Day 45 of my trek….

Hello everyone who is following this blog and wonder why I haven’t posted anything since the first few days.  I had issues with posting blogs back in Abbotsford and lost all my saved drafts when in Mission.

I created a new blog page via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/vidaakalife

You will be surprised how much I’ve experienced; it has been the most epic experience in my life.

Please take the time to visit the other blog page to stay updated 🙂

xo
Vida aka Life

The beginning of my trek – first day…

With only an hour and half sleep; went to bed at 2 am – woke at 3:30 am to catch the 5:15 am Tsawwassen ferry; I was very tired and hungover 🙂 me at the ferry terminal

Spending time with Victor meant more to me than sleep.  Victor and I spent the evening together laughing and playing our own version of music trivia. Which was exactly what we both needed to do after a day filled with numerous emotions.

The start of the trek – AMAZING.

The best part about waking up before the sun; is the sunrise.

sunrise - best

I do have to admit I was dreading my first trek off the ferry; to my surprise it was absolutely stunning.  Had the ocean on either side of me; birds and birds everywhere and not much traffic.  As I was walking along the highway and stopped in at the rest/area info stop.  In behind the map; to my surprise; was the home of hundreds of heron.  It was like Jurassic Park – I hung out there for at least 1/2 hour; because I was so in awe.

 

I continued on into Delta and the directions had me go down 56st and I followed the bike route to get to the Boundary Bay Dyke Trail (BBDT) which took me through residential areas and that is when I saw this massive Lilac bush.  Lilacs are my favourite flower.  WHY?  Lilacs last about 2 weeks and they smell so pleasant.  I picked one and smelled as I continued on.

lilacs

Getting closer to the trail head; I stopped in at the South Delta Rec Centre – went inside to get more water; wet my hat and splash my face.  It wasn’t even 10 am and it was already HOT.  Arrived at the trail about 11:30 am; and found a nice shady space on the sitting on the beach enjoying the viewbeach….and enjoyed lunch; read my book.

The BBDT is approx. 20 kms one way; having already walked 7 kms to get to the trail – I took my time and enjoyed the moments and the views; especially Mount Baker.

Due to the heat I searched out cool spaces to rest and I found this awesome space under a few trees and I decided to take a nap and rest for a few hours before I continued on to find a space to set up camp for the night.  The BBDT is very busy with cyclists & walkers and quite a few commuting on bike.  I highly recommend if you enjoy non-stressful cycling; this is the trail to do.  If you are from Vancouver Island – a great day trip.under a tree along the beach resting

Along the trail I noticed these road signs:

Goudy Road and Benson Road – both with Historic on them.  I’m still not quite sure why; I’m still trying to find out more info.  If you know please comment  🙂

 

Finding a place to set up camp was challenging as one side of the trail is ocean and the other side is ALR (farmland) – I did find a place; however I was visible to anyone walking the trail.  I even heard people walking by saying I thought you weren’t allowed to set up camp here….anyway I had a horrible restless sore sleep – mostly because I felt uncomfortable.

PEOPLE I MET

Got to chatting with a dad and his two young sons as they were curious about me and what I was doing.  Dad shared with me that he is really wanting to start hiking and being outdoors more and is encouraging his sons to join him; however his wife is not interested 😦  The sons asked me if I was scared of wildlife; and of course I responded “no, you have to know how to behave when you encounter wildlife plus wildlife don’t like humans”.  We went our separate ways and later in the day we crossed paths again and the dad gave me his water.  There is absolutely NO water source along the trail.  I had to ask a landscaper if he could fill my water bottle for me – I was very grateful for the dad to give me more water.

I also got to meet Matthew; I was resting and he approached me asking if I need a ride….we got to chattin and I shared what I was doing.  We must of chatted for about 45 mins.  Matthew has a place in Victoria; however works in Burnaby as a scientist and is currently working with a team to find a cure for Hep B.

Other than random passing’s and a very friendly farmer (who allowed me to trespass on his property to get to the trail head); it was a lot of hellos and smiles.  Most people kept to themselves.

Stay tuned for Day 2 🙂

xo
Vida aka Life

view of the landscape

A bit of a teaser view of the mountains along the BBDT

4 days walking along the railway tracks…

I know it has been quite some time since I last blogged; life got insanely busy.  I was busy training the new RAWkolates owner for 2 months; crazy filling customer orders as well as purging and selling my “stuff”,visiting family and friends and planning for my trek.

I made the decision mid-March that I wanted to test out all my gear before the actual trek; so I decided to take the opportunity to walk the railway tracks from North Nanaimo to South Victoria.  Last Thursday, April 7th was the start of the testing out my gear trek.

DAY 1 – The night before I made sure my pack was all loaded up and ready to go.  I woke at 5:30 am (actually I was so pumped I couldn’t sleep) and got ready to leave for 7 am.  Victor (who is not a morning person) woke early to make me breakfast and coffee and see me off.

It was SUNNY; however I underestimated how warm it would get; so by 9:30 am (9 kms in) I had to stop and take off a few layers of clothing and put a shirt on my head (silly me forgot to bring a hat; the shirt worked perfectly and I will just use a shirt on my head from now on)…because of the heat; I wasn’t feeling to great. I continued walking to an area I knew would be cooler; however I had to walk in the direct sun for another 5 kms along the highway.  I finally made it off the highway down into this raven that took me to the waterfalls (a hidden gem in the heart of Nanaimo – Upper Colliery Damn).  I stopped by the falls for a bit of a break to cool off, have a snooze and enjoy lunch – for about an hour.

I decided to continue walking the trail to the parkway trail as it was mid-day (12:30 pm) to stay cool so I didn’t over heat my first day.

I found my pack was getting very uncomfortable; having never worn a heavy pack before I had to figure out how to make it more comfortable as I will be living out of the pack for the next 3 days (and then for another 3-4 months).  I continued along the trail to the Parkway trail along the parkway trail to Chase River where I started the trek via the Railway Tracks.

About 2 kms along the tracks; I decided my pack was too heavy and I ditched my campstove and book in a maple tree and covered it with maple leaves (I did retrieve the gear I ditched yesterday at the same time got to hike one of the trails nearby that I wanted to check out while walking the tracks).

Walking the tracks does slow you down and it can be monotonous; the views (that cannot be seen unless you are on the tracks) the trails, the peacefulness, the moments of solitude make the monotony and slowness worth every moment.

I continued walking the tracks for another 10 kms (already walked 22 kms) to Nanaimo River where I could set up camp for the night.  I arrived at Nanaimo River at 6:30 pm; went down to the river and happily took off my boots and socks and cooled off my sore & hot feet and enjoyed the evening sun while  having dinner before I had to find a place to set up camp.

I set up camp (BTW never have done this before); I was feeling a bit anxious and wanted to be out of view just in case some partiers decided to come down.  That never happened; what did happen is just as I was settling in to sleep (8 pm) a fish hatchery employee approached my tent and said to me “you cannot camp here” my instant reply “seriously, I just walked 32 kms, I’m sore and tired and will leave by 6 am in the morning”.  He replied “if you promise me you will leave by 6 am; I will walk away.  The boss will be here by then and he will ream me out if he sees that you camped here”.  Me “oh I promise you and thank you so very much”.  That was it; the night was peaceful – even though I had a restless sleep – I was up at 5 am; packed up my gear in 20 mins (it was cold/damp so that motivated me to move fast) and continued on…..

 

DAY 2 – Woke at 5 am; packed up my gear in 20 mins and headed off towards Chemainus.  Goal – Chemainus River (28 kms) and another SUNNY day.

Before I got back onto the tracks; I sent Victor a video msg letting him know that I was safe and moving on.  Back on the tracks I went and decided to stop in at the local corner store/gas station to get a coffee (remember I ditched my camp stove so no heat source) and continued on.  What a amazing morning it was; peaceful and just after Timberland Rd. towards Ladysmith the section of the tracks was spectacular and so full of life from birds playing and singing to the frogs doing their thing.

Just before Ladysmtih (the residential area) the trash started to pile up; this really upsets me.  There was also an illegal dump section by the Nanaimo River as well.  I had to pretend it wasn’t there and just focus on the pretty – so as I was walking through the tunnel there was this spray painted along the side “HEAL THE WORLD” 🙂 .  I made it to Ladysmith and realized I dropped my charging cord for my phone and went into town to see if I could find one as well as pick up some dried fruit & nuts.  I stopped in at the Ladysmith Health Food store and the owner kindly shared with me that there is a computer store just up the road that may be able to help me. Sure enough the owner of the computer store Aaron Stone (also Mayor of Ladysmith) happened to have a spare cord and he took my phone to make sure the cord worked and he noticed the text msg from Victor and he said “Victor Mihic – I used to work with a Victor at Future Shop”; we laughed as I told him that was the same Victor and I was his wife of 18 years.  Really nice guy and he gave me the cord for free and I went on my way.

I walked down to Transfer Beach as I knew there was a public washroom/change room where I could get changed into shorts and wash up/brush teeth, etc.  I went down to the beach for a bit to take a break and enjoy the fresh ocean air.

Continued on to the tracks towards Chemainus – the first section is kind of blah…so I was in my head for a good few hours and that is when I began my internal deliberation about my journey across Canada and the short amount of time I have to do it…I decided to change my plans and just explore BC and take my time; venturing off and hiking trails to visiting local farms and markets and just enjoy the moments…that was very liberating for me to make this decision and from what I can tell my family is very relieved with my decision :).

I finally made it to Chemainus about 2:30/3 ish and as I got closer to town I ventured back onto the TCT (BTW starts at Cook St., Chemainus) and took a moment to reminisce as I grew up in Chemainus (actually born there )….going to school or visiting friends I would cross the tracks and I came to the section where I would cross the tracks and looked up the road and saw the Willow tree my mom planted when I was like 5 years old – stood there for a moment and this lady approached me and asked if I was lost and I shared with her that I grew up here and pointed out the willow tree as well as shared with her the area where the Fire Department is now; use to have these huge boulders and we would create forts and hang out there for hours and hours and the other side where the shopping plaza is was marsh land and lots of old maple and oak trees (sad to see them gone) and that my grandparents use in the white house at the corner, etc.  It was cool to share that memory with someone who was new to the area.

I continued on and decided to treat myself to a pizza and beer at the Sawmill Taphouse and Grill and having no idea a fellow market vendor was working there and we chatted for a bit and he shared some backpacking tips.  Hung out at the restaurant for about an hour and then back on the tracks/TCT towards the river.

Arrived at Chemainus River about 7 pm and set up camp under the trestle along the rivers edge – it was absolutely stunning and fish were jumping and ducks were floating and the birds were singing – it was a very nice safe place to camp for the night with the sound of the river and very faint traffic noise.

 

DAY 3 – slept in till 6:30 am had an awesome sleep; opened up the tent and there were two mallard ducks floating beside me; I wish I could’ve captured that moment to share with everyone; it was such a surreal moment I had to just enjoy it and I did.

Another beautiful sunny day.  I took my time packing up and setting off – I really wanted to enjoy more of the river and the sun coming up through the trees.  As I was packing up there was a bird on the other side of the river frolicking around in the water for about 15 mins; it was the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

I climbed up the hill back onto the tracks Duncan bound.  There were many favourite sections of the tracks I got to experience the best sections this day (Chemainus River to North Cowichan – absolutely stunning) just past Westholme there is this bird sanctuary – there had to have been well over a dozen varieties of birds – I took my time walking through this section and even had a whistle conversation with a red-winged black bird.


I continued on and came to the section that I’ve been envisioning myself walking for over a year now.  The main hwy on Vancouver Island crosses over many sections of the railway tracks and as you drive over you can see the tracks; however you never know where the tracks go too as the tracks are not in a straight line and curve throughout the island.  This particular section I would drive over every time I went to and came from the Duncan Farmers market on Saturdays.

IMG_8437

Continued on Duncan bound in hopes to make it to the market that is open 9 – 2 on Saturdays.  I arrived at the market about 12:15ish and pack and boots/socks off and I loitered around the market until 2 pm – eating fresh food and visiting with fellow vendor friends.

Two particular friends Stephanie & Robert invited me to come stay at their place in Cobble Hill that evening; I told them both I wouldn’t promise them I would make it; as I already walked 14.5 kms and their place was still another 20+ kms – I shared that if I did make it GREAT if not they know why and thank you for the offer.

I loaded up on some local beef jerky and some fresh pea shoot sprouts and continued on my way with a quick stop over at the Community Farm Store (south Duncan) where I picked up some apples/pears and a nice cold bottle of kombucha (ginger).  I walked a short section of the hwy back onto the tracks.

Now this section is my FAVOURITE section of the tracks and highly recommended section of the tracks to explore – I fell in love with this area and am looking forward to going back and sharing with Victor.


I was so grateful to come across the Koksilah River – it was so hot out I climbed down to the rivers edge boots/socks off and sat in the ice cold river and it felt AWESOME!!!!

This section of tracks was super easy to walk and I was able to pick up pace while still enjoying the fantastic scenery.

About 7 ish I finally made it to Cobble Hill – however my phone died and my solar panel/battery back up also died (which I’m returning as it is crap and going to get a battery powered battery back up to charge my electronics – phone, gps tracker and headlamp.)  Anyways this is where it gets interesting; realizing that there is only 15% charge left on my phone I decided to write down Stephanie and Roberts address and while I was getting the pen; the phone died within seconds.  All I remember is I need to get onto the 2nd Thain Rd. and their road name starts with an “I” and they live in a yellow barn – that is all I remember.  Not realizing that the 2nd Thain is still 5 kms away; it is past 7 pm and as I’m hustling (actually running w/40lb pack) along the tracks trying to make it before it gets dark I finally get to the 2nd Thain Rd. and start walking along the road looking for a side road that starts with an “I” well no there is no road off Thain that starts with an “I” and it is DARK out; so I put on my headlamp and start walking down some of the roads  – nothing.  I get to this one road Colman Rd. and continue down the road – this time I’m sore, hungry and tired and it is dark out I have no idea where I am so I have to make the decision to set up camp somewhere as I am about to turn around and get back onto the tracks I notice a trail entrance (Silvermine Trail) and decide to just walk in a bit and there was a perfect place to set up camp under big cedar trees and I did just that.  The night SUCKED!!!! it was the moment that I wanted to go home – because I pushed myself (36 kms that day and running along the tracks) my hips were so sore; so I couldn’t get comfy or even sleep plus I was so close to the road that all I could hear is cars going by until I think 1 – 2 am; and someone got a flat just alongside the trail entrance – 20 feet from me (thankfully it was dark so they couldn’t see me) I got to listen to them for 1/2 an hour fix the flat tire.  The night SUCKED!!!! all I could do was focus on the day cause the day was AMAZING.

I never did find Stephanie & Roberts place 😦

DAY 4 – I don’t even know if I slept; I was so tired and sore I just decided to pack up and leave about (I’m guessing) 5 am and continue on.  This was my last day and I was determined to make it to Victoria for 6 pm – I was DONE!!!!  It was a long and grueling day for me and yes I had a pity party a few times.  Not only was I sore; I stunk and I was cold (chilled to the bone cold).

I got back onto the tracks and continued south.  A few kms along the tracks I could hear water and sure enough there was this gorgeous creek with falls, etc so I climbed down loaded up on fresh water and cleaned up (brushed my teeth, washed my face and vagina) I never knew ( sorry this is gross) that a vagina could smell so bad and I was diligent about cleaning her like 3 or more times a day and she still stunk.  Victor calls it SVS (stinky vagina syndrome).  Anyways I learned later this normal for women to experience this when they are walking or running long distances – who knew.

Cleaning up and drinking fresh water helped my mood; until the pain in my back, traps and feet started.  It was a slow start – every km marker along the tracks I would literally flop back onto my pack and lay there for 10 mins – stretching, etc and then continue and repeat at every km.  I finally arrived at the Shawnigan Lake section of the tracks – bear country – beautiful BTW; long, very long – I kept pushing through – it was definitely a mental thing at this point and I was still determined to make it to Victoria for 6 pm, determined!!!

Kept on pushing myself and then I came across the Malahat section and I was like FINALLY home stretch; I kept repeating to myself “I CAN DO THIS, I CAN DO THIS”.

It had to have been about 3ish and I finally saw people.  Three young ladies walking the tracks; I just assumed they lived in the area, no they were exploring and had come from Goldstream.  I knew I was getting closer and just after the tunnel (BTW you must check out it is super cool – sorry no pics remember my phone died the night before 😦 )

HERE IS SOMEONE ELSES BLOG ( http://thekoalamom.com/2014/04/goldstream-train-tunnel-trestle-trail/)

Then there were more people and more people and then I came across the massive trestle (https://www.victoriatrails.com/trails/goldstream-railway-trestle/) there are actually two massive trestles you can cross.  Not recommended if you have a fear of heights.

I get past all the people and continue along the tracks and there was this young couple and I asked them if they knew where the tracks ended up and they replied Sooke, BC.  I was like no friggin way am I staying another night – Sooke, BC is along the West Coast of the Island so I turned around and headed down the Goldstream Trail to the Hwy along the Hwy to South Victoria – Shell station.  I arrived at the Shell at 6 pm on the nose (how cool was that) and called my bff Ingrid to come pick me up.  I was so sore and stiff that I had to lift my legs into her car.  We went back to her house and I plopped myself down ate some homemade hummus and chips and guzzled a glass of wine 🙂 LOL then had a shower and then CRASHED!!!!

LESSONS LEARNED
1.  Take my time and don’t rush the moments
2.  Keep my pack as light as possible (easier said than done)
3.  Stretch more
4.  Don’t rely on a solar charger
5.  Get a better sleeping mat

HIGHLIGHTS
1. Bird sanctuary
2. Fresh cold and clean spring water
3. Koksilah River section of the tracks
4. Wildflowers everywhere

SHARING
1.  Literally 2 blocks away from Stephanie & Roberts place
2. Book greyhound bus tickets online the night before – cheaper (like $10 cheaper)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

34 kms, railway tracks, 25lb pack…

What a perfect day yesterday was for a walk up island.  A month or so back we made plans to have dinner with family (Pat & Inger – aka my dad & mom who I adopted over 20 years ago) and my BFF and sister from a different mister, Ingrid’s parents and my son Carey’s grandparents….. you get the connection now 🙂

Pat & Inger live in French Creek – just north of Parksville.  I thought it would be a perfect walk for me and then Victor can meet me up there and we would all have dinner and that is exactly what happened.

The walk up; loved it.  Saturday night I stayed at Victors and the next morning he kindly got up at 7am to make me coffee & breakfast (BTW Victor doesn’t do mornings LOL) as I got ready.

The trek…
Victor lives just off Dover Rd., North Nanaimo and I left from there and headed down Dover Rd.; along Lantzville Road until I got to the highway, walked about 1/2 block down the highway (just before the walkway overpass) turned down a side road, trespassed on private property to get onto the railway tracks.  Continued down the railway tracks through Nanoose Bay along the tracks; ventured down a service road that ran parallel to the tracks and discovered a hidden forest trail that took me to the main highway just before the Parksville turn off and continued down Hwy 19a to French Creek.

The journey:

Sunday, February 21st Video Blog

Corrections:  I did walk 40+ km last week; I forgot to mention that I participated in the 10km walk in support of the Coldest Night of the Year Saturday night.

Starting the day off with my man (Victor) making me breakfast and seeing me off was such a treat.

On the walk down Lantzville Road I had a short visit with John Dunn, John is someone I got to know while a vendor at the Lantzville Market and he is a Lantzville resident.  John really likes my 75% Purely Dark RAWkolate bar and would come to the market to treat himself and hang out and visit.  Continued down Lantzville Rd. to the tracks and continued down the tracks.

Once on the tracks I started thinking about (like I always do) why aren’t the tracks pedestrian friendly (filled with gravel) – the railway tracks on Vancouver Island are rarely used and it would be so perfect to attract tourists to the area.  Walking the tracks you get to see so much more of the island that you cannot see via the highway.  Anyways I enjoyed every aspect of walking the tracks.  The ocean view; the numerous bald eagles (saw 8 in total along my walk) and one eagle 30-40 feet in front of me while having lunch for about 3 minutes circling the pond – that was AWESOME!!!.  A ram, yes a ram on the tracks and swans.  Old buildings and hidden trails.  I discovered a hidden gem.  While walking the tracks it began to rain; which made the tracks slippery and it slowed my speed down – I was feeling frustrated and not enjoying the moment as much until I discovered a service road that ran parallel to the tracks and I ventured onto the road; then I discovered this trail that took me down a ravine to a creek and back up the hillside that took me back to the highway.

The hidden trail – you can access the trail entrance via the Visitor Centre (south Parksville) by the Craig Heritage Museum.  I want to go back there and walk the trail back down the service road to the end; then up a hillside trail and see where that takes me.  The trail is an easy family walk.

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Once on the highway I continued towards French Creek – stopping in at Thrifty’s to pick up some feta cheese and blood oranges (citrus from Buck Brand only comes out this time of year and only available at Thrifty Foods and every week I pick up a new kind of citrus – yesterday was blood oranges).

I texted Victor to let him know where I was; he already new because he installed find my phone on my phone 🙂 and he said if he saw me on the walk he would stop and pick me up and he did pick me up at the French Creek Bridge – the distance to the bridge was 33.95 kms 🙂  I could’ve walked the remaining 2 kms; then it would of been another 20 mins before I got to Pat & Inger’s place for dinner 🙂

The evening was awesome; great food, great company and it was our first time – just the four of us – to have dinner together.  Ingrid was planning on joining us; however she was sick and had to get back to Victoria for work the next morning.

Next Sunday I’m planning on walking to Cedar, BC from my place to visit my mom (which is a whole other story) and I shared some of it on the video blog.

As for my body – other than some slight tenderness; I’m feeling really strong & could easily go for a hike today.  Today we are going to finish with one last coat of paint in the spare room; then head to Rona to pick up the door and who knows what else the day will bring.

16km hike through the forrest w/40lb pack

Peaceful hike through the Lantzville Woodlot and Foothills, located in Lantzville, BC north of Nanaimo, BC on Vancouver Island.

On my hike yesterday I decided I was going to video blog.  I’m finding it challenging sitting at the computer typing my blog; when I want to spend more time outside.

I’m going to spend some time researching video blogs; in the meantime yesterdays video blog is raw, unedited and ME 🙂

Sunday, February 14th Video Blog

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I do appreciate any feedback re: video blogging. In the meantime I will continue with raw footage of my adventures.

Today is date day with my MAN Victor and we are going to paint the spare room w/the tunes cranked and enjoy a few beer and then the evening chillin, laughing, loving and much more.

Next Sunday I will be walking to French Creek – north of Parksville with a 40lb pack.  This will be my first 30 km walk with a heavy pack.  Over the next 8 weeks I will be pushing myself more and more.  For now my body is recovering fast and will be planning on some 3 day adventures on the island before I leave in April 🙂  OMG just under 9 weeks before I leave – I’m crazy excited and fearful (good fearful) because I know it is 100% mindset and I know I can do this and when I get back; my mind is going to be so much more than it is today.

Lovin life and lovin me  🙂

xo
Vida aka Life

17.6 kms; 30+lb pack walking the inner city and the awesome personal connections…

Seriously proud of my body and extremely grateful for all the years of boxing, kickboxing, cycling, hiking & weight training – muscle has memory even after  you haven’t been hardcore for a few  years 🙂

After the 40+ km walk Sunday I was sore and when I stayed still for too long my body would stiffen. The following morning my hips were so sore that I was walking with a slight limp.  Asked for advice from my yogi and extreme athletic friends re: stretching for the hips.  Grateful for the many words of advice and I took most of it and applied and by mid day my hips were relaxing and I was good to go on a another hike (small local hike) and it felt great.  This is when I knew I could take on another (not as long) walk Tuesday and I did just that.

Tuesday, January 26th I started the day purging.  The original plan was to bring the pallets out and sort them; then take a picture and post to facebook for those that would like to come pick up; however it was cold, windy and raining so I decided to set up a table inside and bring all my tools inside and start sorting through those; still a work in progress 🙂  I also wanted to chill a bit and have some ME time before I began my next walk.

I’ve done many inner city 10+ km walks for quite some time now; this particular walk was awesome because of the encounters I had along this walk.

THE WALK

Where I currently reside it is super easy to plan awesome walks.  Instant access along the Nanaimo Parkway Trail or the E&N trail as well as many roads with scenery of the ocean, lakes, forests, mountains.

This day I planned my walk along the E&N Trail to Country Club Mall; then across to Departure Bay Rd. then along Hammond Bay Rd. to my final destination (Victor’s house) in North Nanaimo.

PERSONAL CONNECTIONS

The first part of the E&N trail I past a fellow cyclist Allen and we gave each other a side five :).  As I was walking up to Departure Bay Rd along Norwell Drive I saw this elder lady walking towards me and I stopped to let her by and noticed she was somewhat distraught; as we approached each other I said “hi how are you?” and her very quick response “I’m not good” got to chattin with her and she is having issues with the allopathic system.  Her reply to me was “I’m allergic to my doctor” so we got to chatting more and I shared that “I don’t have a doctor so I’m unable to assist with a referral however there is an awesome organization Nanaimo Citizens Advocacy Association that would be able to help out and be a voice for you.”  she was so grateful and I asked her “would you like a hug?” and her reply back “yes” and then she asked me if I could spare a twoonie for coffee and of course I gave her a twoonie and she was happier after we went are ways.  It doesn’t take much time to stop, listen, share empathy or support and go about your day.  After this particular encounter I had more of a bounce in my step 🙂

I continued down Departure Bay Rd. and everyone that I past by I said hi to; some responded back some didn’t.  I approached Hammond Bay Rd. and stopped and stared at the ocean below and then continued along Hammond Bay and there was a runner in his zone approaching me and I put out my hand for a side five & smile and he responded the same  🙂 I enjoyed the remainder of my walk along Hammond Bay and just past Neck Point I was crossing paths with a Japanese student and said “hi” he replied the same then came running back to me to offer me his day pass for the bus.  I was so happy at this gesture that I replied thank you so much; I’m good I would love for you to pay it forward to someone else.” He bowed and smiled thank you and I will 🙂

I continued on and about 2 blocks from Rutherford Rd. there was this elder man standing there perplexed.  Just before I approached him he was talking with two other females and those females continued on and I stopped to ask him if he was waiting for a bus. He replied “no I’m not I’m trying to get back to Rutherford Mall”.  I replied back “okay; you are close; you just past the main road a few blocks up would you like to walk with me up as I’m going that way” which btw I was not; however I had no issues changing my plans to accommodate this elder to help him feel more secure with the area.

This elder his name is Al; he just moved here from Ontario and he has visited (vacationed) Vancouver Island for many years.  Late last year he decided to move here.  He is an avid walker, as well played racquetball for many years until his knee failed him.  He still walks despite the pain in his knee.  He is 80 years young and is traveling back to Ontario to finish off a project (working project) he is also a writer (I’m like yes he can write; that is not my strength; I know I will run into him again and will share my contact info with him in hopes he can take my blogs and make a story from them)….BTW he hinted at this too.

He of course wanted to know more about me.  This part is awesome:

I shared with him that I’m training as part of my trek across Canada leaving April.  He replied “Really; I just met another woman who is also doing this; I met her a few weeks ago”  I stopped and thought really that is cool; how come I haven’t heard of her…turns out I was the woman he encountered a few weeks ago by Country Club Mall and we both laughed out loud and hugged and were like that is awesome.  We continued walking and he was so kind to say “if I’m slowing you down; please feel free to keep going”; my instant reply “um no you are not; this is awesome; this is what my journey is about interacting with people and sharing stories being kind  and finding the kindness in others”.

It hit me then that my journey is about finding the kindness of others and hearing their stories and sharing with the rest of the world.  I had no clue why I was doing this; I knew that it would come together for me and that I would figure it out along they way.  Having faith in a dream is really all it takes to seriously take the first step.  Even if you don’t know why; feel it, live it and then proceed from there – the answer to your “why” will come to you.

Be kind; because you cannot rewind 🙂

xo
Vida aka Life

40+ kms with 15lb pack along a highway

This past Sunday, January 24th I decided to plan my walk to my friend Carissa’s house in Solitaire, BC (between Ladysmith & Chemainus, BC) also part of the Trans Canada Trail runs through Solitaire.  Carissa was hosting a Cozy Crafters Sunday evening gathering for crazy talented beautiful women to come together and work on their craft project and just chill and talk about everything and anything while enjoying great food and drink.

This particular venture took a lot more planning (mostly mental).  According to google maps the route I calculated was 50kms; however it ended up being just over 40 kms.

The night before I loaded up my pack with everything I would need to prepare myself for the longest walk I’ve ever done in one day 🙂

PREPARATION:
I know that I can manage 5 km/hr; the plan is to leave at 7 am and I would arrive at Carissa’s between 6 – 7 pm allowing me time to have a hour break at the 1/2 way point and then a few smaller 15 min breaks in between.

Packed a lunch; made sure all the electronics (battery pack, iPhone, headphones and headlamp) were fully charged and the many layers of clothes laid out on the bed.

THE MORNING OF:

Set the alarm for 5:40 am and hit the snooze button twice until I finally rolled out of my warm bed at 6 am and right into the shower.  I ♥ showers 🙂 anyways….. I got myself ready and mentally psyched up to begin my walk at 7 am.  I wasn’t hungry; so decided to add some trail mix & a “buck brand” orange so I can snack on should I get hungry before I break for lunch.

THE WALK:

In my minds eye I figured it would be a quiet walk along the highway; everyone sleeping in and chilling; no it was 7 am and Sunday morning and to my surprise it was busy.  There was a lot of traffic; instead of listening to cars whiz by; I put on my headphones – listened to Sonia Choquette .  I first heard of her while watching the e-motion documentary via Food Matters TV and was so drawn to her and wanted to hear more about what she had to share.

I stayed in my zone and just focused on one step at a time while observing what was happening around me (some great & some awful observations).

Will share the awful observations first.  GARBAGE!!!! OMG there is so much friggin garbage along the highway and you can’t see it while driving because the concrete barriers hide it and I am the type of person that cannot unsee this stuff.  WHY?  it matters to me deeply.  As a society we waste so much – we waste food, we waste time, we waste water, we waste our consumption, we waste what matters.  I shared this on my facebook page and a friend and innovator, Buddy Boyd – founder and operator of Gibsons Recycling Depot in Gibsons, BC replied we are an AWAY society.  Sadly this is so true.

It took a lot of mental focus to recognize what was happening (the witnessing of the trash) and to stay focused and positive.

Sharing some of the amazing awesome observations – there is an eagles nest just off the highway by VIU. As I was walking along this section of highway I was blessed to see an eagle flying above me to its nest and feeding; I stopped to observe this and right away grounded me and put a “huge” smile on my face.

I continued down the Parkway (which BTW is the major highway that goes through Nanaimo, BC)  just before the end of the parkway (the parallel section to 10th street) I saw two red dresses hanging from two cedar trees and had to stop to check it out.

 

These dresses along with a picture were displayed in honour and remembrance of the missing and murdered aboriginal women across Canada last October and every October 4th.  Want to learn more please visit The REDress Project.

I continued along Hwy 19 south towards Ladysmith and crossed the Nanaimo River to break for lunch and rest for a hour at the rest stop. I’m grateful I had the battery charger to charge my phone as the battery was down to 27% and I still had 20+kms to go.  The charger charged my phone while I walked the remainder of the distance.  Still have yet to use the solar panel to find out how it will charge the battery pack.  I continued on towards Ladysmith and about the 30km mark I started to slow down.  I was experiencing slight pain in my calfs, hips, butt, knee and would stop and stretch a bit.  I still ventured on working through the pain.

As I was walking along the highway just before Coronation Square (the small shopping centre in south Ladysmith) I stopped to admire Holland Creek from the bridge and then reality slapped me in the face (almost literally) re: garbage.  Someone driving past at 90+km/hr plastic bags flew out of their truck and all over the highway and down into the creek.  I wanted to friggin SCREAM!!!!! I do remember shouting out “fuck what is wrong with people!”. I continued on and it took me about 10 mins to calm down from witnessing that.  Good news is I discovered another part of the Trans Canada Trail. When you turn down the old highway heading to Solitaire/Chemainus the trail starts along the road way and about 3 kms down you can venture off the main road (which is what I did) and walk the maintained trail along the railway tracks – this was perfect for my mental health as it grounded me as well as relieved some of the pain from walking on the uneven highway.

I did discover a Vancouver Island hidden gem; Stocking Creek Park.  I’ve driven past the sign for this park too many times to count and thought one day I will take the time to explore this park and I did just that and looking forward to going back as I only explored a section of this park.  The park is great for those who are new to Vancouver Island and want to learn about what is native in our forests (there are many signs along the trail that explain what this plant is or what that tree is).  The trail does connect to the Trans Canada Trail which I will be planning a day trip with my BFF/sister from another mister to bike this section and enjoy lunch in Chemainus then return back to where we parked 🙂

I made it to my friend Carissa’s place about 5:30 pm and was greeted with many many hugs & WTGs! 🙂  Spent a few hours talking, laughing, eating, drinking and working on the merino wool blanket I’m crocheting for Victor and want completed before April.  Another friend Nicole kindly drove myself and my pack home.  By this time I started to stiffen up.  My sleep was some what restless; however it was a rest day & date day Monday; so woke up did some stretches because my hip was still very tight.  After a few hours my hip relaxed and we ventured out and explored another local area in south Nanaimo.

The next day (Tuesday) I planned and accomplished a 17.6km inner city walk; will blog about that next…

My recorded time and distance on Sunday, January 4th:

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Follow your dreams.  Your dreams may inspire people; your dreams may not.  The question to ask yourself; is your dream inspiring YOU!

xo
Vida aka Life

 

 

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