Highlights: Beautiful sweeping views from the highest point on the Saanich Peninsula (449m).
Distance: 2.5km one way, can hike down the other side (1.8km one way) and back up again if you feel you need more. The trail is steep for sections but overall not too challenging. Trail Map – scroll to 2nd page.
Directions to the main entrance:
Follow Pat Bat Hwy (#17) from Victoria and exit at West Saanich Rd. Follow West Saanich Rd, take a left at Wallace Drive, and left again on Willis Point Rd. Final left onto Ross-Durance Rd and parking lot is on the left. The trail head is at the entrance to the parking lot.
Mount Work – what a strange, not particularly enticing name. Who wants to hike a mountain when they are reminded it is work? Maybe Mt. Stroll in Woods would be a better name. But it should actually be called Mount Wark – as it was named after John Wark (the fur trader, not the soccer player). When Wark joined the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1814 he Anglecized his name to Work… and there you go – the story behind the name Mt. Work.
The main excitement of the day was the wind… and what a wind it was. Something maybe only Island people would understand, because I have never felt wind like this in Vancouver. The entire hike up I could hear the trees cracking and popping as the wind readjusted and tested them. Small branches breezed my my head. I came up with my plans for if a) a tree was going to fall on me – run like hell and b) a giant branch came sailing at me – jump, duck, run…. It was windy.
I found it rather humurous that the beginning of the trail had a handful of signs pointing to the summit, but once I got up there… I had no idea, and still don’t really KNOW, where the summit was. There was a flat expanse of rock with a beautiful view up Island that I will call the summit – unfortunately I did not take much time to enjoy the vista because the wind was particularly strong without the trees to break its full force. I had to brace myself, legs apart, knees bent, shoulder to the wind… just to keep standing. I squatted down (less surface area?) to take a picture, and was blown over. So needless to say, I did not stop to enjoy my snack.
The trail carried on past the summit and down the other side – I followed this part way, still in search of the perhaps official Summit, but turned back after awhile – the trail was becoming slightly hard to follow and my ears were particularly icy.