The wonders of the Pacific Marine Circle Route

Local photographers showcase the beauty of the Sooke area in new B.C. best selling book

A new book is bringing the Pacific Marine Circle Route to life.

The Pacific Marine Circle Route of Vancouver Island was published in July and is already on the B.C. Best Seller.

The photo-heavy book follows the 255-kilometre route from Sooke to Port Renfrew, Lake Cowichan, Duncan, Cowichan Bay and back to Sooke.

Co-authors Janis Morrison, of Sidney, and Dave Mann, of Victoria, became friends through photography, and began going on hikes together to shoot photos along the Circle Route.

One day while out hiking together, Morrison mentioned to Mann that it had always been a dream of hers to write a book, and he responded, “Let’s do it.”

The book was a three-year project in the making as the two friends travelled around the route countless times, photographing and mapping out points of interest.

“It’s getting a lot of people aware of what we have in that Circle Route,” said Mann. “We didn’t put a lot of physical stops like restaurants or anything because those things change, but the places that you go to out there don’t change all that much.”

They also veered off on to alternate routes to include places like the Avatar Grove old-growth forest, and the site of a Second World War plane crash.

“We also upgraded the book’s paper to a bit better quality so that people could just toss it in their backpack when they go on a hike and use it as a guide,” said Morrison.

The book is done in both a kilometre-by-kilometre and mile-by-mile format on what to see, and includes more than 240 photos and maps, as well as history facts, safety tips, and wildlife references.

“We shot things at different seasons as well because we also wanted people to know they could go hiking in areas year-round and how they might look different,” she said. “We also put the abilities in the book, so whether you’ll need a good vehicle for certain areas, or if you need to be a good hiker for a specific trail or not.”

She explained that a lot of people pass through here and go up to Tofino to see the beaches when they come to the Island, so they wanted to showcase all the beautiful options we have for sightseeing in this area.

The book is meant to be a guide, for both those who want to get out and do some hiking, or for those who just want to go for a Sunday drive as the route can be done in 3.5 hours.

“Lots of people also say they just like it as a coffee table book because they like the photography,” laughed Morrison.

Mann said the book has been receiving positive feedback from people saying they are excited to go and see the places mentioned.

“The greatest part about creating the book was living in the book,” said Mann.”We truly enjoyed getting out and going to every place we’ve gone in the book, and we realize there are still lots of places out there yet to explore.”

Morrison agreed, adding she believes the book will help with tourism in Sooke, and will help keep tourists coming to Victoria from just going straight up Island.

“Local people have told me they are picking a place from the book each week to go hiking, and many have said there are places in the book they’ve never been before,” she said. “We want to let people know there are so many beautiful places to get out and explore, and we really tried to pick up everything that we could along the route.”

The book costs $29.95 and can be purchased at The Barking Dog, The Prestige, Surely Delicious, book stores such as chapters, as well as online at Indigo.com.