Many years ago when I first started running, I became friends with Helen … my hiking partner and a woman I’ve talked about many times in my blog. Her high energy and enthusiasm for life have always been hugely inspiring for me.
I remember a conversation I had with her shortly after one of my very first races … a 5 km. I was discouraged by how slow I was and embarrassed to be lumbering along like a beached whale at the back of the pack. Her words have always stuck with me … you never know who might be watching and be inspired by your effort.
Recently, there was a reason for her words to come back to me.
Helen and I made the decision to head back out onto the Bruce Trail … 2 years after completing the end-to-end hike of this 900 km route. We had both missed those days of adventure through the back country of Southern Ontario tracing the Escarpment from Niagara Falls to Tobermory.
We decided to return to a section we had completed during the winter when it was covered in snow and ice. We were both excited to see how different it would be in the glorious colours of autumn.
About half way through our hike, as we were crossing a road, we met a woman who was about to start her own hike. Helen – always the friendly one – offered a greeting and began to chat with her.
The woman looked at her and said “I recognize you … from that Bruce Trail blog”. Helen then turned, pointed to me and replied “oh, you mean her blog”.
It seems that this woman – Adele – had found my blog Adventures on the Bruce Trail and had been using it as a guide for her own journey. In conversation with her, it was apparent she knew the details of our end-to-end adventure very well. I was both flattered and amazed.
My original blog hadn’t been written as a guide for anyone hiking the Bruce – as Adele kindly pointed out – it was full of holes. I had intended it only to be a diary for Helen and I to remember some of the details we might otherwise forget. To my surprise – and delight – it had become so much more.
But then Adele began to tell her own story … and I was completely blown away.
Adele lives very close to the Bruce Trail much further north than where we met her. She was inspired to put aside her sedentary lifestyle and get out onto the trail so close to her home. At first her progress was slow and her endurance very short.
She has persisted, and over time her speed increased and she could hike longer and further. The 3 end-to-end section badges on her bag are testament to her progress … but her journey has been much more difficult than ours.
While Helen and I have hiked in only one direction, using a car at each end point, Adele has been hiking alone. With only 1 car, she has had to complete each hike in both directions.
Since she started her journey on the Bruce, Adele has lost 100 lbs. Yes! 100!!! Her diabetes and high blood pressure are both gone.
Adele’s hiking has literally changed her life.
While she claimed to have been inspired by us, I was completely inspired by her.
Adele’s story really touched me. She is proof that it is never too late to make significant and meaningful changes to our lives.
How inspiring is that?!!