There are many reasons to hike. Maybe you’d like to improve your fitness? Or simply take in the scenery? The benefits to mental health are also many. When we hike we often seek peace, serenity, perhaps an escape. It is the perfect pastime to freshen the psyche. When we are restless in spirit, a hike aids us to organise the thoughts of the days, the weeks, and in some cases even the years of the past. When events need re-examining for a final time before being shut into the mind’s filing cabinet, a hike might be literally just what the doctor ordered.
Personally, on a longer hike, I find that I can reach a state of mind where it is almost as if each step taken, each mile completed, or each call from a distant bird becomes analogous to specific trials and tribulations in my life. One foot in front of the other, each rounded corner, each crested hill, each Blue Jay’s “jeer” somehow delineates the familial dispute, a career injustice, the cruelty of a once dear friend.
We all struggle with mental health at some point in our lives. Each person’s experience of emotional scaring is unique to themselves, so I won’t get into my own murky details or compare notes. Well, maybe later!
So what do you do if you are carrying 890km worth of mental paperwork that needs filing?
The Bruce Trail runs for just over 890km from Niagara to Tobermory through some very picturesque parts of Ontario, including conservation areas and parks. It is a long way. A very long way indeed. I’ll have a lot of British readers who will have difficulty conceptualising just exactly how far, so bear with me a moment. Imagine walking from central London to Newcastle. And then back again. It is about that distance, but through harder terrain.
The fastest known time anyone has completed The Bruce trail from end-to-end is 9 days, 21 hours, and 14 minutes (while running rather than hiking). I planned on taking a much more relaxed approach, hiking a little at a time. Initially I thought I could do this in a year, but life has a habit of derailing things. As such, it will take much longer!
Listed below are articles representing each stage I have completed. Please read on as I attempt to orient myself on The Bruce Trail and the trail of life.