No one has ever suggested I plan too small, but this time even I am in awe of the adventure we are about to undertake.
“We” includes my long-time friend and hiking partner, Helen. Since our retirement 6 years ago, we have hiked almost 1,200 km together, completing both the Bruce Trail and Oak Ridges Moraine Trail End-to-End. Both of these trails are in Southern Ontario and reasonably accessible from our homes.
However, we have been challenged for a while trying to decide what our next adventure would look like. We kicked around the idea of the Camino de Santiago, the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Coast Trail, … but nothing ever really landed on two feet.
In preparation for Canada’s 150th birthday this year, there has been considerable effort made to link together the vast network of recreational trails that exist across the country. With 91% of the trail complete and over 21,000 km of connected trail, we finally heard the siren song of the Great Trans-Canada Trail.
It is billed as the longest recreational trail in the world, and when fully connected, it will be 24,000 km long including urban, rural, wilderness, and waterway trails.
There is nothing quite like an audacious goal to get me excited.
At our current ages of 70 (Helen) and 60 (me), this goal includes a healthy helping of hopeful thinking, but why not? Life should be a grand adventure.
Unlike our journey on the Bruce Trail, it is not our intention to start at one end of the country and work our way sequentially across to the other end. Nor do we intend to walk the entire distance. Whenever and wherever possible, our plan is to bicycle.
I’ve been pouring over maps the past several weeks and much to my dismay, neither the Bruce Trail or the Oak Ridges Moraine count as mileage on the Great Trail.
So far I’ve been able to identify only a modest 32 km of trail we have previously walked and will not be repeating for this journey. At 0.15% of the trail, it’s not even a blip on the map yet, but that number will start to tick upwards over the months – and years – ahead.
Our adventure starts next week. It will be epic.