It’s All A Matter Of Perspective

Sometimes achieving a goal doesn’t deliver the warm and fuzzy feeling of a job well done. That was the case with our recent completion of the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail in south-central Ontario.

Earlier this year, I included the Oak Ridges Moraine Trail on my 52 New Things list, but as we were about to finally finish hiking the entire trail end-to-end, I seriously questioned whether it deserved to be on the list.

Oak Ridge 7

A mini Stop sign for snowmobilers with the grass almost as tall as the sign. These little Stop signs never ceased to amuse me.

It could hardly be considered an accomplishment when this 280 km trek took us 18 months to complete … compared with 10 months to finish the 890 km Bruce Trail.

Oak Ridge 4

How could I consider it an accomplishment when Helen had to drag me whining and complaining through the bulk of it?

Helen is hard-core.  Once you start something, it must be finished.  Enjoying it is optional … and I chose not to.  It was an uninspiring, poorly marked trail that often had us confused and occasionally lost.

… but as I reflected on all the things I disliked about this trail, I began to realize we had also experienced many firsts.

Besides the obvious things like exercise, fresh air, and the camaraderie of a good friend, one of the key attractions to hiking has been the discovery of small communities and country roads that we would normally have no reason to see.

We passed through numerous little villages I had no idea existed … like Bewdley.  I just love that name … and it was a lovely little town!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We found things that made us laugh and others things that deeply disturbed us …. like the discovery of what appeared to be a ‘killing zone’ likely from a coyote.  The multiple bones scattered around felt rather creepy.

During the winter, snowshoes were occasionally required as we had to break trail where it was rarely travelled.

Oak Ridge 2

Snowshoes or not, I was thankful the trail didn’t pass this way.

In fact it seemed that even in summer months, many sections of the trail were rarely used. Breaking trail through waist-high tall grass is really unpleasant as I imagine all the creepy-crawlies I can’t see.

Oak Ridge 5

Inspite of finding numerous deer tracks, we had only one sighting … on our last day of hiking and it was a small fawn.  Surprisingly, his mom seemed nowhere in sight.

We did however get followed by a pig.  She followed us until we reached her home further down the road.  I’ve heard of free-range chickens, but this was a new one for us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Helen with her new hiking companion.  I suspect Ms Pig didn’t complain nearly as much as I did.

We also found fresh bear tracks.  Even more disturbing were the smaller cub tracks which suggested that momma-bear was going to be a bit grouchy if we stumbled upon them. After that discovery I was on high alert for several kilometers.  A close encounter with a bear was not on my agenda.

I once got my car stuck in deep snow and we needed to flag down a motorist to help push us out … nothing short of a minor miracle on a quiet road.

Oak Ridge 6

We made a good decision the day we decided not to take this road.

Yes, there were many firsts on this adventure, but having said all that, this is one experience I think looks better in the rear-view mirror.

Oak Ridge 12

Helen and I on a cold winter day early in our trek.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in 52 New Things, Active Lifestyle, Adventure, Nature, Outdoor Stuff and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to It’s All A Matter Of Perspective

  1. LB says:

    Here I am, a couple weeks after you posted, to congratulate you on finishing and to let you know that the stories you mentioned are exactly why I like to take a solo bike trip each year. The small towns, the interesting people, and the confusing roads (trails).
    No pigs though!
    Great job / fun post!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      LOL! Thanks Laurie. Sometimes we just need to keep our eyes open and the fun will come to us 🙂
      Hope you discover lots of interesting things on your next bike trip 🙂

      Like

  2. Alex Hurst says:

    I’m sorry the accomplishment feeling didn’t pan out, but I totally understand you!! I finally finished the design work I was having trouble with, and was disappointed when the expected ‘elation’ didn’t follow. I guess my brain thought I was done with pats on the back and had to be content with just crossing something else off the list. 😛

    Like

  3. Phil Taylor says:

    I think any journey is a good one because you always finish knowing a little more than you did when you started. Love the pig picture!

    Like

  4. Ah, you have one of those friends. Don’t you just love them and hate them in equal measure? I am a whinger also but once I get to the finish I turn into the bouncing Energizer Bunny. It must irritate the heck out of people. 😀

    Well done on the achievement. All the more so because it was challenging in an unenjoyable way. Those are the toughest ones to beat.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Whining sometimes just feels so therapeutic 😉 I do know it can be really annoying for everyone else, so I try to use my inside voice as much as possible.
      I’ve discovered that when you do something you really don’t want to do, the satisfaction at the end is amplified 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. MM puts on cheerleader gear and jumps around kitchen with pompoms flailing… well done! Kudos to you for keeping at it – motivation is what makes something enjoyable, so it must have been hard. Love the stop sign in the grass 😀

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks MM! A cheerleading squad makes everything so much better 🙂
      … in fact, I’m wondering how much more we would all accomplish if we had a cheerleader on the sidelines making us feel invincible 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Joanne I say good for you! I am impressed. I have to tell you, if I wasn’t really enjoying it I would have given up the ship… um, the hike. I love that you and your friend had a pig for a traveling companion for a short time. I imagine all your discoveries were pretty interesting and this hike I am sure has made for some great laughs and thoughtful recollections.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      You are right on all counts 🙂
      I found writing this post was very therapeutic. In hindsight, I actually do have many great memories … of which that silly pig is definitely one of them!

      Like

  7. I love you’re honesty Joanne. Even though you didn’t find it to be as wonderful as you’d imagined you still pushed on to finish all with the company of a good friend, that is something to treasure. And I do love your rear-view mirror quote.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Annie. As with most things we dread, this one doesn’t seem so bad anymore now that’s it’s done.
      Writing this post helped me reflect on some of the other aspects of this adventure.
      So what if there weren’t spectacular views and exciting terrain … I discovered that sometimes we have to dig a little deeper to find the jewels 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Heyjude says:

    Impressive Jo. I’m totally speechless at what you went through on this trail, in sun and rain and snow! You deserve an enormous pat on the back 😀 😀

    Like

  9. Wow, Joanne, you really never stop, do you? I can’t believe you’d take 18 months to finish a task you didn’t even like. You say you deserve no credit, but you did surround yourself with Helen who is there to spur you on and keep you honest! So credit for that at least! Creepy-crawlies, pigs, bears, mud, I would’ve picked up Helen right off the ground and taken her out for a big lunch at the first sign of any of those…..she may be a taskmaster, but I bet she could be bribed with the right motivator……..Still, well done to both of you for persevering…..I’m impressed!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Torrie, I hope I don’t stop for a very long time!! … but thankfully they aren’t always so tedious.
      To add further insult, our final hike was in the POURING RAIN. The weatherman was less than accurate in his forecast that day!! We ended the hike – and the completion of this trail – with a very hot bowl of soup at a local cafe.
      Ahhh – it was perfect 🙂

      Like

  10. NancyTex says:

    You’re done! Whether it was checklist worthy or not…you’re done! 🙂

    I’m having to rethink my hikes while here in Vegas due to the extreme heat. Even though it’s dry, 118 is still 118! I think I’ll be spending the bulk of my time up at Mt. Charleston where the temps are 30 degrees cooler. 🙂

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Could you send some of that heat this way? We could really use some right now.
      … and I’ll send you some of our rain. We’ve been hoarding it for weeks and it’s time to let it go somewhere else!

      Like

  11. “This is one experience I think looks better in the rear-view mirror.” I loved the entire post, but this line is a kicker. Congrats on completing an arduous task!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Maggie. Every once in a while I get inspired with a line which makes me feel particularly proud. Thanks for picking it out 🙂

      I am sooooo happy this one is done. Now we can move on and do something interesting!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Joe says:

    Good for you Joanne this is one more thing to check off the list 🙂

    Like

  13. Sue Slaght says:

    You did it! I do my fair share of whining and gasping in my adventures too and often wouldn’t necessarily do a repeat. However this looks like it took ongoing dedication and a good sense of humour! Free range pigs. I love it. We saw many in Peru but I have certainly not seen that in Canada. 🙂 Congrats again!

    Like

  14. Mrs. P says:

    Talk about facing your fears….tall grasses remind me of ticks and snakes, both of which I am not fond of and big patches of snow so easy to get lost in. Having been stuck on a less traveled road with a van load of children…I understand your miracle and the gratefulness you felt when someone came your way. You inspire me to expect more of myself physically. I’m starting a slow walk in that direction,

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      In tall grass, I make a point of stomping my feet as hard as I can to hopefully scare away any snakes. I also try to wear long pants, or gators, to protect my legs and ankles from ticks. The creepy-crawlie factor is still there though!!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Neither rain, nor sleet, nor slow…wait…do only postmen say that? I believe it fits you and Helen on this trial. Brr. I’m stay cozy here and read about it. This still doesn’t sound like a ‘nothing’ to me considering the drawbacks. Kudos to you whether you think you have earned them or not. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Like

  16. bikerchick57 says:

    It may not be warm and fuzzy, but I would consider that a huge accomplishment. The fact that you didn’t quit and went hiking in winter’s cold is enough for me. Congrats to you both and thanks for sharing your photo of the pig. That one made me squee!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      hahahahaha … it made Helen ‘squee!’ too but for a very different reason … she wasn’t really impressed when it started following us 🙂
      I shouldn’t get any credit for not quitting. I would have given up MONTHS ago, but Helen wouldn’t let me.
      We are both so relieved it is finally completed 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • bikerchick57 says:

        Helen sounds like my gym partner, Natasha. She pushes me to go lift weights and do functional exercise, which is good because I can be a bit lazy when I have no supervision. Plus, as I’m sure you realize, having a workout partner makes it a lot more fun.

        Like

        • joannesisco says:

          I think everyone needs a Helen/Natasha in their lives 🙂 Helen’s full of energy, enthusiasm and a sense of adventure.

          Unfortunately I don’t have a workout partner for anything except hiking. I’m simply not the same caliber of runner as Helen and we don’t live close enough to be effective gym buddies.
          That’s why I train better with a coach or personal trainer. I really am rather lazy too and need someone to keep my workouts honest.

          Liked by 1 person

  17. bkpyett says:

    Great photos capturing your winter and surrounds. Not such a good thought there might be a bear nearby, nor getting stuck in the snow and mud!

    Like

  18. Well I say well done for finishing it. You had plenty of excuses to give up, especially those bear tracks. :-O

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      … and trust me when I say I used every excuse in the book to quit.
      The bear tracks were a little too much even for this adventurer. I had visions of a 6 o’clock news story about 2 elderly women mauled by a bear.
      … Helen says I have too much of an imagination 😉

      Like

  19. badfish says:

    Well, maybe it’s better to do something, as opposed to nothing. And it appears you had a pretty good time doing something (even if it didn’t live up to expectations?). See it’s those pesky expectations that mess everything up in life, eh?

    Like

  20. Corina says:

    You finished what you started! Gotta be happy about that. It does sound like one of those things that could easily have been forgotten and set aside after the first couple of “obstacles” but you kept going back to it.

    Like

  21. 4wallsnaroof says:

    Bravo for you for completing your task and for finding some positive memories! (BTW my favorite town name that I’ve visited is Mystic, Conn -sounds so magical!)

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      That would be a great blog post on towns with fun names. A town close to my home town is called Moonbeam 🙂
      … but I don’t think I’m an inspired enough writer to pull it off 🙂

      Like

  22. Too bad the Oak Ridges trail was a disappointment…I think once you’ve done the Bruce Trail though it’s hard to compete. Love the photo of Helen and the pig!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      That’s exactly the problem. I’ve become a Bruce Trail snob.
      We’re considering going back to the Bruce and working our way through all the Blue trails. That would keep us out of trouble for a while 😉

      Like

  23. Mama Cormier says:

    I remember hiking through the woods in Vermont and knowing that there were bears about left me on edge for the whole vacation. For the last two years we’ve had a family of bears on the island where my cottage is and I wouldn’t go walking through the woods. The bears are gone now. Rumour has it that they were shot. I’m hoping this isn’t true but I guess I’ll find out when I get up there this week.

    Like

  24. Sammy D. says:

    Well you’re a better woman than I at completing your commitments (altho Hub is akin to Helen urging me onward). Bitching now ‘n then can certainly make a questionable trek more tolerable and this one was worth it for the pig-pal picture, absolutely!

    Like

  25. I love Helen’s hiking companion.

    Like

  26. So you did this one in bits and pieces then? I would have probably turned back at the sight of the bear tracks. You are definitely a brave soul. Love the pig though. I once spent an entire trip to Indiana hoping I would see a pig and all I got were cows.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s