I’m taking a short break from our hiking trip to say hello. Hope you are all well. Unfortunately when we escaped from home, we didn’t escape the news. And I know that the pandemic stories are getting scary again. That is if they ever stopped being scary.
We’re away from home this week, not far, but far enough to offer a lovely change of scene. We’re staying in a small cottage in the Madawaska Valley. Right on the lake. And we’re almost the only people here. Travel in the fall can be so wonderful, especially when everyone else stays home.
We left home at the crack of dawn, or almost, on Sunday. Ontario Hydro had planned a power outage from 7:00 am until noon. Sooo. We were up very early making sure we had everything ready, and were dressed, and had the lights turned out etc. before we lost power. Even then, Hubby was wandering around with the flashlight looking for his hat, and me for my hiking boots. Ha.
Then we headed to MacDonald’s for breakfast, and took the scenic route to our destination on Bark Lake. Stopping for a picnic lunch at a sweet little park and hiking a trail near Combermere before we checked into our cottage. We have all the mod cons here, including a jacuzzi tub, a gas fireplace, a barbecue on our small porch, and an outdoor fire pit. All of which we have put to good use.
So we’ve had three days of hiking. Two days trying the Thomas P. Murray Trails near Combermere. Hubby found out about these online and we downloaded a trail map before we left home.
The map didn’t necessarily help us on one day, although I should say it was not a fault of the map. We hiked for over an hour on the wrong trail, and laughed later at how we’d justified our error all the way along. “This must be the trail. Wonder why they don’t have a sign on this one.” “Yes, here’s the fork, the left trail is supposed to follow the beaver pond, see there’s the pond, the right fork must take us up to Tom’s Lookout.” “Yep, see, we must be heading to that escarpment over there,” we said confidently, just before the trail turned in the opposite direction and headed distinctly downhill. Eventually we even cussed out poor old Tom. Where the heck was his bloody lookout, anyway? After over an hour with no discernible gain in elevation, we gave up, went back to the car, and ate our lunch. And then, as we were driving back down the gravel access road, we saw where we should have been hiking all along. Because there was a SIGN! D’uh.
Anyway. Tom’s Lookout was worth the effort in the end. We hiked the second trail and were rewarded with a beautiful view. And even two red Adirondack chairs for hikers to rest in at the top, just like the ones we have at home. Was this a sign, do you think?
The next day we hiked in Algonquin Park. The park gate is an hour’s drive away, so we stopped in Barry’s Bay to fill up our travel mugs at Tim Horton’s. Armed with our double-doubles we were on the road again. We spare no expense when we travel, folks. Ha. The view at the top of the lookout trail in the park put Tom’s Lookout to shame. It reminded both of us of our hike into McAfee Knob, near Roanoke, Virginia in 2016.
Maybe this doesn’t happen for you, but when we travel we often reminisce about other trips. especially when we’re walking. And yesterday was no exception. On the way back down the trail, we laughed about that previous hike in Virginia. How we had read that the McAfee hike was little more than an hour, when it was almost four. How on the way back to our hotel afterwards, we stopped for takeout pizza and a bottle of wine. And then inhaled the pizza in our hotel room listening to American election stuff on television. At the time the 2016 political situation in the states seemed like theatre to us. “Remember that little diner in blank where we had dinner the next night?” I asked Hubby as we walked. “The one that our guide book raved about?” Hubby couldn’t recall. “Come on, you know. The one where the waitress was so rude. And then when she delivered your soup, she had her thumb in it?” Okay. That jogged his memory. Ha. Sometimes you can’t trust guide books. And who cares anyway, because that thumb in the soup story has entertained us for years.
Today is our last day. It’s rainy and cool here in the Madawaska Valley. And we’re hoping the weather breaks just as the sun is setting as it has every night so far. Then we’ll bundle up and sip our wine around one last fire. We go home tomorrow. We’ve had lots of exercise and fresh air. And I do mean fresh. It snowed the night before last, and was only three degrees when we set off yesterday morning. But, you know, walking in those temperatures when one is properly “rugged up” is wonderful.
Today we’ve read our books, napped a lot, and tomorrow we head for home replenished in spirit.
Sometimes you don’t have to travel far to benefit from travel, eh?
That’s it for me, today, my friends. As I said in my opening, I hope you are well. I hope you continue to stay well. See you on the weekend. As usual. 😊😊😊😊