In addition to buying (on sale wherever possible) all the paraphernalia for my Camino, I have been in training. I know I have posted the trails and kilometres I have walked and described their varied terrain. I keep hoping for a sampling of what I might expect from the paths in Spain. Well, today was payday!
Today, I walked the David Balfour loop and it had everything I was looking for in a walk (hike)!! It's like a slice of the Bruce Trail, except it's in Toronto and I could walk to it from my house. I didn't have to drive an hour or more out of the city, park, hike and drive an hour or more back. I just had to open my front door, walk 2kms to Mt Pleasant cemetery (West side), find the entrance to the trail - tricky, but I used to bike the area a lot, so I had an educated guess of where it might be. I know I should write mystery novels - Ms. Marple comes to mind.
In the section, where I thought I might find the entrance to the park, I saw a women walking her dog. I followed her. She disappeared through a chain link fence into a dark and foreboding descent.
Eureka! It was the entrance to the park!! Suddenly, the murky way opened to a forested Eden. Here was a woodland anchored by a creek and banked by steep, densely treed hills. In fact there were actually two paths - a wide easy tract similar to mud creek and a narrow roller coaster of a walk rising up from the embankment. It was mangled by tree roots, laced with precipitous drops and blocked, at times, by large, awkward tree trunks. This is what I needed to add a challenge to my rather tame 10kms walks.
At every fork on the trail I found a kind person to tell me which path to take. I made only two wrong turns. One was an easy back track. It was steps out of the park. The other was, on the return leg (no pun intended); I had somehow lost the trail and ended up on the muddy shore of the creek. Stepping stones helped, but my hiking pole was a life saver!!
At the end of my walk there was a bench. How did they know! While I was catching my breath a troop of about 50 hikers, with a guide passed me on their (no doubt paid for) trek into the woods. They were all ages and, I'm guessing, all abilities. I loved the fact that they were out exercising. But I was so happy that I could do it on my own.