The Outdoor Guy: Lessons from the ‘Boss”

Sooke's Ron Larson writes about his adventures in the great outdoors

As I’m driving down the highway toward Victoria from Sooke, Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run is warbling out of my stereo. Bruce is one of my all-time favorite singers and I can’t believe he’s 65. Then again I can’t believe my other favorite, Leonard Cohen just celebrated his 80th birthday. Both of these guys are sharp, very aware and seem to project a healthy frame of mind.

I take a right off the highway onto Gillespie Road and follow it to the stop sign at East Sooke Road. I hang a right at the stop sign. From the stop sign to Pike Road is 8 kms, then from there it’s about a minute to the trailhead parking lot.

On road trips, we used to play “eye spy with my little eye,” one person picks a random object, like a pack of gum and the other person has to figure out what the object is by asking questions.  As it turns out by putting a mental puzzle together, not only was I helping keep my parents sanity but we were building our brain by connecting neuro pathways. Grown-up’s play a variation of Neuroplasticity called bird watching and if you’re lucky you may spot a Pacific Slope Flycatcher out in East Sooke Park.

After a 10-minute walk from the lower parking lot and bathroom area, a sign points to Mount Maguire and Anderson Cove, I take the path and after about a five-minute walk there is an unmarked path on the right. It meanders up a narrow, tricky and steep path but this longer route opens up at the top and is a nice alternative from the flat straight 2km straight shot from parking lot to Iron Mine Bay.

I’m heading to Iron Mine Bay to see if I can spot another whale. I felt like such a kid when I heard that whale and then locked eyes on it. I don’t mind taking the long way because the view isn’t always the point. These walks are often walking meditation. I get into a rhythm of breathing and movement with my body and everything gets sharper. The colours more vibrant and sounds more amplified.

My dogs sniff the salmon berry bushes while greeting every Douglas fir, Western hemlock, and Sitka spruce along the way. At the top of this short hike the trees give way to the ocean and the view opens up.  At the bottom of the rocky trail, I take a right back onto the main trail which then leads back to the parking lot. I check my watch about two hours total with some pooch play time.

I load up the dogs and fire up the van only to hear Bruce belt out; “The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive.” While getting out in nature can’t change our genetic code, what it can do is put a seat belt over our hearts and a helmet on our brain in case we can’t bypass the broken hero traffic jam.