2016 – A Look Back to Look Forward

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Taking time for some retrospection I think is a good thing. We can bathe in our successes; review our challenges and failures. Many times in order to move forward, we need to look back and see where we’ve been.

I’ve taken some time over the past week or so, to reflect on the time we’ve spent outdoors hiking and such in 2016 – “the year that was.”

I remember reading or hearing a quote similar to this that “in the midst of a battle, its hard to know if you’re winning the war.” I had started to think that hiking last year was kind of like that.

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At times it didn’t seem like we accomplished much out on the trail. But, when I sat down and staring to compile a list of destinations and distances hiked and such – WOW(not too bad after all)!

Not sure you reflect on past years adventures – whether it’s just a review of distance covered; new places discovered; checking something off the bucket list; discovering something you’ve learned about yourself; or maybe a combination of those things plus others as well.

For me, it’s all of that, but more of “what have I learned about myself,” which is good and exceedingly scary at the same time.

Creating a Blog

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Never really considered myself a “blog person” even if such a phrase exists. I’ve certainly been entertained and gleaned a ton of useful information from those blogs read over the years.

Still, I’m not sure what possessed me to start one back in the early summer.

I guess it was a way for Lynn and I to share our experiences on the trail. We had such a great and eye-opening time in the Rockies in 2015, that I wanted to share that with others.

As well, there is something about being outside and specifically for us on a hike that I wanted others to experience as well.

In addition, it started to provide a forum for me to express other ideas or issues I had or things I had read that I felt others might want to take a look at as well.

Starting out, I figured it would be just Lynn, myself and perhaps our daughter(only if I paid her), as the sole people who would read it. I was shocked to see that we had visitors from all corners of the world, including Russia, Vietnam and Mexico. I didn’t even have to pay them to read it!

As we move forward through 2017, my goal is to be more active in posting from our site. I found in the past that creating a list of topics, trips we’ve done; things I want to write about always gives me someplace to start from.

Have a ton of destinations planned for 2017, so hopefully the “writing well” won’t run dry.

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Need to Be Deliberate

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We all at one time or another start out to accomplish something with good intentions. But, somehow; somewhere along the way, those good intentions get derailed. I love to plan and research. Lynn says I should develop a career in travel planning for people. When we went to the Rockies, more often than not she asked, “how did you find out about this?”

Throughout 2016, many of our hiking trips and adventures came around as result of my deliberate and focussed research and planning. Some of it was detailed and took a bit of time, while others may have nothing more than reading about a great hike or location and getting directions to it from Google Maps.

However, more often than not we found that my days-off would slip by, and we hadn’t gone anyplace. Why was that? I think it was due to not being deliberate and intentional in planning a hike.

Things would start with “let’s try to get out on Friday”, but Friday would come and go and – no hike. I understand that an outing can be planned, and then have something more pressing take its place. But, many times throughout 2016, I found that “good intentions” didn’t happened and that there was nothing that took its place.

Some people are spur of the moment types, while others are planners like me. Lynn is more of a spur of the moment person than I am. Neither type is right or wrong. But for me, having the “good intention” to hike someplace, more often results in not hiking at all.

In 2017, I think need to be deliberate in planning hiking trips and outings. For me leaving hikes to chance just doesn’t work to well.

We’ll see how it goes.

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Destinations

Throughout 2016, there are a number of places we hiked that stand out for us and each of them for a variety of reasons.

In no particular order:

Pretty River Valley Provincial Park

It was a warm spring day. You know, the type you cherish after a long and cold winter, awaited us at this gem south-west  of Collingwood. The smell of the forest awakening; the sound of water rushing along the Pretty River made for a great Sunday hike.

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It was one of those days that made you feel alive. A perfect spring outing.

Lions Head Provincial Nature Reserve

We made a trip up to Lions Head in June while on holidays. Any section of the Bruce Trail makes for great hike, but it was worth it to make the 3 hour trip(one-way!) to hike throughout this section of the Bruce.

It was the stunning views from the escarpment cliff faces that floored us the most. I think the following says it all.

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Metcalfe Rock

We made a trip to Metcalfe Rock/Kolapore Uplands part of the Bruce Trail back in the summer. I had read a fair bit about Metcalfe Rock, and was not disappointed once we arrived there. What a scrambling and rock climbing paradise. Scrambling up and down through the crevice and cave openings for us made a great day. Fun to meet rock climbers decked out with all their equipment and safety gear.

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Blue Mountains Club Section of the Bruce Trail

Throughout the summer, for some reason we returned 3 or 4 times to the this section of the Bruce. We’ve always found wherever you hike along the Bruce Trail, there will always be:

  • interesting and challenging terrain;
  • excellent things to see;
  • something totally unexpected

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The Blue Mountains Section didn’t disappoint – from steep valleys; unexpected waterfalls; excellents views – every hike was a joy. Even started the tradition of stopping at the Bulk Barn in Collingwood each time on the way home. We completed the section from the Pretty River Valley Provincial Park up through the top of Blue Mountain Resort and into the Beaver Valley Club section. Since we only have one car, and these hikes where linear and not a loop, we ended up covering twice the distance! Oh well!

Other great hikes included: scrambling across the rocks along the bottom of Inglis Falls in Owen Sound; Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Perserve;  as well as hikes and trips to most of the waterfall locations in Grey County.

Looking Forward

We have a few top picks for 2017 that I feel we need to cross off the list so to speak. So, randomly:

  • complete the southern portion of the Blue Mountain’s Club section of the Bruce Trail
  • explore and hike more of the Bruce Trail through Beaver Valley and the Bruce Peninsula
  • hike a section of the Coastal Hiking Trail in Pukaskwa National Park
  • get to as many National Parks as possible during Canada’s 150th birthday
  • hike the Mizzy Lake Trail in Algonquin Park – been lingering on the “bucket list” for a while – time to cross it off
  • personally complete a distance/speed hike of a portion of the Highland Backpacking Trail in Algonquin

Finally, our gem for the year is a trip to Prince Edward Island in June that our daughter gave us for Christmas. This came as a complete shock(return air fare; accommodation at “Dalvay By The Sea”(White Sands Hotel for you Anne of Green Gables/Road to Avonlea fans) and a car rental. So, the planning for this has started, checking trails to hike; places to see; things to do.

So, that’s our look back at 2016 and a look forward to 2017. Last year was quite a journey and that makes the anticipation for 2017 all the more exciting.

Thanks for following along with us.

 

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