Bittersweet

Two long months!

That’s how long it’s been since I’ve had a decent hike.

Just when Deb (the Widow Badass) and I were getting into a great weekly hiking routine, the pandemic tossed us an anchor.

But now restrictions are slowly starting to lift in our part of the world, and Deb is leaving for a permanent move to the west coast next week. We had to seize what will likely be the last Ontario hike we do together.

We did, and it was glorious.

Deb’s smile says it all. We were in a happy place.

Since we come from opposite directions, we met at our planned location in Elora, northwest of Toronto.

There were none of our usual hugs which, quite frankly, felt really odd. To not hug someone I was SO HAPPY to see just felt wrong, wrong, wrong …. but one does what one must do.

Our spirits were high, and off we went … immediately blabbing away as though we didn’t have a care in the world.

A trail blaze with attitude.

What was intended to be a sedate stroll on a well marked path along the top of the Elora Gorge, quickly turned into a wilder adventure when Deb spied a staircase with no barrier.

It took a nanosecond for us to decide that this was the course we needed to take.

I wonder how many times I could squeeze the word ‘glorious’ into one post, because that’s what it was … and EXACTLY what I needed to finally shake off the doldrums I had been feeling for too many days.

Luckily we had thought to toss a hiking pole into our backpacks before we headed out, because without them, most of this trek wouldn’t have been possible.

This unmarked trail was everything I love … quiet wilderness, water, trees, and rocks. BIG rocks. The kind of rock that hints at the age of the universe.

Some sections of the trail were so steep, it required scrambling on our hands. We would merely look at each other with an enthusiastic ‘I’m game’, and off we’d go.

At several points along the water, we would linger – spots where I could easily have stayed much longer – but the trail would call us away again.

So why did I title this post ‘Bittersweet’?

Well, I was trying to imprint every moment of this grand hike into my memory because it will likely be a very long time before I get to take another trek like this one with my dear friend.

Next week, Gilles and I will be breaking pandemic protocols by having Deb enter our ‘bubble’ for 2 nights – the time between all her worldly belongings being picked up by the movers, and when her flight leaves for British Columbia.

Next week at this time, I will already have dropped her off at the airport and she will be on route to her new home.

I can virtually guarantee there will be tears shed.

48 comments

  1. Oh bittersweet indeed! Sending virtual hugs Joanne. So hard to say goodbye to a wonderful friend. Of course you can keep in touch virtually but this of course is no replacement for your wonderful adventures together. XO

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    • I’m feeling this loss rather keenly, but FaceTime is making it easier to bear. It’s going to be a lot harder to keep our adventures alive from across the country, but we’re both willing and able to try 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I admit I don’t blog much anymore. I could cite a million and one reasons but simply, I just don’t have the inspiration. I’m assuming one day my muse will return.

      Hope all is well with you too. I have no complaints really. I adapt 😊

      Liked by 1 person

        • It’s been very chilly for June, alternating with very hot days. It’s really quite confusing 😏

          Glad to hear you’ve taken easily to retirement. It’s a good thing we don’t know how wonderful it can be when we’re younger 😉

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    • Maybe it’s because it had been soooo long since I’d been out that this hike felt so good.
      The most surprising thing was to discover how quiet and empty this trail was. The Elora Gorge is a very popular area and I expected to encounter many locals out – especially young teens. Maybe much later in the day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You sure picked a great spot for your last Ontario hike together. I’m glad you got to do this and I’m sure there’ll be other hikes in the future, except now you have that much more incentive to go exploring further from home 🙂

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    • You’re right. This does open up the realm of possibilities for future hikes.

      We had planned some time ago that I would go to BC in late summer for some hiking on Vancouver Island. I’m hoping this current pandemic situation won’t be an obstacle to making this happen.

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  3. I’m so glad you had what looks like an A-Grade,Platinum Class hike together. Sweet memories to cherish until the next one. And there will be a next one, and another. The new world won’t be the same, but friendships and enjoyment of nature will be more important than ever.

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  4. So happy you & Deb had the opportunity to hike together, even if it felt bittersweet. I hope that you have many more incredible hikes together in the future! I have no doubt you gals will make that hapoen💕

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  5. I’m glad you mentioned this post during our Zoom since I have apparently been unsubscribed from this blog (I didn’t do it, I swear!) and would have missed it. Discovering a true kindred spirit is rare, finding one when we get older is almost unheard of. How lovely that you were able to get one last hike in with Deb. The trail you picked looks glorious (I would have insisted on going down the stairs too).

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    • That’s exactly it, Janis. It is so rare to find that deep friendship, and even more so now that I’m retired.

      I’m not surprised in the least when you say you would have joined us. I think that all of the group I call the “West Coast Ladies” have that curiosity and spark of adventure to explore the path less trodden 🙂

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  6. This looks like it was a wonderful hike. I can feel the joy in your descriptions. I hope you get the chance to hike in BC at some point. You guys have set the bar pretty high for hiking buddies. I have enjoyed everyone of these posts, even (and perhaps especially) the ones that didn’t go according to plan.

    Good luck yo Deb in her new home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make a good point, Dan. Someone once said to me that when everything is perfect and going well, it makes for a boring post 😏

      In my ‘hike every province’ plan, BC is next on my list, and unless COVID sends us any more curveballs, I’ll be doing just that – with Deb – later this year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think many of us are relearning how much beauty there is around us to appreciate during these weird times. If I was starting to feel a bit complacent about the world around me, it’s dissolved over these past 2 months ‘in captivity’.

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  7. Looks like an amazing hike and so appropriate for the occasion. What a gift to have found a dear friend through blogging. Sorry you’re putting more distance between you but imagine the hikes you can have in future visits!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for taking us along on your bittersweet hike through such beautiful surroundings, Joanne. It is also exactly two months since we got out of the city last and it was lovely to go out with you, even if virtually. All the best also to Deb in her new adventure!

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    • For those of us with a strong streak of wanderlust, this period of isolation has been rather challenging. Getting back out on a trail with a good friend was truly balm for the soul.

      Let’s all hope this pandemic is wrestled under control sooner rather than later!

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  9. Oh I’m happy to read that you two got the chance to get outside together. What a wonderful day for a hike. I do understand how bittersweet all of this is, but at least you’ll get a chance to say a proper good-bye within your bubble. 🥂

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    • I’ve known for a year that this time was coming, but it doesn’t make the reality any easier.
      … but good friendships survive moves like this one 🙂 I’m SO grateful to have had this last hike together. I think we both needed it, and to have experienced such a beautiful day, on a beautiful trail, was just icing on the cake.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This was a great but sad post. Sorry to hear Deb is moving (why, Deb?! Why?! 😀 ), but glad you guys had a wonderful walk. We cannot wait to break out of our neighborhood and go for hike next week…or whenever the rain stops. Safe trip, Deb!

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  11. I am so sorry that you’re losing each other’s hiking companion, but I loved this hike and your retelling of it. It does sound glorious and bittersweet.

    I hope once Deb is settled and has discovered some new places you’ll be winging your way over there to hike with her again!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Shedding tears already, just reading this post 😢
    It was indeed a glorious albeit strange day, not being able to hug each other hello and goodbye.
    We can and will overcome the distance, to have more hikes in our future. That is a Badass promise!🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Seizing the moment is a great idea, Joanne. Especially with all the uncertainty. Great photos. I may investigate and invest in a walking stick. I have not tried one. A staircase with no barrier already makes my heart skip a beat. Wonderful how you will still see Deb next week. The bubble may include some bubbly. Yes, bittersweet.💕

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    • I highly recommend poles, especially for anywhere that could be slippery, uneven footing, or maneuvering descents. I’ve been caught a few times thinking I’d be fine without one and then dearly wishing I had it with me.

      This year has already been weird enough without adding in the heavy feeling of a dear friend moving so far away. This last excursion couldn’t have been more perfect and I’m so grateful Deb had the time to squeeze this in 💕

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have thought about poles over the years, yet figured it was one more thing to lug around. Joanne, you have inspired me to look into it. Do you feel one pole is good? Or should we be walking with two poles?

        There is something magic that happens at our get togethers. Almost more and better at each visit. As much as we all want to say the right, supportive words about Deb moving far away, I cannot imagine how difficult for you. Of course you will stay connected. And then a good excuse for a visit to The Island. 💕💗

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