Ego and reality can sometimes get in the way, but it is even harder when you have to post it online for all to read; nonetheless, I still like using this blog as a means to document the lions share of this walking odyssey. It is interesting how in the beginning I wanted to start walking and reach the finish as quickly as possible versus today, where I rarely think about finishing as the kilometers pass underfoot, and my thoughts are of the great people I will meet and the interesting sights and experiences I have had and will continue to experience in the future.
The decision to end the first year of my walk on September 5th, 2017 was difficult; however, the logistics of getting back to Winnipeg to catch my flight as I start walking along highway 3 was filled with too many unknowns, and would of have had to walk many unneeded kilometers to get to a place where I would be able to catch a previously booked flight 10 days later. The bright side of this premature stoppage is that Winnipeg will be an easy location to resume the walk next year!
The temporal slack in my schedule now gives me some time to figure out the what, when, and how’s for my eventual transition back into Calgary, which is going to be a true test of the patience and understanding I have strengthened during this trip. This additional time will also allow me to do a little half ass physical preparation before my planned meetup with J.C. and Michael of Cours Pour Ta Vie in B.C. on October 1st, since I will be running for approximately 3 weeks on the last leg of their cross country run.
Honestly, the last two days before I arrived in Winnipeg have been nothing short of hilarious, where I have had to deal with the onslaught of physical pain and the most challenging weather to-date. It all began after I left Daryl’s house, which was such a great encounter, but it quickly spun out of my control because of a nagging lower leg and ankle strain, which caused me to stop and address the problem. My experience with injuries during this walk is that when I feel the beginning of an injury — not the normal aches and pains that subside after a good nights rest — it is best to stop early and address. Unfortunately, this time I can’t stop for a couple of days, since I must be in Winnipeg to catch; my plan to have an easy last few days of walking is ruined, but that is what happens when you plan on having things go your way, I guess.
After a quick stop on the side of the road, I ended up limping down the first side road off the Trans-Canada Highway where it transitions from a forest dominated landscape to the agricultural and prairie landscape I imagined Manitoba to be. Thankfully at the end of this gravelly side road was the small town of St. Anne, MB, where I was able to buy a bag of ice and some Zip-lock bags to ice my ankle and lower shin.
After a short walk from the local grocery store, I found a picnic table at the back of an elementary school, where I was able to lay on the ground and elevate my ankle/shin on while I was icing it. A couple hours of icing, along with taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), the swelling and pain was temporarily relieved; however, I didn’t cover the kilometers I originally planned, so now I have to cover almost 50 km on the last day to make it to the location in Winnipeg I want to stop at.
Above. The majestic church in St. Anne, MB.
During my stay St. Anne had a festival or something going on beside the school, so there was lots of activity and to my surprise that night, a world class fireworks show, which I enjoyed while laying in my tent at the back corner of the schools yard (title image).
A good nights sleep and an NSAID must of helped me out; my ankle issues were almost absent when I woke in the morning. After a few rotations of my rusty ankle, some instant oatmeal, and off I went to do my 40+ km day.
That morning of walking went well, but the weather slowly transitioned in the afternoon from annoying to annoyingly scary. First, the wind picked up, but it was a very strong and constant head wind, with gusts of wind that pushed me like an angry bully in the school yard. After a few hours of that incessent push from the wind, I walked into some dark clouds; however, some 20 km of walking brought me to a location of refuge: a small wooden bridge, where I could crawl under to cook some lunch, which will fuel the next half of this wonderful last day.
Even though the weather was terrible and it was hard going, I reveled in this moment, since I knew that after today all was going to change.
Above. The wooden bridge I took refuge under to get away from the driving head winds to cook some lunch.
The last geographic point of interest I will walk across this year was the Longitudinal Centre of Canada.
After lunch the clouds got darker, and the rain and hail came down upon my head. My only option for today was to continue walking and hope the weather passes, which it did, but in the meantime I took the abuse for a few more hours, with the passing thunder and eventual lightening being the lowest point of the day! As the landscape is now , where you can’t take cover from the wind, rain, or lightening you really feel helpless and naked. At one point I yelled “Is that all you got”.
Hours of abuse later, I walked into sunshine and happiness; Winnipeg was now within sight and a new journey is on the horizon for me.
Above. The ending location for 2017. I overshot where I am actually going to start next year, but this spot gives me options for next year.