West Coast Trail, Part 2: Victoria and the Butchart Gardens

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The Sunken Garden at Butchard Gardens. The Gardens began with an idea by Jennie Butchart to beautify a worked-out limestone quarry.

One nice thing about returning to a city that we knew already is that we didn’t have to spend time finding restaurants- we just went to our favorites from our last trip. After walking past the picturesque harbor and the ivy-covered Empress Hotel, we made our way to ReBar, a vegetarian and fish restaurant, home to fantastic sweet potato french fries.

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On the way there we noticed an artist’s map showing Vancouver island, including the West Coast trail. Dorinna took one look at the not-to-scale picture of a hiker, and declared “There’s a giant on the trail!” The West Coast Trail Giant became a running joke during the hike.

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The West Coast Trail Giant

We had one full day before we had to meet Kevin at the trailhead. We started off the day buying stove fuel, maps, and miscellaneous camping supplies, before getting in our car to visit the Butchart Gardens. This is one Victoria’s biggest attractions that we didn’t have time to visit the last time we were in town. This is really a garden complex, with many different styles of garden. The Sunken Garden, created from an old quarry is the original and most famous, but the complex also includes bog gardens, a rose garden, a Japanese garden, and an Italian garden.

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Back in town, we scoured downtown for a grocery story to buy trip supplies, then returned the rental car at a convenient drop-off location two blocks from our hotel. We then headed out to Temple, a cosmopolitan restaurant serving gourmet food. The waiter told us horror stories about people being evacuated from the West Coast Trail. We laughed them off and enjoyed our meal. Tomorrow we would leave civilization as we knew it, but tonight we lived it up. 

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Dorinna enjoying a Resolution
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Parliament building at night

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