Monthly Archives: August 2014

This is it – it is the End

It’s our final day. In the morning the power is out, the wind is blowing hard and the sky is clouded over. And still I think to myself, this is good. A perfect day for hiking. We have less than 8 km left to hike, an easy walk by all accounts. I am filled with excitement.

IMG_6245By ten a.m. we are on the trail, dollar-store pinwheels planted in our knapsacks to catch the wind with a celebratory flourish and mark our final stretch. I feel like I want there to be a parade. Maybe, I think, we could blow our whistles as we walk the last kilometer. Not that I suggest it – I’m not sure it’s Marian’s style.

Behind us a group of three male hikers with full-sized packs is striding purposefully in our direction, quickly gaining on us. These are hikers in a hurry, and we let them pass. Today of all IMG_3276days our purpose is not to finish fast, but to savour. For one more day we will breathe in the smells of the forest, feel the soft carpeted trail beneath the pine trees, appreciate every mushroom and inspect every lookout. For three years we have been on this journey, a journey that so often felt like it would never end, but also a journey that taught us that progress is made step by step, slowly. As we approach the end and look back we see that we have walked far – clear across the province, almost 900 km.

IMG_6269When we reach the Visitor Centre, milling with people, and then walk on into town to reach the cairn, by now almost hidden from view by a row of parked cars, it strikes me how anti-climactic it all feels. There is no one to greet us at the end, no one to shake our hand or give us a certificate. Definitely no parade. It makes me glad that we thought to bring the pinwheels, and that we have a bottle of bubbly in the cooler in the car. We need to make our own celebration.

IMG_6272The saving grace, it turns out, is social media. As we toast our achievement on the bench beside the cairn, we post our photos on Facebook and immediately the messages of congratulations begin to pour in.

Maybe it is a parade after all. magdalena

Farewell to the Bruce: our next to last days

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I don’t know where to start on this blog post. It is supposed to mark the finish. Somehow it was easier to mark the start of this adventure, the first step, the anticipation, the excitement. Since then, as we have mused more than once in this blog, we have been travelling through a very long middle, day after day and walk after walk of slowly progressing through the many, many kilometers and through all the different club sections.

And yet, suddenly, it does happen. We are on the home stretch. A journey of 57 days, of 885 km, and we find ourselves in our final moments. It feels like our farewell tour, setting out. These are the days we will say good-bye.

By coincidence more than by design, we start the last three days at the very place where we left off on our first day of hiking way back in June 2011, the point where we cut short our hike because Marian twisted her ankle. And so it is that we begin our final leg by completing a section we had set out to do on our very first day so long ago. Even more déjà vu , at the end of Saturday’s hike we once again run into the problem of having no cell phone reception. We are coming full circle.

But any problems on this last trip turn out to be minor. The cell phone problem is  solved by walking two more km down the road until we find a signal, right by some roadside garbage bins.  On the trail a rattlesnake scared the s— out of me as it darted across the trail just in front of my pole, its rattle loud and alarming, but then it hid behind a rock and allowed us to pass.  Even the weather cooperated, giving us cooler temperatures and occasional breezes to chase away the mosquitoes, the rain holding off until evening.

Yes, after this weekend, these will all be memories. There will be no more planning ahead for the next trip, no more charting the remaining hikes, no more arranging of B&B’s or driving down remote country roads looking for our trail access. The feeling is bitter-sweet. Magdalena