As I was driving to my hike destination this week, a message from the City of Toronto played on the radio. The message was simple: Stay home.
But I wasn’t staying home, and I felt a deep twinge of shame. Toronto isn’t in complete lockdown (yet) so I’ve been selfishly walking quiet streets and trails for exercise and anxiety management … sticking to places I’m certain I’ll find some isolation.
And my planned hike this day was virtually guaranteed to be quiet.
Helen ‘accompanied’ me on this excursion, close to where we both live. I say ‘accompanied’ even though we drove in separate cars, and were respectful of each other’s 6 foot personal space as we walked along shouting to each other.
Our destination was a portion of the Waterfront Trail which runs along the base of the Scarborough Bluffs.
For all of its beauty, this section isn’t overrun with people at the best of times, but I suspect that the one kilometre trek down the escarpment to reach the waterfront discourages most casual traffic from making a second visit.
Going down isn’t so much the problem, but the long, steep climb back up is a heart-pounder.
The Bluffs have been eroding dangerously for a while now, and treks along the top are strongly discouraged. However, it appears the base is also in danger – and not necessarily from high water levels as the posted signs suggest.
Helen and I have been regulars on this trail for a long while, but this was the first time we have ever encountered a collapse of the Bluffs which had avalanched onto the path.
With the current suspension of all non-essential services, it may be a long time before city crews can clean this up, but intrepid walkers had already beaten a path across the debris. We chose this spot to be our turnaround point.
On a day that alternated between soul-recharging sunshine and gloomy overcast, we enjoyed the beauty of the waterfront with minimal human sightings.
While the wind off the lake was a bit on the chilly side, the calming crash of waves against the shore was exactly the balm we needed. We chose a rock retaining wall to park ourselves for a short while to enjoy a couple of peanut butter cookies.
Normally we would be noshing on Morning Glory muffins, but the muffins have been another casualty of the empty store shelves.
After this walk however, peanut butter cookies might become our new norm.