30 December 2010

Cabin Fever

Winter has come quick and hard this year. We've had temps near 0 already when normally we don't see that until late January. The adjustment to the cold this year is coming along a little slower, but it's all good. Having the right gear when the temp drops is what it's all about....that and a little motivation. Motivation being the harder one to come by.

So, here it is, December 30th and I'm trying to plan a backpacking trip to consist of 3 or 4 days and somewhere around 40 miles. I can't stress enough having the right gear and preparation. Getting caught out in the cold without all the right stuff is not something I want to experience. At the same time traveling with just a pack one has to give up some luxury items. This isn't necessarily something one might want to do if they don't really enjoy hiking and camping. It is a bit more rough, but the reward from the sense of accomplishment alone is enough to make it all worthwhile.

I have been on a few couple day hikes, just not this time of year. It'll be a new experience and much needed might I add. Being couped up in the house all winter is enough to depress the most upbeat of people. That's what it's all about....getting out and staying alive. Life is way too short to let a little uncomfortability keep me down. So look forward to future posts about my preparation and a bit more detail as to gear and whatnot. And, of course, the actual trip.

Stay tuned.....and keep walkin'.

11 December 2010

Walkin' Yellowstone

As I was laid up on the couch sick these last few days I had nothing but time to think. I didn't have the energy to get to the computer to do any writing, but I sure did do a lot of thinking. I was watching a documentary on the wolves of Yellowstone and it got me to thinking about the trip I made out there a few years ago. I have to say it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. I haven't seen much mind you, but I can assure you that it is a sight to behold. Everywhere I looked was a picture perfect snapshot waiting to be taken. It was the first week of June and we had 6 days of nearly cloudless, blue skies with temps around 75 degrees. Couldn't have asked for anything better. It really was perfect in every way.

Yellowstone and it's neighbor Grand Teton National Park are an outdoorsman's/woman's paradise. Now, having grown up in suburban life never seeing anything like this I was absolutely amazed with the vastness of it all. This was my first time seeing snow capped mountains or anything even close to the scale of those mountains. I probably looked like a kid in a candy store, really. I must have stopped at almost every cut out they had for vehicles to pull over. There are two things you can definitely count on doing a lot of there at Yellowstone, walking and driving. Everything is so spread out and big that a lot of driving is the only way to really get around. It is definitely well worth it, I assure you.

So, on to the walkin'. That's what this is all about, right? We did as much hiking as we could considering we had our 4 year old son with us who, by the way, I was exceptionally proud of. We hiked up a mountain, which was probably just a big hill. He and my wife made it halfway up which was probably the equivalent of a 2 mile hike, or 4 miles both ways. Granted, I carried him on my shoulders for as long as I could, but I was proud of the boy none the less. There were a couple other people with us so we pressed on to the top. I couldn't tell you exactly how high up it was, but it was high enough that when we got near the top there was still snow on the ground. I was wearing shorts and there were spots where the snow was soft enough for a leg to go in knee high. I kept on carefully, however, and made it to the top in a few hours time. It was an awesome experience. The sense of accomplishment was great, and the silent peace at the top was deep. At one point I slipped on the snow/ice and landed on my tail bone.......ouch! I was sore for about a week. But it was all worth it, let me tell you. I envy anyone who gets to live out amongst the wilderness like this.

I would encourage anyone with the opportunity to venture off into the wilderness that is Yellowstone National Park to do so. You will not be disappointed. With todays plastic and steel fabricated world, natural wonders such as this are that much more special. It's one of those things that can really only be experienced for yourself. Yes the pictures are beautiful, but they've got nothing on the real thing.

Keep Walkin'

02 December 2010

The Bruce

i'm a firm believer that we're all born in our place and time for a reason. it happens to be so that i live in a city that is surrounded and dissected by the longest complete footpath in Canada, the Bruce Trail. the day i was born i lived in a house right on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment... as if hiking the trail was etched into my destiny.

the Bruce Trail is over 800km long, starting in Niagara Falls Ontario and ending in Tobermory, with over 200km of side trails through parks and nature reserves. it is here that i fell in love with the forest at a very young age. it was all too convenient that every house i moved to since was within walking distance of the trail.

when i was 8 my father built a log house out in a place which at that time and age, seemed like the middle of nowhere. nothing but trees, a trail and the highway. our bi-weekly visits were most usually spent doing something in the outdoors. i was introduced then to the Bruce, which just so happened to cross the end of our driveway where it came into town. fifty paces in, and the sound of the road disappeared in the background. soon your ears pick up the subtle sounds of the birds and the bugs and the breeze in the trees, broken up by the occasional babbling stream or raging river.

it was here that i learned the appreciation for the feeling of fresh mud beneath my feet, and the smell of the forest after an autumn rain,.. where my whole little world was blown wide open when i realized the ease and simplicity of traveling to the next town by foot. i wondered why we we don't have more paths and less roads. it seemed to me to be the preferred method of travel.

to this day it's still one of my favourite places.. and i hope to some day cover the trail from end to end in one solid go. but for now i'll savour all the tastes i can get, and you can expect more words and photographs from my journeys along it so far. every journey begins with but a single step, and a heartbeat

01 December 2010

My Favorite Time For Walkin'

I am naturally a winter person.  I love everything about it, especially walking in it.  There is nothing that makes me feel more like a kid, more quickly, than looking out the window in the morning to see the ground covered with freshly fallen snow.  To walk in it though, I love to walk in the snow at night.  I can close my eyes right now and picture it perfectly.  Large, heavy snowflakes falling before the backdrop of a dark sky.  I especially enjoy it when the ground is already fairly well covered so that all the surrounding noise is dampened between the snow falling and the snow already lying.  With the wind relatively calm and the air feeling slightly warmer, I could walk for miles.

And that is all I could think about this morning upon awakening to see the snow falling outside my bedroom window.  My thought on walking for the day.

30 November 2010

Free To Roam

Here is a blog I have had in mind for a long, long time. I hadn't put it together until now for reasons not altogether clear. Perhaps I was waiting for the perfect circumstances which I feel have now presented themselves. I needed help, and I have found that in me friend here, Sadie. I know of no other that loves walking as much as I. I think we both appreciate walking for what it is, and we both do it just for the sake of walking. It is a lost art, indeed. Hopefully, through this we can bring attention back to it and inspire others to do the same.

Walking is the most basic function of the human existence, and the most purposeful function in mine. For as long as I can remember I have been walking for the joy of it. Even as a kid I would walk rather than use other form of transportation and I have always had mindfulness behind each step. My favorite author/walker Henry David Thoreau said it best in stating "Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow." This ring true for me, and always has.

I have a dream of one day walking the United States from coast to coast. As of now it is not practical nor feasible as I have a wife and young children to support. Never the less, it is a dream I'll hang on to in the hopes that one day I'll be able to fulfill it. Perhaps circumstances will allow for it sooner than later, but I shall walk in the meantime and never skip a beat. And with that being said, I intend to share my travels and experience with you here and I welcome you to share yours with us. Walking is a true freedom, one of the only real freedoms we can know. It is priceless and can never really be owned, it stands alone.

29 November 2010

Why Walk? -the.Sage.Eye.View-

i walk because i can... it's just that simple. when i was born the doctors told my mother i wouldn't walk without leg and/or back braces and possibly surgery. she wouldn't have it... morally, or afford it. my pelvis is abnormally narrow, and my lower spine is slightly twisted. 'scoliosis' they call it.. i went through years of chiropractic treatments, three times a week to help align my spine while i grew. i can walk, and i must always walk to keep my strength. to keep my spirit..

they also told my mother i wouldn't see properly without corrective eye surgery... which i also never had. i champed it out through grueling hours and years as a kid, training my eye and strengthening the muscles.. wearing a pirate patch on my good eye to see how i see today. my '20/20' vision is compromised. i can't see through my left eye alone, and i have no depth perception.. but i can take a picture well enough. i sea, i see.

why walk?
i walk because i can..
i walk to get from point A, to point B.
i walk because it's free.
i walk because it's beneficial for my health, for my spirit.
i walk to get away, i walk to get home.
i walk to think, i walk to stop thinking..
i walk to talk, i walk to dream
i walk to see what i can sea.
i walk because walking was made for me.
why not?