Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ominous Hike on the Elgin Trail

Elgin Trail - Southdale Line to JohnWise Road. 2.69 km.

Blair-witch type woods, and after watching True Detective, I was spooked. Downed trees were all along the trail, making navigation difficult for my dog Charlie. The trail blazes were poorly marked and nearby shot gun blasts shook my nerves. "Should be wearing orange", I thought.

Solo-hiking. I love it, but I get nervous. Especially on new trails. Perhaps it's like anything else, the more you do it, the more comfortable it becomes. When I hike alone, my mind drifts and frets, filling itself with thoughts of rapists or murderers. Or over-eager hunters who don't site properly. Up north, I worry about bears, and snakes, and mountain lions. I find the woods have a way of surrounding you, making you feel alone and vulnerable, even if you're only 500 metres away from a farm house, or a road. I wonder if those raised in the true country feel this way about the city?

Bill Bryson had this to say: "What on earth would I do if four bears came into my camp? Why, I would die of course. Literally shit myself lifeless". Exactly. Bears, ruthless humans, etc. Perhaps that's why I hike though - to face my fears, overcome, gain courage.

Ominous trees, lots of dead wood.

Ominous skies above a cornfield.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Behind Frozen Waterfalls – St. Catharines, Ontario

I have good memories of Decew Falls. My husband and I took some of our wedding photos there and they turned out beautifully. That was in the fall, some years back, but this time I saw Decew Falls in the winter and it was magnificent. This winter’s been the coldest winter of my lifetime and while that has generally been unpleasant, it did lead to totally frozen over waterfalls. It also led to me and hiking group being able to hike behind Decew Falls where the cave-like lighting and vibrant blue colours led to some interesting shots. I love nature!
edit.1Terrace Falls
edit.2Smaller (First Set) Decew Falls
edit.3 First Glimpse – Decew Falls
edit.5Hiking Companions near the falls
edit.6A wall of icicles
edit.8After climbing through a narrow passageway – the first sight behind the falls

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Solo Hike

blog.edit.1Centennial Ridges Trail, Algonquin Provincial Park
Yesterday I downloaded Cheryl Strayed’s, “Wild”, onto my Kindle. I’ve been wanting to read this book for awhile, wondering what it was like for a woman to walk the Pacific Coast Trail alone.
In 2011, I did my first solo hike. It was small – just a day hike in Algonquin Provincial Park, as pictured above. No big deal for some, but a big deal for me - From that point on, when I haven’t been able to find a companion, I’ve been hiking alone.
But, I still fear. Every time I’m alone I think, “Will it be this time? Will what they warn me of come true?” Then, I feel guilty. Guilty for putting myself at “unnecessary risk”. Then I feel angry. Angry that, although male and female hikers both need to worry about the risk of injury while alone, it is women who primarily have to worry about safety from men and who are discouraged to go anywhere or do anything alone. This is true, I believe, even when the risk is small and can largely be mitigated through preparation.
This is why I love this quote from Cheryl Strayed, “Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”
How much of our fear is reasonable? If it is, prepare and mitigate the risk. But, how much of our fear is a story that society has thrust upon us? A story, that especially for women, is oppressive? If this is the case, perhaps Cheryl’s strategy could allow us to fear less and live more.