As a child, word of the Galloping Goose evoked magical pictures in my mind. Awkward aviary ambling ardently along with flightless wings flapping foolishly. (I worked on that sentence a bit.)
Truly though, I’d imagine it was named for a most ridiculous of sights, a goose literally galloping along, likely in sight of the trail builders, who would name it after completion. That the 55 km pedestrian path from downtown Victoria out past Sooke, is named for the train that once linked the south island, was utterly disappointing to me. Trains to me were not as interesting as animals behaving strangely.
Despite my childhood disenchantment, the fact that the path was once built and graded for train use, makes it the perfect bike path for long non-strenuous rides. The hills are so gradual that I usually don’t notice them until I turn around and find the return trip much faster.
I did the same 15 km out and back twice this weekend, and surprised myself with how thoroughly I enjoyed all three of the repetitions of the same ground. A two day weekend trip to cover the whole trail is in order in the very near future!
Many of the best lakes in the south island are accessible by the trail, which also borders a few ridges with incredible views, and the trees have been untouched for so long, that while I doubt they are old growth, they’re some of the biggest you’ll see around Victoria.
I think my first instincts were right, the Goose does evoke magical pictures. You can’t get much better than this for a fully self-propelled day trip while living in a city!