Category Archives: Walking

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: SAND and DIRT

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This picture of all the debris on the sandy beach may not be what beach and nature lovers want to see. It fits the theme for this week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (Sand and Dirt) nonetheless. With each tide, the debris is washed onto shore and then back to the sea.

I leave the next picture to your imagination.

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A footprint here…Mine! It would be washed away by the next tide. Ephemeral our existence is in this world, how can we leave a cleaner footprint, and make this earth a more beautiful place for everyone?

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Book Club Review: Beach Strip, John Lawrence Reynolds

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POSSIBLE SPOILER

I have a chance to read Beach Strip by John Lawrence Reynolds through the book club of my local library branch, which is in support of the One Book One Burlington Event this Fall.  Our discussion surrounds some of the questions prepared by the librarians, with insight from a member who has taken part in the initial shortlisting of the book.

Most of us know where the Beach Strip is as a local landmark in Burlington and some of us have walked along it, including myself. (This is another reason why I read this book, because of the familiarity of the setting.) If you have been following my blog, you may wonder if I have an obsession about this area–the beach walk, the waves and the lift bridge. I tell my group that as I am reading the book, the scenery appears vividly in my mind’s eyes, even though I walk along the strip only in daylight and the crime in the book takes place at night. I figure out roughly where the author refers to as the first crime scene, and know exactly the location of an unexpected twist in the plot in which Josie Marshall walks on the lift bridge, looks at the guard on duty in the tower and throws the ashes of her husband in the canal. After that she walks on to discover a dead body, whose head is missing! I have not gone back to Beach Trail and the Burlington Canal Lift Bridge by myself since reading the gory details. Honestly, I need some company here.

When it comes to the plot, we have a perceptive remark that every ingredient one wants for a crime story is here. There is more than one murder, and the cops play a key role. There is more: Sex, flirtation, violence, a gangster boss, a suspected pervert, filial piety, sibling rivalry, extra-marital relationship and police corruption. Reynolds must be having fun with his canvas of the book, and puts a dab of this character and that character, as well as the various themes, viola! We are wondering whether with all these catchy ingredients the film right of a TV movie may be forthcoming.

The biggest misgiving we all have is the characterization of Josie Marshall, whose husband Gabe, a police detective, is found dead on the Beach Strip outside their house.  Josie does not believe that Gabe has committed suicide, as the police has told her. She takes it upon herself to find the murderer. There are too many inconsistencies. One moment Josie is grieving her loss and crying that she is feeling weak, but the next moment she is charging around talking to people and functioning like a cool and balanced-headed detective. Then she is in Vancouver with her sister, spent after all her experience. Next she is on a flight, calling and emailing all the people she wants to see to expose the murderer. This is all within three weeks of losing her husband. Mind you, she has seen at least two dead bodies in this short time. She appears like Super Woman.

The most upsetting part for us, all being female readers, is the stereotype of a woman’s strength to be her sexual appeal. It is only too superficial to see Josie deliberately wearing a tight top and a short pencil skirt when she visits the gangster boss. Reynolds says that he is experimenting with a female protagonist in this novel and when he tries to get into the head of the Josie Marshall,  it seems that it still comes from a male perspective. Anyhow, Reynolds will be appearing in an event to talk about his book. It will be interesting to see what he has to say.

The book is an interesting read, but likely not Reynold’s best. We think that it is selected for One Book One Burlington more because the setting is a local attraction, and Reynolds is a Burlington resident.  It is also easy to fit in other activities for this “one book one community” event which is gaining popular support in  the province.

Hendrie Valley Trails: An Ecological Haven

I had been wanting to go back to do a longer walk since my last visit to the trails in the Royal Botanical Gardens. I made it back at the end of the summer. This was what I found  when I entered the grounds from Valley Inn Road with my walking group. The Laking Garden, which normally attracted many bird watchers, seemed quiet.

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It gave us a serene start to our walk without the fowls fluttering on the surface of the water. We had the calming reflections all to ourselves.

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We entered  Grindstone Marshes Trail. It was unpaved, but footing was good. I think the trail is so named because there are thick marshes bordering the footpath.

The vegetation was so tall that anyone walking on the boardwalk and the bridge would find it hard to distinguish whether it was water or ground underneath the weeds and marshes.

One of us with a keen eye spotted a flattened patch and pointed out to us that probably a herd of deer had gone over this area.

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Grindstone Marsh Trail joined North Bridle Trail. We left the marshland and were now walking on narrow paths. We tried to look out for the much publicized bald eagles and their nest, but they were nowhere in sight. The Royal Botanical Garden was careful not to specify their exact location in view of public interests in this rare specie. The path took us to Creek Side Walk which ran along Grindstone Creek.

There was more uphill and downhill in this area but on a late summer day like this we were well protected from the sun. We emerged from Creek Side Walk to the residential area along Unsworth Avenue, where we could follow the city streets to end our walk.

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Thursday Special: My 200th Blog Post

I celebrate my 200th post to-day with a link to my first post. I also submit this post to Thursday Special, that Paula of Lost in Translation has set up. I entitled my first post “Impossible? Possible!” It was the banner in the photo that gave me the inspiration to start blogging, and the words also reflected my determination to power walk to bring health to my life. Blogging and power walking are now two activities that I engage in regularly, together with my other passions–reading, food, and music and art.

I was standing under the same banner at the start line of the Sporting Life 10K earlier this year in May and took a picture of it myself. It dawned on me too that I had been blogging for one year. These two activities have enabled me to connect with many lovely people, who have shared with me their interests and their lives. They have broadened my perspectives, challenged my usual way of thinking, and in short, they have enriched my life.

My walking friends have supported me through races and hikes. I have covered distances that I have never dreamt that I am capable of doing. They have also given me the privilege to share their blessings and joys, as well as trial and tribulations. Without walking with them, and being part of their non-walking related activities, about half of the contents of this blog would have been missing.

My blogging friends (yes, although we have never met, yet I consider you my friends) are generous and embracing. They open their world to me. Their posts have made me laugh, made me cry or rendered me speechless in awe.  I learn about books, movies, music, crafts and hikes, as well as classics. Their blogs have taught me how to take pictures, how to write and how to cook. They help me update my bucket list of things to do and places to go. They have offered me comments and “likes” that have encouraged me to keep blogging better posts. The benefits I have derived are too numerous to count.

Now that I have reached the 200th post mark, I want to take this opportunity to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

This blogging milestone is making me reflective, but not sentimental. I am determined to live by the Tagline of this blog to “age with peace of mind”. I have made a choice to appreciate my blessings in the vicissitudes of life. I have likened races as a metaphor of life. Walking and Blogging are part of my Life. Thank you for celebrating my 200th post with me–if you reach this far–and so, let us walk on and blog on.

For other Thursday Special posts this week, check out: Lost in Translation.

 

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A Terry Fox Legacy: Terry Fox Run 2013

1-IMG_1839One of the first things every school child in Canada learns is that Terry Fox is a Canadian hero. The Terry Fox Run every year in mid-September also draws crowds from every city across the country to raise funds for the Terry Fox Foundation, set up in memory of Fox to support cancer research. This event has also become worldwide, and millions of participants in some 60 countries come out for the Terry Fox Run.

Terry Fox’s story has become a legend. When he was only 19 years old, Fox’s right leg was amputated after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. He was a distance runner and continued to run with an artificial leg. In 1980, he embarked on a cross-Canada Marathon of Hope to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. His noble endeavour to run a marathon distance every day was sadly cut short when it was found that cancer had spread to his lungs. He had reached Thunder Bay, Ontario, after walking for 143 days from St. John’s Newfoundland . He died nine months later. His effort has resulted in the establishment of the Terry Fox Foundation in 1981 to carry on his dream.

I was with a group of friends in the recent Terry Fox Run. We power-walked a 5 Km distance in memory of a walking buddy who lost his battle to cancer. It was a beautiful day, and everybody at our walk location, Coronation Park in Oakville, ON, was upbeat and excited about the walk.

There were a festive atmosphere around. Stores were selling souvenir items. The cheerleaders were all already to go. The first group to head out at the start line were children on their bikes.

Then came the runners and walkers doing 1 Km, 5 Km and 10 Km, and of course our pets could take part too!

As the Terry Fox Foundation website has put it, this is a “non-competitive and all-inclusive” event. We can run or walk at our own pace, and the most important part is to remember our loved ones who have lost the battle to  cancer, pray for those under treatment or in remission, and to cherish the hope that one day the disease will find a cure.

Nothing was better for our team at the end of the walk than to enjoy a snack at our team table.

We shall see each other again next year!

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An Ecological Walk in the Royal Botanical Gardens

The Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System is Canada’s newest urban ecopark. It is ‘urban’, because it is situated in a fast growing residential and re-developed area between Burlington and Hamilton in Ontario. It is an ‘ecopark’, because it is an area designed to preserve, restore and protect the natural lands in this western part of the province. It has taken seven years of planning and the Park has been open since June this year. Work is still continuing to reconnect the natural areas in this region that have been fragmented by roads, rail tracks that has come into existence as a result of urbanization.

I enter from Cherry Hill Gate on Plains Road in Burlington, and I am in the grounds of the Royal Botanical Gardens.

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In front of me is a downhill trail and I cannot believe that the air already breathes cleaner and fresher once I walk into the shades . A colony of chipmunks has been breeding in this area and they take no notice of people when they scurry across the trail and in and out of their burrows, with their dollar-size openings on the grounds.

Fallen trees are kept as long as they do not create an obstacle on the trail.

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I take an incline–unpaved, with exposed roots but firm footing–and turn into an area of marshland.

The water may look mirky, but the marshland is home to many species of insects and wild life. I feel pretty lucky to spot a muskrat and get a picture of it.

Crossing the boardwalk, I arrive at a big pond rich in vegetation, like the water lilies. Take a closer look and one can see many insects such as water roaches, dragon flies and many others that I wish I could give their names.

My walk today is short loop from Cherry Hill Gate, and take up part of the North Bridle Trail, and then Grindstone Marsh Trail to return to Hendrie Park of the Royal Botanical Gardens. It is an easy forty-five minutes’ reconnaissance stroll. I’ll be back for more.

Hiking on Toronto Islands

If you are looking for a place for a walk or hike in downtown Toronto, you should go to Toronto Islands. Toronto Islands are a group of small islands off Toronto Harbour. The islands are off-limits to public traffic and are accessible only by ferries from the pier at the base of Bay Street, south of Union Station.

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This is where our journey begin. My hiking group takes the vehicular ferry, which carries services vehicles and cyclists across to Hanlan’s Point. I look back at the city and get a good view of how the CN Tower dominates the skyline. The sky is blue and it is a beautiful day for a hike.

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We approach the Hanlan’s Point docking area and on landing, the statute of Edward Hanlan in his swimming trunk and holding his rowing paddle greets us to his home. (I have since looked up on who Hanlan was. He won five world sculling championships consecutively between 1880 and 1884 and therefore probably deserved to be remembered by this larger than life-size statue.)

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Our group head across the grass towards the sandy path which takes us to Hanlan’s Point Beach.

During this hike, we either walk on the beach on the south side Centre Island, the biggest of the islands or keep to any path that runs along the shore, which sadly has taken the toll of erosion due to its exposure. Slabs of stone are piled up on some beaches to break up the waves as a preventative measure.

When we reach the “clothing optional area” (aka the nudist section of Hanlan’s Point Beach), we hurry on so as not to disturb the naturists who are sunbathing on the beach. To be honest, I much prefer the view towards the horizon.

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We are back walking on the path (Lakeshore Avenue) and shortly after we pass Gilbraltar Point Lighthouse, the look-out pier is in sight with its stone dyke –another measure to protect the shoreline.

This is time for a break–we stroll on the viewing platform and enjoy our packed lunch by the ponds in the garden.

Then it is time to pick up the pace again. It is a pleasant walk on the Broadwalk, which leads us to Ward’s Island at the far eastern end of the islands. From this direction, I can see planes taking off and landing at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which is used by private aircraft and Porter’s Airline.

On Ward’s Island is one of the two residential areas–the other is on Algonquin Island–on Toronto Islands. It is disappointing to see some houses that badly need attention and repairs, but one has to look into the history of the governance of the properties on the Islands, an anomaly which will shock many people.

But don’t drag me into politics; let me enjoy and complete my hike. It does not take long to reach the ferry dock at Ward’s Island, and I can take a ferry for passengers. By now, the sky has changed and is clouding over. I am glad our group has completed our hike under the best condition one could hope for.

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Related Post for another city hike:
Hiking on City Trails in Oakville: https://opallaontrails.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/hiking-on-city-trails-in-oakville/

The River and Bridge Walk in Saskatoon

Saskatoon is known as the City of Bridges. My favourite walking route is along the South Saskatchewan River between Broadway Bridge and Railway Bridge. On this walk, I am going to take you through the most scenic part of Saskatoon, which also forms part of the route of the Saskatoon Marathon and Half Marathon, in case you want to race there one day.

I begin my walk through a nice residential area near the Royal University Hospital to Broadway, which is considered to be a “hip” area of town and I arrive at  the Broadway Bridge.

Looking south, I see the Victoria Bridge (also known as the Iron Bridge) which is now closed to traffic due to its age. Looking over the bridge on the river bank, I see some painted stones. University Bridge is to my north. The Meevasin Trail runs on both sides of the river bank. I cross the bridge to the west bank of the river.

I am on Spadina Crescent East. I have chosen to walk on the tree-lined sidewalk by the Kiwanis Memorial Park to look at some city sights to reach the Bessborough Hotel. The Meevasin Valley Trail runs through the park, but at this time of the summer, tents have been set up in the park for the outdoor Shakespeare production and I decide not to go into the park.

I press on, past the Ukrainian Museum of Canada, and take the underpass of the University Bridge to avoid the intricate network of pedestrian crossings to continue on Spadina Crescent East. On my right is a residential area and on the left is the river overlooking the University of Saskatchewan campus. The Mendel Museum is my next landmark. This is the best part of the walk: I inhale the air imbued with morning freshness and slow down to admire the ancient trees with a canopy of leaves looking emerald green after the rain from the night before.

The next bridge I reach is the Railway Bridge at the Meevasin Waterworks. I walk on the bridge to take some pictures of the very full river–Saskatoon is lucky enough to escape the flood that has created havoc in Calgary since a month ago.

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This is my turn around point. I do not cross over to the other side of the river to use the trail by the university campus, because it is more deserted. I decide to walk on the trail on the same bank I have come up and it is better maintained.

University Bridge is in sight. A monument marks the ramp to the Bridge. By this time, the sun has come out. I take a look towards the Broadway Bridge, and another look at the Railway Bridge to absorb the scenery. I  say goodbye to the river the bridges and return home on another tree-lined residential avenue.

Walking in the Footsteps of Laura Secord: A Bicentennial Hike

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I usually think of chocolates when I think of Laura Secord. However, the Laura Secord hike organized by the Niagara Club of the Bruce Trail takes us back into Canadian history. The British and the Americans were fighting in the War of 1812. Laura Secord, neé Ingorsoll, was born in Massachusetts, U.S.A.  She moved with her Loyalist family (Americans who supported the British during the American Revolutionary War) to Upper Canada (now Ontario). She married James Secord and lived in the small village of Queenston in the Niagara Region.

One day in June 1913, Laura Secord overheard some American soldiers who came to her house talking about the plan of a surprise attack on the British soldiers in Beaver Dams. She set foot on a 32 Km (20 miles) journey, arriving at De Cew House on June 22, 1813 to warn Lieutenant Fitzgibbon about the American ploy.  Two days later, the British defeated the American at the Battle of Beaver Dams.

To commemorate Laura Secord’s walk, the Niagara Club of the Bruce Trail Conservancy organizes a Laura Secord hike every year. This year is the Bicentennial Hike.

My husband and I arrived at the meeting place–car park of the Niagara Region office–at 5:45 a.m. to board a bus which took us to Laura Secord’s Homestead in Queenston to start the hike. The town was asleep, but the sun was up, and the town was adorned with flags to mark the bicentennial occasion. Around the corner of the Homestead, General Brock Column came into view. We began our climb up the stairs beside the printing museum. It was a couple of kilometres of hills to reach the Queenston Park, where there was also monument to remember Laura Secord.

The Bruce Trail Main Trail began here. Our journey was to follow the white blazers of the Main Trail until we get to De Cew House in St. Catharines.

There were so much to see on this hike. The terrains were variable, hence providing interesting challenges. The part I liked the least were the muddy downhills. Otherwise, I enjoyed the occasional leap over a water puddle or a stream, and an incline when my hiking stick became an asset. We came to a hill where everybody had to climb down carefully, due to the muddy slipperiness. It was a relief to overcome this steep slope!

We continued by climbing over a stile to enter a private property, came out to walk on city roads, and walked over a bridge which crossed the highway. We hiked on narrow country paths, past a swamp,  on the edge of people’s backyard and through the vineyards of Niagara.

We looked out for historical features along our route. Besides Laura Secord’s homestead, 1-IMG_1413 General Brock Column and the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum in Queenston, we walked through the Screaming Tunnel, which according to legend, a young girl died here and if you strike a match inside the tunnel, you’ll hear her screaming. The tunnel was dark and wet. There was such a eerie feel to it that we just hurried on.  For a few kilometres, we were walking along the banks of the Welland Canal. Only Canal #3 was in operation and to my delight, I came across a lift bridge, which had played a very important role in the industrial development of southern Ontario.

Our last lag was to hike around the campus of Brock University. When finally we saw the grounds of De Cew House of which only the relics of the foundation remained, we picked up our pace to cross the river, and were received by Laura Secord and her friend.

It was a long hike and it took us over six hours to complete the 32 Kilometres. The Niagara Bruce Trail Club provided the hikers with a wholesome lunch at De Cew House, and very hospitable reception on all the four check points. The greatest reward at the end of the day was the badge of the Laura Secord Bicentennial Hike to sew on my backpack.

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Vierdaagse: A Four-Day Evening Walk, Dutch Style

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The location was Dundas Valley Conservation Park in Dundas, Ontario. The time was the second week of June 2013. This was my first Vierdaagse (meaning a four-day event in Dutch), which was into its 23rd year organized by the Dutch community in our region. It has been a tradition in Holland to have a four-day walking challenge in mid-July every year in Nijmegen. It started in 1908 with a goal to promote sports and exercises. Depending on age groups, people walk 30, 40 or 50 Km each day over four  consecutive days. The Canadian 4-day evening walk event is more a symbolic version with a choice of a long (10 Km) and a short (5 Km) walk every day. Participants came out on four evenings to do the walk.

There was a sea of orange (the Dutch national colour) at the start line. When the bugle (allegedly the horn from a Dutch canal boat) sounded, walkers headed out on their respective routes. I walked the long distance on Day 1 and Day 3, and the short distance on Day 2 and 4. The longer route took us into the forest of Dundas Valley, which was shaded. The route was marked by orange ribbons tied on the branches of the trees. The short route was along the Rail Trail, from the Trail Centre to Sanctuary Park and return, and it was flat and straight. The weather was not the most co-operative, especially on the first day, but it did not seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the people who had come out, many bringing children with them.

There were sightings of deer every evening, but I was only lucky enough to capture one of them on my iPhone on the last evening. Due to the rain, the fungi were rampant on the trail and many people stopped to take a picture of this big one growing on a tree trunk.

Back in the centre, there was a stall selling Dutch treats, such as pooffertjes–tiny pancakes brushed with butter and sprinkled with icing sugar– and croquettes. I tasted the pooffertjes for the first time. Yes, there was a “poof” sensation when I put it in my mouth!

At the end of the fourth evening, I was awarded my badge and a souvenir. Printed on it was “1” signifying that it was my first walk. Looking around, there were people who have done over ten years and one person with “19” on his badge. I’ll try to be back next year!

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Sporting Life 10K: Racing with 27,000 Athletes on Yonge Street

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About a year ago, I wrote my first blog post with a picture taken by my walking coach Lee Scott at the start line of the Sporting Life 10K race. This year, on May 12, 2013, I was standing behind the same start line with the banner over me. I was among the 27,000 participants getting ready to race down Yonge Street to raise funds for Camp Oochigeas, a camp in Muskoka for children with cancer.

The cold air that snapped back in mid-Spring did not chill the enthusiasm of the participants most of whom were dressed appropriately to come out early in the morning, warm enough to stand around waiting and yet not to get overheated when they were well into the race. There was a mix of short sleeves and long sleeves, plus of course, the cut-out garbage bags, which would be discarded along the way.

Athletes started to arrive around 7 a,m. They either huddled under the  scaffolding of buildings or went into the Sporting Life shop or a Starbucks nearby to stay warm. By 7:45 a.m. everybody lined up at the corral to which each person was assigned based on expected finishing time.  I was a walker and so I waited in the Orange corral. The gun went off at 8 a.m. for the first wave of elite runners and those who intended to finish under 48 minutes (Red and Yellow corrals) to be followed by the Blue, Green, Purple and Orange waves, the last of which waited until 8:40 a.m.

An awesome sight appeared in front of me as I power walked down Yonge Street. It was a sea of people on the busiest and longest street in Toronto.1-IMG_1226

We started from between Eglinton and Lawrence, headed south and then turned west at Richmond. All the streets were closed to traffic. The sense of ownership of the roads without  cars was unspeakable. At the club district, we turned south along Peters Street, which looked asleep in the morning hours. We went west again on Front Street, then south on Bathhurst and the Finish Line was on Fort York Blvd. just west of Bathurst. We had live bands entertaining us at each kilometre mark.

After crossing the Finish Line, we were gathered at Coronation Park, where volunteers handed us the medal, and where refreshments were waiting. This year, Nike gave each participant a sticker that they could put on the Nike Wall, and Nike would donate $1 for each sticker, up to the amount of $10,000. This year, Sporting Life aimed to raise 2.4 million dollars for the Camp. The Sporting Life 10K now reigns as the second largest running race in Canada and the race with the largest charitable donations.

Hiking in Bronte in the Spring

After my recent icy and treacherous Spring hike, I decided to join an easier hike closer to the city by the Lake Ontario. We met at Corontation Park in Oakville and hike east towards Bronte.

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Our path followed the shore of Lake Ontario, passed through a quiet residential street and we went along Bronte Harbourfront. There are always interesting sightings on our hike, and for this morning,  two waterbirds have built their nest within the docking area.

After hiking along Lakeshore Road westbound, we turned north into Shell Park. It was still early spring and the flower beds were still bare. However, we saw a gorgeous sea of blue and it turned out the psilias were already in bloom!

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We got excited again when we spotted budding trilliums.

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The meandering trails in Shell Park took us through some plots leased out by the City to residents who wanted to grow their own vegetable gardens, and we saw some people already out to prepare the ground. There was an unusual object that we did not know what it was used for except that it had something to do with the pipeline for the gas to be sent to the Petro Canada Plant further down. We were essentially walking over the pipeline.

We made a turn towards Bronte Creek. The water level was high. When the Bronte Harbour came in sight again, it was almost close to returning to Coroation Park.  After all, It was an easy hike of 14 Km over flat terrain.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Walks Indoors or Outdoors

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The paved walk in the city centre of Sydney Australia opens my post today for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Walks Indoors or Outdoors. I love to travel on foot, because I can see more at my own pace.

Here is a side walk by Sydney Harbour.

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The the sidewalk on York Boulevard in  Hamilton, Ontario Canada.

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Country trails are my favourite, be it in Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

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And back to Austrlia, to the almost unwalkable trail in King’s Canyon

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Chasing The Waves On An Urban Hike

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I never expected my first hike this season would turn out to be so exciting and dramatic. Yes, it was meant to be an easy warm-up hike from downtown Burlington to the Lift Bridge and looping back. But surprise was awaiting…

We started off as planned from the car park of the Burlington Central Library, headed out on Seneca Street through a quiet residential neighbourhood and turned into the Centennial (Bike) Trail. We headed west towards Brant Street and turned towards the boardwalk along Spencer Smith Park. When we were nearing the lake, we could hear the sounds of waves, but  it was only when  we reached the boardwalk that we realized the impact of the waves fueled by the east wind which was blowing in full force.

When a couple of us saw the waves rushing on shore and making huge splashes over the boardwalk, we were ecstatic. I took out my cell phone and starting clicking frantically away.

The white crested walls started to swell one after another across the bay and approached the shore. The roar got louder and louder, and the waves hit the rocks making a serious of deafening cracks as they broke. The water splashes rose about five feet above the guard rail. It was spectacular! Had it not been for our hike leader urging us to move on, we would have stayed there moving back and forth the boardwalk chasing the waves.

Walking along the  Waterfront Trail bordering the Beachway Park we saw the marks left by the wind and sand on the shoreline.

The Lift Bridge was finally in sight, and I took another picture here contrasting the old and the new bridges that had grown up with the City of Burlington.

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It simply was too windy and dangerous to work out to the pier and the lighthouse. We bid farewell to Burlington Bay and made our way back along the beach.

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The waves were rolling onto shore relentlessly, while we left our footprints on the sand.

The wind and waves continued to howl  when we were back at the boardwalk. The sky had cleared.  I could not resist the temptation to record again this powerful display of nature’s might. Now I wish I had a video to record this sight as well as the symphony of the waves and wind.

Leaving the boardwalk, we stopped briefly to examine the bronze statue commemorating the local servicemen who perished, and navy and merchant fleets sunken and lost at sea in the Second World War. Having witnessed the force of the wind and waves this morning, I could only imagine the perils that our servicemen had experienced when they sacrificed their lives  .

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A Word A Week Photo Challenge: MUSIC

How is Music associated with an athletic event?

For this week’s A Word A Week Photo Challenge in Sue’s A Word In Your Ear (http://suellewellyn2011.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/a-word-a-week-challenge-music/ ), I think about the music that is heard on the race course of the Big Sur International Marathon, which is held annually on the third weekend of April. The power of music has never been demonstrated as convincingly in a marathon event as in the Big Sur.

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First the Taiko Drummers. They are like an establishment of the race. At Mile 10, athletes are beginning to climb the hill, and we all try to catch the sounds of the drums carried down the race course (Hwy One). Suddenly, there is the low hum and it is getting louder and louder. Our hearts are lifted. We pace ourselves to the beat until the drummers are in sight.  The sound of the drums and the surf provide the motivation I need to climb the hill to get up Hurricane Point.  In fact, most of us will just stop to take a photo of them or with them before moving on. (The above photo was taken in a historical year when the Bir Sur course was altered due to the collapse of the bridge. The Taiko drummers were positioned differently.)

1-BigSurPiano1-BigSurHarp

At Mile 13.1, there is the legendary pianist. Michael Martinez has been playing for several years now after he succeeded from the first pianist Jonathan Lee. Imagine the pianist coming out at about 4 a.m. in the morning, while the athletes are also being bused to the start line and he keeps playing for a good six hours when the athletes pass by him and take photos with him. On cold days, he had to play with his gloves on.

The harpist at about Mile 22 likes to dress in unusual costumes. However, she is often overlooked, because she is nearer the end of the race.  Athletes are getting tired and seem more attracted to the food and drinks at the water stations nearby than the music. However, I like the sound of the harp which gives me a fresh awakening to get on with my race.

Some people like to wear an MP3 to listen to music when they are racing. However, major marathon organizers discourage this for safety reasons. I never wear any ear buds. I play my music in my mind when I am racing. Better still, I look for live music on the race. The Big Sur music is the best. Together the breath-taking scenery of the Pacific Ocean, the music is luring me back to race again.