The rocks beside the old art deco observatory on Gonzales Hill at the edge of Oak Bay has become one of my favorite spots to stop while cycling. It’s a grinding, heartbreaking, but mercifully short, climb to the top, there’s rarely anyone there (at least this time of year…) and it provides a spectacular view of the area…Quaint nearby coves, the beaches leading along Dallas road to Beacon Hill and James Bay, downtown Victoria, and, of course, the ever present majesty of the Olympic Mountains across the strait.
The observatory is now closed, but was used as a weather station for years. The hill just happens to be a high spot near the southernmost point of the Saanich Peninsula, and there are shifting east and west winds coming down both straits. It was, in fact, the site of a few University of Victoria meteorological experiments, and is a place with notoriously good air quality and flow.
Today I went up the hill as the late afternoon sun battled with a few low western clouds seeping into the Juan de Fuca. Every time I go up there the light and clouds paint a wonderfully unique tapestry.
Needless to say, it’s a good spot to just sit, meditate a little, and breathe.