October 2015 update: If you want to know how to hike Mt. Quimper, check out this other post instead!
So summer is over, which means less time outdoors. More time to write about being outdoors!
My hiking buddy and I went to Manuel Quimper this weekend. The CRD has been working on developing visitor facilities since last year, starting with expanding the parking lot. Recently, an outhouse went up replacing the I’d-rather-pee-in-the-woods-cause-this-is-so-gross Port A Potty.
And even some bear-proof recycling and trash cans.
Yay visitor facilities! They’ve been building some gravel & pipe “bridges” over the creek that runs along Harbour View Road as well. I used to take a wide step over them, so they were already pretty accessible.
The trail to Mt Manuel Quimper isn’t marked yet, but it’s already been seeing more traffic. Or perhaps, a certain kind of traffic. More specifically, the fire watch tower has been trashed.
Here’s a photo of the tower last year, already pretty weather-worn. But this summer has brought human-made destruction.
Someone has smashed out a row of glass on the west side of the tower.
The plywood from almost an entire side of the lower tower is has been ripped off, and my guess is used for wood. I’m taking this photo standing inside the tower itself where the plywood was ripped off, looking out.
I also saw a tree with all of its lower branches sort of half-hazzardly hacked off.
I often see this in backcountry camping spots that are not patrolled. People will gather the branches that have fallen to the ground and then start sawing off tree limbs to try to make a fire. In this case, my guess is that once they realized that a limb just sawed off a tree was not going to burn so well, they started ripping off plywood from the tower.
Does easier access have to bring a greater chance for destruction?
My hiking buddy said on Saturday that we’re witnessing the beginning of the end. Part of me is afraid she’s right.
Part of me thinks maybe this is just part of the natural ebb and flow of things. I’ve only been hiking in the Sooke Hills for 2 years, so I’m not sure what is was like before that. Maybe these woods and this mountain top have seen all sorts of destruction I can barely even imagine. I suppose building a tower in the first place was a kind of destruction to the natural beauty that was already there.