As we have been alluding to in previous blogs, our first hiking day was not without mishap. But it was all taken in stride and proved to be another of life’s lessons in being flexible.
We didn’t want to overdo it or push ourselves too much on our first day of hiking so we decided to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and hike for about 6 hours. We figured 20 kilometers was a reasonable distance to do in 6 hours, with time to spare to take lots of pictures and breaks. It should be no problem- both of us were capable of walking 5 km/hour easily, so giving ourselves an extra 2 hours would compensate for the rougher terrain and many breaks we anticipated we would need to take pictures.
Our goal was to take our time, enjoy the scenery and not feel rushed or pressured to do too much.
Dana dropped us off at the Richardson Road trail head (marker 87.7) at 10am and agreed to pick us up at 4pm at the Cape Chin North road trail head (marker 106.1). The weather was perfect for hiking and we started the day off eagerly, in our new hiking boots, our packs filled with hearty lunches, snacks and enough water to get us through the day.
The scenery was breath-taking, but the trail was challenging and rocky so you had to watch where you were stepping at all times. Of course for me this was tough because I didn’t want to miss the big picture, by constantly looking at the ground. I loved the panoramic views, the fields of forget-me-nots and trilliums, the rocky outcrops, vistas and peaks of the water through the trees.
And so not far into the trail I had my first slip, nothing serious, just a slight twist of my right ankle to avoid falling on a tree root that I didn’t see. After the initial shot of pain, it didn’t hurt and I was fine until about 4 hours later when the trail lead us along the beach and we were walking on medium sized round pebbles and boulders. I realized then that buying the stylish low cut boots had been the wrong choice. Magdalena’s ankles were fine, snugly protected in her high-top boots, while my ankles were getting more than a good work- out. In fact my right ankle was beginning to scream “stop” with each step. We made it to the Cape Chin connector side trail head at marker 98.7and decided to take a break and assess the situation. Resting was probably a big mistake, as my ankle really began to object to the idea of walking any further. Plus it was already close to 3 pm and we realized we would never be able to walk another 9 kilometers by 4pm even if my ankle wasn’t hurting. We decided to call Dana to pick us up here instead. But to our surprise we had no cell phone reception. Now what? There were 2 vehicles parked here, so we figured sooner or later one of the occupants would show up and we could ask for a ride to where Dana would be waiting for us. We had met the occupants of the one vehicle earlier, (the first people we had seen all day on the trail) an elderly couple with a dog who looked like they were not going out for too long, so we decided to wait.
We waited … and waited… finally Magdalena decided to walk up the road a ways to see if she could find anyone else to help us. There were several cottages along the road but no one home, except an elderly man who let her use his land line- but unfortunately Dana’s cell was not getting any reception either. She asked him if he would be willing to drive us for a cost but he declined. So she returned and we waited some more …
Finally a father and son arrived at one of the vehicles and agreed to take us to where Dana was waiting. It was well after 4pm when we finally arrived at the meeting place. We arrived in a vehicle, not walking as we had planned. My ankle was throbbing and all I could think about was how disappointing it would be for Magdalena and myself if I was not able to walk tomorrow. Back at the cottage, Dana iced my ankle and I soaked it in a warm Epsom salts bath and then I slept with it raised all night.
The next morning Dana taped it up and it was fine. We walked another 10+ kilometers without any pain or incident and made it well within 4 hours… marian