I love taking pictures. It is one of the constant loves that has carried over from my girlhood into womanhood. The desire laid dormant for many years as I rose to the challenges of life and motherhood. I couldn’t justify the extravagant purchase and didn’t give myself permission to splurge just once. Eventually I learned its about balance, balancing your families needs as well as your own and both is of equal importance and so I bought my first digital camera and started taking pictures again. I have many of Toronto and wanted to explore beyond so I emailed a friend and suggested one day we take a drive stopping along the way photographing the landscapes. He planned the day trip and picked me up 9 am Saturday morning. We had a light breakfast at McDonalds and journeyed to Oak Ridge Trail. Starting point, 10 am.
The forest area was a combinations of browns, creams, taupes with a few evergreen tress and some blossoming trees. My friend Mr. D became my subject. As you can see he’s in front leading the march. I didn’t feel comfortable with him walking behind me so I asked him to walk in front.
This is the first pond of running water we passed early into our trek.
This is Mr. D (below) trying to capture tree fungus. He believes in getting low, what he calls “macro shooting.” He would encourage me to do the same. My response? “that’s what zoom lens are for.” The tree had interesting shades of green almost as if they were painted but you know from looking closely that they were not.
About 3.5 hours into our walk I started to feel the beginnings of tightness in my back, not a good sign. I looked for a fallen tree high enough off the ground so I can lean against for a moment to relieve the pressure building in my back. Once there I checked in with my daughter to let her know am alright and we are still hiking. I looked up at the sky and I told Mr. D that is after 12 pm about 1, he looked at his watch. It was 1:30 pm. He looked at me as if to ask, how did you know. I explained that 12 pm sun is usually straight above head and the sun was already moving west so its afternoon.
Around 1:45 pm I felt like I needed to use the bathroom. I thought, ‘oh lord’ and mentioned it to Mr. D who encouraged me to squat and pee in the bush. I looked at him and said, “with the pressure in my back building there is no way I can squat because if I do I can guarantee you I won’t be getting up and there is no way am going to have my pants around my ankles, my ass exposed to the elements and you with a camera. It’s ok I’ll hold it.” I thought, ‘It wouldn’t be too long.’ Boy was I wrong! To take my mind off my tightening back and wanting to pee I took picture. I especially like this one. It looks like a squirrel.
I forgot what he called these. I would have to ask him again and then I’ll update with its name.
The trail was ok for the most along the way we met one man who heard me laughing and thought it was a hound because he didn’t see anyone else on the trail. Embarrassed at the comparison to a dog hollowing he apologized and tried to explain what he meant over and over. I just laughed and said, “its ok, am not offended.”
As we trudged on we met a woman with her dog. We stopped and said hello. Mr. D asked for her if she knew the distance to where we began. As I walked off I heard her tell him, “oh you only quarter of the way, and the path is rough and layered with tree roots. She warned to be careful of our footing. Boy was she right the ground was damp and spongy and your feet sank with every step. It was on one of these damp spongy area that I took an ungraceful swan dive into the mud landing partly on muddy ground and partly on the wooden trail bridge. It was not pretty. I was not pretty. I hurt. I banged my shins, scraped my knees and laid there like a turtle that was turned over and couldn’t get up. There were two blessings in that graceless moment, one I had put my big camera that hung around my neck in Mr. D’s bag about 5 minutes earlier so I didn’t smash it into my breast and seriously injure myself and two I did not seriously injure myself. I got up with as much dignity as I could manage while Mr. D waited quietly and patiently as I had ask him to give me a moment and just kept on walking not complaining once. By this time it was around 3:05 pm, 5 hours into our hike. There seemed no end in sight and I was peeing myself in small degrees. I took pictures of beaver eaten trees, a beaver’s den, Mr. D doing his photographer thing and interesting trees with twisty branches
I kept it moving. At this point I was in so much pain. The muscles in my back had seized up and it was radiating down into my hips, lifting my feet was a chore and the trail turned to an up hill climb.
I started praying, “sweet Jesus don’t let my feet fail me now.” No sooner than we went up we started to go down. This went on for a while. It was hard on the joints. I was determined. We again encountered the man we met on the trail earlier and we inquired the direction in which he came. He told us to follow the part left and to stay left all the way and it would take us back to the parking lot. In my mind I am having a serious conversation with God. “I know I asked for something different, to go out and see things and you gave me a hike. I am not complaining. I am asking you to keep my back and hip steady so I can make it through so I don’t become a burden for my friend and please let us be near the end.” As we moved along on what was to be our last leg of our journey we encountered a dried up deer leg hanging in a tree.
Mr. D marched on ahead. My walk had slowed tremendously. I was dragging my feet but moving steadily. Then I heard. “We reach! We reach! Yeah! Mr. D was waving furiously. “Thank you Father” 4 pm. 6-hours later the trail ends.
I had never been so happy to see a car in my life. Though grateful getting in was a challenge. I could barely lift my feet. I sat slowly and peed myself a little as I sat. Every part of me hurt from my nose hole to my toenail. I relaxed against the back of the seat. On the windshield of the car was a yellow note. It was from the woman with the dog we met on the trail telling us of a bakery/cafe we can find something to eat and a bathroom to use.
We ate, we talked and drove back into the city. It was quite the adventure. Neither of us suspected that the trail would be as long as it was. For more pictures of my hike adventure click here.