Day 15, March 25, 2012. Hilton Falls Conservation Area to Speyside.
For weeks, months even, I’ve been itching to get back on the trail, and at long last, here we are! We’re starting a new section, the Toronto section, and we are heading north. Every hike will now take us farther from home, which will mean greater travel.
Clearly, we never managed the winter hikes we’d talked about. In the end, they just never worked out – which was unfortunate as the winter itself hardly materialized this year. Hiking conditions would have been ideal. But as they say, life’s complications intervened, so for us winter hiking will need to wait for another year.
Still, it’s only March, and it’s 3 months earlier than we started last year. As beginnings go, today feels very different than those first days last year when we initially started out. We’re veterans now. We’ve got most of the gear figured out, the snacks, the distances.
All the same, we are rusty after more than 4 months away and it shows before we even hit the trail. The logistics – they’re trickier than I once imagined. First I “kinda forgot” about saying I’d call before I left, so when Marian finally calls me on my cell (twice – first I wouldn’t answer because I was on the road and I didn’t recognize the number…) I’m almost at my destination and we’d lost about a half hour at the start. Then there’s the problem of where to meet – in my head I thought we would meet at the beginning of the day’s hike, drive together in one car to the end point, walk to the beginning, and then drive back to the other car. It works, but Marian’s plan was better – to meet at the end point, drive to the beginning, and walk in the direction of the trail maps. Then there are the cameras. Marian has camera problems – the advanced functions broke during her trip to Morocco – and I have a new camera I am still learning to use, so even that part, always an important one to us both, needs getting used to.
On the other hand, our feet know exactly what to do. It feels great to be back on the trail for a day’s hike. The day is warm and sunny, following a cold wet Saturday, and the signs of spring are everywhere. We see early wild flowers, buds on trees, green shoots of plants poking up through the marshes. And, like a gift to our out-of-practice bodies, the trail today stays mostly on top of the ridge and we have very few climbs or descents.
It’s a day of conversation. There’s so much to catch up on, not least of which is Marian’s trip to Morocco, the people she met, the places she saw. But we also catch up on all the people in each other’s lives. We’ve gotten to know each other’s stories intimately as we hiked together, and today we need to reconnect on them all.
We’re also full of dreams and plans. Together we speculate on how much of the trail we can complete this year. We talk about other hikes we want to do – Camino, Nepal.
We end the day with our requisite beer on the patio at the Halton Country Inn and golf course, with a toast to our first hike of the year. It’s been a great start, to what we hope will be a great year on the trail. magdalena