Fall is a perfect time for a hike. The air is crisp, the trees are ablaze in their autumn colours and there are no mosquitoes to contend with. Our friend Julie, organizer of events, planned an outing where we would hike through a trail close to property once owned by her grandparents. Invitations were sent out and in the end twelve friends met at the trail’s entrance. It could not have been a better day for it, there was not a cloud in the sky and the air was comfortably cool. It was not a long or difficult trail to walk except for a network of tree roots that criss-crossed the path underfoot or rocks menacingly peeking through the earth so that you had to watch your step. I had my trusted walking cane, a broken branch I picked up on a hike many years ago. It is naturally ergonomically shaped - at least I think it is, because it has a natural curve in the middle of it and if you can believe it, it even has a handle. An expert might tell me that it is too long for my height but it has served me well providing me with support for my bad knee and balance and stability through tricky passages. We passed large coniferous forests, with their only pines at the top of the tall trees where they met the sun, and several vignettes along the way, one of which laid a plaque with a dedication to the Starkey family that once owned the land.
We walked in twos as the path did not allow for more than that, and you had to line single file when someone was coming from the opposite direction. I’ve always liked how when you pass perfect strangers on a hike you greet each other with a friendly hello, as this rarely happens on city streets. As we walked we enjoyed a nice conversation with whomever we were walking with, but as we walked along someone would inadvertently fall behind or move forward and you would have a new partner to speak with, so conversation was varied and interesting. Before we knew it, we had walked about four kilometers and we were back were we had started from.
We headed back to Rod and Julie’s for a pot luck lunch that included wonderful butternut squash & pear soup, a delicious spicy chicken chili, lasagna, a tasty artichoke and mushroom salad, pasta salad, coleslaw and Caesar salad and bread followed by a lovely pumpkin cheesecake, brownies and fresh apple cake and coffee.
By the end of the day we were already discussing next year’s hike.