Thursday, September 28, 2017

Walking and Pondering

Husband and I have been hiking along the Bruce Trail quite a bit lately. This trail is some 898 kilometer hiking trail which begins at Niagara Falls, and winds through cities and towns that nestle up against the Niagara Escarpment and ends way up in Tobermory, in the north. We camped in Tobermory once, way before children were born and I remember it seemed to take forever to get there - and I bought a tiny pot from a shop in the town, only big enough to hold a dozen q-tips.

The area we are hiking is very close to our house. We can walk there within 20 minutes, and be engulfed in forest and a waterfall which has carved out a valley 37 metres deep, caused by glacial waters 450 million years ago. The exposed layers are beautifully coloured, and you feel - especially at the bottom looking up - so small, so unimportant. So Temporary.

It gives me hope that the Earth might survive us.

We are on vacation this week, and the heat wave broke through the night, which had Husband scrambling for the duvet. Later today we will be driving to the area along the trail that we stopped at on Monday, and continue on - in search of another waterfall. I hope to hike at least 6 kilometers in, and out to total 12. Husband ended up with a blister on Monday, probably because of the heat.

Tuesday had me out walking to the lake for a 16 kilometer walk - in 34c heat - but I was impressed with my boots - no problem with the feet at all. I am double layering with a merino liner and good merino hiking sock. My feet feel fantastic, and I am happy with my Azure Botos - Blue Boots - and feel it was probably a good call for the hiking boots instead of cross trainers. More buffer from the trail/road and more support for my 55 year old feet.

I also am feeling changes in my body, as muscles are awakening and tightening.

I subscribed to a Camino message board, and yesterday there was a post about a 60 year old man who had a heart attack on the Portuguese Camino. Our bodies are fragile things. Mortal. We think we are prepared, but we never know.

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Worthy Walk

This trip - it is a selfish act - something I have never allowed myself. To take that much money - and take that much time - and go to Portugal, alone - to simply walk - for days and days - that is monumental. It is a worthy act - and I am worthy.

Drinking kept my dreams reigned in tight. The plan - to take this Caminha [Portuguese for walk] is to acknowledge the past I have been holding in. The loss of my parents - I need time to finally mourn them. I didn't have time in 1995 to lament - to tear at my hair - to rip my clothes and give in to grief. I had 3 young children, and it was all pushed deeply down somewhere deep in my guts.

There is also the cancer that I somehow dodged - the death that certainly I would have faced before now had my physical cues not been noted - not been addressed. I have bought myself 6 more years, and I will never become complacent about that. Every day is a gift - every year a celebration. Every year is one I grasped back from death, though, and I don't have a fantasy vision of old age.

I have noticed in myself a fixation of life and death - my own mortality - and I need to walk on this as well - to ponder my existence.

For 3 weeks I will be my myself. What a thought that is - I will shed myself - layer by layer until I unearth myself.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Sober Pilgrim

First off - I am sober one year today. A life-altering year it has been. The direction of this blog is changing - again - and will follow my preparation and meanderings as I plan for A Great Adventure.

Next April. I will be walking a Camino - and I plan on walking the Portuguese Camino, from Porto to Santiago, and if all works out, will continue to Finnistere to the End of the Earth.

What made me decide to do this?

I have a lifetime love of walking and have used it to escape my house when I was a child, often walking the shores of the Humber River or taking refuge at the library. When I was 13 I walked 28 miles for a charity event in Toronto called Miles for Millions. It was my first experience with communal walking - the long line of walkers carrying transistor radios all tuned to the same station. I felt part of something bigger than myself, heady stuff for 13.

At age 16, National Geographic had an article about a young woman who walked across the Australian Outback with some camels and her dog. That captured my yearning for both travel and exploration - by foot.

In 2015 I had a year of paths, where I walked and hiked many trails. I brought Husband along, he is a good walker but we don't pace the same and he becomes achy due to a metal rod & screws and bits in his right leg from a bad break a few years ago. That year I walked too far in Montreal and hurt my feet wearing footwear without enough proper support and that was a harsh lesson. It took months to heal, and my feet have never returned to a pre-Montreal condition.

Now to talk about age.

My most-fit sister Kathy is suffering arthritis - she is 65 and she has taken wicked good care of herself - forever. But arthritis is getting her. My sister Marilyn - the only one of us not to have battled cancer - has a debilitating lung disease - and is on 100% oxygen. Her world has shrunk to the size of her quite dingy apartment. She is 65. Janice is 72 and a total mess of sciatic and back issues.

I feel an urgency that my time to walk a Camino is now. I will be making this journey alone and I am both excited and terrified.

Today I am off for a training walk of 10km. That is to the lake and back, and I will build up to the 25km days I will be walking in April.