Fall Hiking

This is my favourite time of year for hiking but unfortunately I’ve been late to this party.

Normally by mid-October I’d already have a number of hikes under my belt. What’s not to love … no bugs, cooler temperatures, and all while watching nature slowly transform into a stunning colour spectacle.

Helen bounding up my favourite hill on the Seaton Trail.

But I haven’t been out. I blame an early introduction to the cold-and-flu season. So even though I was still obsessing over my low energy level and annoying cough, my hiking buddy, Helen, finally dragged a very reluctant me out onto the trail last weekend.

Her choice was the nearby Seaton Trail northeast of the city.

My reluctance was soon overcome by the crisp morning temperature, beautiful clear skies, and the calm I feel whenever I step into any cluster of trees.

Helen, as she contemplates the sun shining into the field of dried corn stalks.

I don’t normally like walking the same routes over and over and I’d been on the Seaton Trail so many times, I didn’t think I’d have any excitement left to give.

I was wrong and Helen was right. I don’t know why I even bother arguing with Helen anymore. She’s always right. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why she’s called “Queen of The Trails” within the community of ultra-runners to which she belongs.

Ultra-runners look like normal people and walk among us without fanfare, but they’re really not ‘normal’ at all. I’m talking about runners who think 50, 75, and 100-mile trail races are a reasonable thing to do.

Yes, I really did mean ‘miles’.

Many of Helen’s ultra friends were on the trail that morning for a ‘short’ 90 minute run, with some socializing to follow. A trail crowded with high-octane runners was not my idea of a good time … but again, I was wrong.

Helen and I with two of her long-time trail friends, Howie and Rick.

It was like a homecoming party.

These are people who work hard and then play hard. They came prepared with chairs, blankets, and coolers with food and drink.

Who cares if it was 11 am on a Sunday morning. The beer was flowing, conversation was lively, and snack foods were making the rounds.

Yes, that’s a jug of beer hiding behind the bag of chips.

The moral of this story?

If your spirits are low, get outdoors. If your energy is sagging and you’re wondering where you’re going to get the strength to even get dressed, get yourself out there!

Nature is a wonder drug.

29 comments

  1. Those ultra-runners kill me. Whip thin, can eat all the ice cream and drink all the beer and never gain an ounce. I used to work at a fitness center and a new ‘victim’ was always asked why they wanted to start exercising. I kid you not, the response was always, “So I can eat (insert fave food here) and not gain weight.” You are right about the outdoors–it lifts my spirit like nothing else. Rock on, Helen!

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    • They truly are a unique kind of community and without Helen I would never be in a position to even know of their existence let alone interact with them.

      Helen’s love of running, trails, and the outdoors is infectious. I worked with her for years long before we both retired. I have yet to meet someone who didn’t like her!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a wonderful day. Sometimes, the thing we don’t think we want to do turns out to be the best thing we can do. I can’t imagine being an ultra runner. But, if they brought food and beer and chairs on a Sunday morning, I’m ready to support them ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    • I thought it was some informal end-of-season celebration they were having. No. Apparently, this is something they do every weekend from spring to fall. … an early morning run followed by an hour plus of socializing. The thing is, last weekend was a short run. Weekends are normally their long runs and can be five, six, or more hours. This is hard-core. They run like I used to cycle.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your friend Helen is amazing, just you using the word โ€œbounding.โ€ I have never been to the Eastern Provinces in the Autumn months and the photos always look gorgeous. Very funny description of ultra-runners. I used to run all the time years ago and I found all runners an inclusive group of people. Yes, on nature as a wonder drug. Pouring rain around here the last few days and sick kids. I just finished telling them we are heading outside tomorrow despite the pouring rain. Everyone will feel better about it. Hope you are on the upswing, Joanne:)

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  4. I’ve often found trail runners in general – ultra or short – are lovely people. They’re always on for a chat (while you’re staggering up a hill) or a call of encouragement as they pass you (while you’re staggering up a hill) unlike most road runners. I wish I could be an ultra runner. There are some very cool events out there for those hardy souls.
    You are right about the soothing powers of getting outside in nature but I do wish I had a Helen in my life to drag me off the couch when life is a bit sucky. How lucky you are to have each other!

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    • I think I’ve said this a few times already – everyone should have a Helen in their lives ๐Ÿ’•
      … and what you say about runners is so very true – very emotionally generous people. I haven’t been able to run at all for a few years now and especially on glorious autumn days when conditions are perfect, I do miss that sense of freedom and strength that comes with a run.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So glad to know you have yet ANOTHER awesome blog to follow!! I’m always in awe of those ultra-runners….I think it crossed my mind one time for about a minute. Beer on Sunday before noon – hmmm..my kind of peeps. cheers ๐Ÿ™‚

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