While in Hamilton…

I haven’t blogged about my personal life experience in a while, so I thought I would take a few moments and share something pretty exciting for me 🙂

I have registered in a race to run a 42 km rugged trail through beautiful Kaninaskis in July of 2014! How fun does that sound? I have to admit that I am thrilled about what this journey has for me over the next several months, but I am also a bit nervous. I am 36 years young and have always loved the trails. As a kid, I grew up on an acreage in northern Saskatchewan so trails and the forest are not new to me. However, running for 42 kms through the mountains, is. The longest distance in my shoes to date is 25 kms… and that’s on a flat! So where do I begin?

WELL… my training has officially begun in Hamilton, Ontario.  There is a little community called Stoney Creek, where I ‘adventured’ today. I am currently here for work but as usual, I will always make time for some investigating on foot. And I figured, I better start getting those miles in!

So when I questioned the front desk staff where a good trail to run is that is relatively close to here, the response was, “Just off to your right across the highway you will find lots of trails that lead down to the water.” To this I reply, “So is it safe?” One of the other desk staff says, “Yes, but careful of the cliff, one guy fell off yesterday.” Um… ok, then off I went. Not to worry, I am pretty solid on  my feet 😉

As I make my way across the highway and follow a paved path, I stopped to snap a few shots of the view. The colors, the trees, the flowers, the grasses were all quite deserving of a photo really.

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IMG_7807After about a mile, I veered off the paved path to find a marked trail, to which I was happy since I consider myself to be directionally challenged most days.

Pictured on the left is the trail that does in fact lead down to the water. There were gorgeous views of dense canopy and the sounds of little creatures all around me.

A man approached me with his dog coming up a hill as I shrieked like a little girl! I wasn’t expecting them but after that, I was able to relax a little, haha.

 

As you can see, some of the trails are a little technical, which brings back fond memories of ‘rock jumping’ during a Whistler trail race a couple years ago. Good times!

Pictured below is a shot by a cliff that I am certain the gentleman from the front desk was referring to. It literally drops straight down to the creek. I still ran through it but was careful to keep an eye on my feet through that section 😉

 

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How pretty is this? The river at the bottom has a dense canopy closing into it… but wait, it gets better!

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A little while later, I am headed up to a street bridge coming almost out of the forest, I glance over and to my surprise, there is this beautiful waterfall. I was not expecting to see this in the middle of the city. Anyone who tells you that Hamilton is not pretty, is lying. Or has never had the pleasure of experiencing it on foot.

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On my way back to the hotel, I stopped to chat for several minutes with this very nice gentleman. He was out riding his bike. A nice fella, probably mid-forties, we exchanged names, information about where we were from, our careers and a few stories about various wildlife in Ontario and Alberta. We shook hands and continued on. I passed a few other people (mostly Italian) who were all very friendly. I have to admit, it was a nice change from back home – Sorry Albertans but it’s true, ever pass someone on a bike path or street? There are plenty who do not ‘go out of their way’ to greet you.

I also learned that this area has the most species of plants of any other forest region in Canada. And, well, imagine my excitement when I saw the sugar maple trees! Oh and apparently there are also flying squirrels, which I would have to go at night to see. Um, NO THANK YOU! I do think that I might have noticed a rare hawk, but not 100% sure. Anyhow, it was a great day indeed. I may have to go back and visit again sometime 🙂

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