During our last 2 day hike I had been fighting a cold; staving it off with massive amounts of vitamins and will power. I managed quite well and was able to enjoy the hikes both days – perhaps not to my full capacity- I didn’t have the energy to take nearly as many pictures as usual and I struggled to keep up with Magdalena physically. But I persevered and can honestly say I’m glad I did – it was a great mini vacation. We managed to complete another 37 kilometres of the trail, the weather was co-operative, we crossed a few streams (literally and figuratively) and we continued to be amazed at the beauty and grandeur of the escarpment.
Because we were hiking in my home territory, where my mom still lives, we were able to stay with her and my stepdad overnight- which is like staying at a 5 star B&B (my mom is the ultimate nurturer). And we had the added bonus of visiting with other family members well.
Growing up in this area, on the escarpment just south of Ridge Road between Grimsby and Beamsville, I never realized how close the Bruce trail was and how often my life intersected it, without my awareness. As we walked from Mountain Street in Grimsby, past Park Road, Thirty Road, Valentino Park (which no longer exists) to Victoria Avenue and Balls Falls, so many images, thoughts and feelings of my youth–some fondly remembered, some repressed for years- came bubbling to the surface. Images of “walking up the mountain” after school on many occasions when my dad was unable to pick us up; yes, I really did have to walk 2 kilometers home from school as a child and uphill too yet!!! Other memories of skipping school, hanging out, hitch hiking, parking (I was a rebellious teenager)… bombarded me as we hiked this stretch. Certainly those memories have impacted who I am today and it was a cathartic experience…remembering.
It was especially fun having my niece and nephew Rachel and Sam join us for 5 kilometres on our second day and share in our discoveries along the way. It was definitely a bonding experience and I hope they will join us again sometime.
Walking in Niagara, it is impossible to ignore all the wineries. After passing several because we didn’t want to walk the extra distance– we finally came to Staff Winery which was literally right there- we interpreted it as an auspicious moment and went in for a free wine tasting and a well- deserved break.
As always the last few kilometres of the hike are the most brutal and it is then that we ask ourselves; why are we doing this? This time we encountered some of the most difficult parts yet near Rockway Falls- there were a few sections that were downright scary, mostly because there was no foothold, so it was extremely challenging not to lose our traction and slide in the mud as we climbed up or down. But we survived and I like to think it as a metaphor on life in general. After all isn’t it those most challenging experiences that shape us into who we are?
After we finished our second day of hiking, while we were still celebrating at the Jordan House with our customary beer, my body finally gave itself permission to crash and succumb to the virus it had been fighting for the past few days. marian