“I love to go a-wandering……”
Hiking is one of my favourite activities. These days that just means walking on trails but I did some major hiking when I was young.
When I met my husband he was hitch-hiking through Southern Ontario on his way to Michigan from Maine. He had been hiking on the Appalachian Trail and was hitch-hiking home to Wisconsin but stopping in to see his sister in Michigan. Going through Southern Ontario, Niagara Falls to Windsor, is a much shorter route than going around.
Yes, I met my husband picking him up hitch-hiking. In my defense, I was young and he was wearing shorts, a head band and hiking boots carrying a huge back pack. I hit the brakes of my Volkswagon Camper hard and he came a-runnin’. The rest is history.
Hiking on the Applachian Trail had been a life altering change for him. He wanted to out west to hike in the Rockies. I had a camper and now I was in love. We were doomed to each other.
I was outfitted with boots, a backpack and accecories and off we went. It was a rough start. The back pack was cheap and didn’t have a waistband. The weight of the back pack on my shoulders made my arms go to sleep. I had never been an outdoor person before so I was not nearly in good a shape as he was. I would lag behind: he’d call from 50 feet ahead, “Are you OK?” I’d smile and wave, “Yeah!” then when he turned I’d cry.
But I loved being out in the wilderness, being so far from anyone. To run into another hiker was an event. We spent six weeks hiking Banff, Yoho, and other parks, staying in campgrounds in my camper. We would lock up the van and go onto a trail for days at a time then return to our little home at the campground. The rangers would know where we were and keep an eye on our van. On rainy days we would play Scrabble and card games.
That was a life altering time for me. Later I bought a good back pack with a thick padded waist band…… what a difference! I was now an avid hiker.
We married 8 months after meeting but mostly because we had such a problem crossing border as he was American and I was Canadian. Because we were together, which ever country we entered thought the other was coming in to work illegally. Getting married solved that problem and he wanted to live in Canada.
For our honeymoon we hiked on the Bruce Trail from Tobermory to Dyer’s Bay. Ahh….. those were the days. We returned to the Bruce Trail many, many times. In the fall we would pick out day-hikes from our trail guide. I would say hiking were our happiest times: it’s the thing I miss the most.
I even want him to come here and check out the new trail right out my door. The woods behind my house was a maze of dirt bike trails when I moved in. I had gotten turned around and lost twice so I stopped going in by myself. A couple of years ago the local trail group started marking out trails and making walk-ways over wet areas. Dirt bikes are no longer allowed. It is beautiful and well marked so I feel good on my own. There is a proposed trail that will take it right through to the beach, I hope they work on it this year.
Now that the hot weather and mosquitoes have subsided I can go walk on it again. Last week I went out and broke hundreds of spider webs as no one had been in for days. I get a special kind of high when I’m in the woods………I think I’m going to break into song……