the editors recommend photo copying the part of the book applicable to a particular hike and carrying only that). Vancouver Island is one of the more beautiful parts of Canada. The Trail Information Society is to be commended for making the area more accessible to residents and visitors alike.