Category Archives: Life in Ontario

MEC Race Series: June (5km #6)

Well June was here and even though there has been so much rain.  But today there was lots of sunshine that greeted all the runners for the 1/2 marathon, 10km and 5km courses…

Josefina and I were ready as we could be…honestly over my holidays I haven’t been running as much as I should have been.  I’ve been doing more hiking…but probably need to add a few more training runs into my routine. 

One thing I did learn which isn’t something that new… that I don’t like the heat…and really don’t like running in the heat any better! I’m excited that next month’s race in July… will be a wet one…with water and foam on the course for the Foam Fest Toronto!

Again so glad we are doing this together Josefina…we are 1/2 way through the year…6 races done 7 to go! Let’s finish this year strong.

Next Month: Foam Fest Toronto

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2017 quest…13 Races in 2017… (1per month and 2 in September) a baker’s dozen:

 

Caledon Hills Bruce Trail Club’s Historical Hiking Series: Hockley Valley Hike #2

Last week our ‘Take a Hike Group’ tackled the first hike and this week’s hike was in the Hockley Valley.  Last night our group of 12 started and finished Hike #2.  It was a fun hike, even though it was longer than we all expected…thank goodness for snacks that I brought along and was able to share!

If you are looking for details of the hike…here is the instructions (more can be found on the Caledon Hills Bruce Trail Club’s Website).

Hockley Valley Hike: Map 18

Distance: Approx. 10 km loop (but was more like 14 kms–that was a ‘fun’ surprise!!)

Park: In the parking lot on Hockley Road, just east of 2nd Line EHS.

Hike:

  •  West along Hockley Road using the Hockley Road Side Trail, to meet the main Trail as it enters the Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve
  • Follow the main Trail to km 62.5 and then take the Tom East Side Trail to the main Trail at km 64.7
  • Follow the main Trail to km 65.7 and take the Isabel East Side Trail
  • From km 66.5 of the main Trail, head back along the main trail to km 62.5
  • Return to the parking lot via the Hockley Road Side Trail

Photos Required: ’39 Chevy sedan; William Thomas Allen’s bench; Jeju Olle Trail Marker

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The funny thing about this hike was we kept looking for the “Jeju Olle Trail Marker” the whole time we were hiking…and NEVER saw it.  

However, once we were done and went through the photos Mira let us know that the marker was actually at the bottom of the photo that is below– in that blue frame close to the ground! (I even unaware snuck a selfie of it!) 
After all the rain we have been having it was a nice GREEN hike… so nice to see the flowers starting to pop up along the trail.

Some Historical Information about this hike was provided by the CHBTC. “This hike follows the route of the Jeju Olle Bruce Trail Friendship Trail, which is twinned with Route #2 of the Jeju Olle Trail in South Korea. Officially opened in September 2011, this friendship trail consists of the Tom East Side Trail, Isabel East Side Trail, Glen Cross Side Trail and the main Trail to form a 9.6 km double loop.”

We had a few ladders to climb up and over the fences. Usually a rule of thumb when hiking is not to touch nature when you don’t know what the little creatures are… turned out this little orange fellow would have caused problems for anyone picking it up!

This hike had heaps of UPS and DOWNS…guess that goes with the hike being in the “Caledon Hills”… LOL

The one thing I’ve come to love about hiking on the Bruce Trails is all the signage and maps along routes!  What an awesome place to hike with the trail marked so clearly.  …starting to get dark but this hike isn’t finished yet!  The rivers or probably more like creeks in the summer months were full of water… we have gotten so much water later!  Love me some moss on a tree.  

…this random photo below was a happy surprise when I edited my photos from my camera.  Mira was getting everyone lined up at the William Thomas Allen’s bench for our required photo! 

Some more historical info about this spot on the trail.

“As you travel along the Isabel East Side Trail be sure to take a few minutes to pause and sit on the bench that overlooks the meadow. A few years ago Laurence Christie, long-time Caledon Hills volunteer, built this bench because it was one of his favourite view spots, especially in the late afternoon. It was also constructed to honour the farmer who worked on this land in the early 1900s. William Thomas Allen, along with his wife Minnie, bought the farm where our trail passes through in 1914. William operated a threshing machine business for over 40 years and was regarded by many to Photo: Hockley Valley Nature Reserve Trailhead Sign be a good friend and a wonderful neighbour. All that remains of the farm now are the foundation stones of the old barn; a depression in the ground where the house likely stood, beside which are a few lilacs; and out in the farm meadow beside our trail, the remains of the old binder rusting away in the sumacs. The dedication on the bench is to William Thomas Allen (1873-1947).”

Photo Credit: Mira Budd Photography

Photo Credit: Mira Budd Photography

Walking along this path, and sitting for a moment on the bench really made me think about the farmers that worked to clear this land and farm it.  What a hard go they must have had to make a life…but with views like this it was sure to be rewarding!

We were all excited to see the ’39 Sedan on the trail (because that meant the hike was almost over!) 
Here’s some info around the car…

“The abandoned car that you’ll come across as you return on the main Trail has long been a topic of discussion amongst hikers. Where exactly did it come from, and how did it get to where it currently rests? Thanks to club archivist Helen Billing, we’ve recently come across an article penned by Bill Taylor, which reveals the origins of this ’39 Chevy sedan. Prior to the creation of the Hockley Valley Nature Reserve in the 1970’s, this part of the Nature Reserve was owned and farmed by the Nevett family. The car in question was purchased by the family in approximately 1951, and was used until it broke down on the way home from a family vacation in the summer of 1956. Stored in the barnyard for a few years, the car came to its current resting place sometime between 1959 and1961. With ways to dispose of unwanted vehicles limited at that time, moving cars and broken down machinery out of sight and out mind was a common practice (which you’ll notice as you hike the length of the Bruce Trail).”

Photo Credit: Mira Budd Photography

We were so excited to finish this 14 km hike… instead of taking 2 hours…it was more just over 4 hours! However, I wouldn’t have wanted to hike with anyone else but my “Take A Hike” friends. Hike #3 & #4 happen when I’m on holidays in Newfoundland…so will have to do those ones solo away from the Take A Hike group…but with other friends!

Caledon Hills Bruce Trail Club’s Historical Hiking Series: McLaren Road Side Trail Loop Hike #1

It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to join a hike with the “Take a HIKE” Caledon Ladies Hiking and Meet up Group.  But I have enjoyed the past times I’ve met up with the ladies to hike, and do yoga! So I was thrilled when a few weeks ago Mira, our group organizer extraordinaire, posted the Facebook Group about how the Caledon Hills Bruce Trail Club  had created a Historical Hike Series to celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday.   It is a series of 5 hikes you need to complete, either on your own…or in a group and taking photos at certain spots along the trail.  After completing all of the hikes you will receive a Canada 150 Historical Hikes Badge. Now the girl-guide in me was like…this will be fun, and I get a badge…even better! I quickly signed up along with 14 others our ‘Take a Hike’ group.  (I will have to do 2 of the hikes solo or with other friends since I will be on holidays and not available to hike with the rest of the group…but that’s not going to stop me!)

If you are looking for details of the hike…here is the instructions (more can be found on the Caledon Hills Bruce Trail Club’s Website (link above).

McLaren Road Side Trail Loop Hike: Maps 14 &15 Distance: Approx. 11 km loop

Park: Roadside parking on Forks of the Credit Road near Dominion Street (km 8.8)

Hike:
• Along Dominion Street to km 10.0
• Take the Dorothy Medhurst Side Trail to km 15.7 of the main Trail
• Follow the main Trail to km 16.8 and then take the McLaren Road Side Trail to km 5.1 of the main Trail
• Follow the main Trail back to the roadside parking along Forks of the Credit Rd.

Optional: If you are interested, check out the Ring Kiln Side Trail before heading back to your car (km 8.2).

Photos Required: Photo from Dominion St. Bridge; selfie with the Lime Kiln (optional)

It honestly was so much fun to head out and go for a hike.  I’ve been on holidays since the beginning of the month and it was fun to go and explore a new part of Ontario that I haven’t spent much time in. I can’t wait to go back and explore some more of this area.

Our first group photo at the Dominion St. bridge!

Photo Credit: Mira Budd Photography

Off we went… I know with hiking there’s hills involved, but man oh man…this first hill nearly did me in.  I have been running fairly consistently this year…but haven’t started to do any running or training on hills…I hate them! (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…) 

Stops along the trail…are always welcome after a hill climb! 

It was so lovely to talk and get to know some of the other ladies in the group. I look forward to getting to know everyone a bit better on our next 4 hikes together for this challenge and beyond. 

It was really nice as soon as I got to the starting point and jumped out of my car…there was a “Hi Sarah, good to see you…been a long time!” I realized it really is nice to belong in a group and it had been too long of a time since I’ve hiked with the group. 

Near the end of the hike… the group was faced with more stairs!!! But to be honest…it was worth the effort to see the Hoffman Lime Kiln.

A break between the stair-master-climbing-session…was a photo op on the railroad tracks!

Then more climbing…but one awesome thing hiking on the Bruce Trails is how marked the paths are, and often had wooden stairs and sometimes rope hand rails to help make it so much easier to get up and down the hills!

Mira is awesome and stopped us a few times for group photo ops! (Which always makes me happy…because I love a good group photo!)

Photo Credit: Mira Budd Photography

“The Hoffman Lime Kiln was constructed in 1896 with 12 draw kilns and was approximately 30metres long and 15 metres wide.  The chimney base supported a chimney that reached over 30 metres into the sky, and the entire kiln complex was housed in a protective outer building.”

Below you can see the remnant of the chimney on the left and the ring kiln on the right.

” How did the Lime Kiln work? Blocks of dolostone (a type of limestone) were loaded into the kiln through the large openings, called wickets, around the outside of the kiln. The internal ring was divided into 12 burning chambers that operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and the temperature inside each chamber could be individually regulated.

Each chamber within the kiln was at a different stage in the processing of the limestone. One chamber could be loaded with fresh limestone while another chamber could be emptied of the lumps of lime ready for sale.

The lump lime extracted from the kiln was loaded onto trains at a siding beside the kiln and taken to local markets for use in construction industry and agriculture.”

“Sandstone quarried at the Forks of the Credit during the late 1880s and early 1890s was used to build the Legislative Assembly of Ontario Building of Queens Park in Toronto.”

Photo Credit: Mira Budd Photography

The look of pure happiness to have come down 1/2 the stairs…but so happy to have explored a cool site!

This was a really cool house, that was converted school house from 1884 into a home…and there had been an addition that happened in 2015 but they matched the brick perfectly.  Seeing bits of history like this restored and repurposed always makes my heart smile.

It was a fabulous evening hike that took about 2 1/2 hours.  Thanks so much Mira for organzing these hikes with the “Take a Hike” group…and to the Caledon Hills Bruce Trail Club for making a fun hiking challenge for Canada’s 150 Birthday!

Mira also blogged some photos from the hike on her Lifeology 101 Blog check it out here! 

Toronto Marathon: May (5km #5)

Friday night I drove into Toronto to pick up my 5km race bib/shirt as well as Keenan’s for the marathon. The reason being…we had a bunch of fun and adventure piled into Saturday and I didn’t want to add picking up race kits to that adventure!

I decided to run the 5km race at the Toronto Marathon–instead of the MEC Race Series 5km race the following weekend for two reasons.  The first one being that next weekend I was in Haliburton for my sister-in-law’s fundraising dinner on the Friday night and going to a cousin’s Jack and Jill on the Sunday night—then it was Mother’s Day and wanted to celebrate with my mum… and not have to rush back to Toronto to do a 5km race.  The other BIG reason was my friend from Colorado was coming to run the Toronto Marathon…and I decided it would be really cool to also run a race in that event! (since I was going to be there to drop him off…and stick around ’til he crossed the finish line!) But that meant I had to ditch Josefina for May’s race.. (sorry Fina… I’ll be there for every other race though… I promise!)
It was an early start on Sunday morning… I had to drop off Keenan for his bus to pick him up and take him to the start line by 6:15am…and it was a 45 min drive into Toronto…thank goodness it was a Sunday morning and there wasn’t any traffic.  (My race didn’t start until 8 something)…However, the night before I had insomnia and couldn’t sleep… I think I fell asleep at some point around 3:30am and woke up just before 5am.  (I knew in my heart of hearts this wouldn’t be the day to beat a PR…I just had to put one step in front of the other..and finish this thing!) 

I finished.. with an ‘ok’ time… must admit did more walking intervals than running.  But it was cold and I was going on little sleep… so was pretty excited that I finished this thing! Was able to catch Keenan about 1/2 way through the marathon… the last leg was along the lake…he had a horrible head wind that he was running into!

Keenan finished marathon #89…you can read about his run here.  After he crossed the finish line we posed for a photo with the Toronto Skyline behind us… I must admit I had a bit of medal envy.  I guess I hadn’t really looked at the different medals for races in the same event before…but seriously can you see the SIZE of that marathon medal? Makes me want to get one of those… some day I’ll do a marathon…but probably not tomorrow.

It was awesome to run a race in the same event as you Keenan as your running and marathon streak of over 3 years… has been pretty inspiring and has made me want to join that club! 

Next Month: MEC Race Series Race #4… at Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto

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2017 quest…13 Races in 2017… (1per month and 2 in September) a baker’s dozen:

Exploring Niagara Falls…

Friday night I was at the airport…waiting for an International Arrival.  Keenan was coming to Toronto to run the Toronto Marathon (#3 in Canada and #89 overall!) His flights were delayed but then returned to scheduled time… it was a late pick up… around midnight, but I was happy to see him walk out the doors!

After we found my car… I surprised him and said we weren’t heading to my place in Georgetown…but instead Niagara Falls! We arrived just after 2am… and headed to sleep.  The next morning Keenan got up for his daily run beside the falls… then came back and got ready to take on the day’s adventures. 

I had never been on the Hornblower (the Maid of the Mist only now runs on the American side of the falls).  So our first thing we did was grab tickets and head out towards the falls.  SO MUCH FUN! It was a cloudy kind of day… and there was some additional mist from the falls made it a wet trip!
We got to all put on our ‘pinkish-red’ ponchos and enjoy the ride… 

My camera may have gotten a bit wet… and after this shot put it away for a bit.   The falls are so spectacular. Such a fun place to visit. I must admit it’s probably my only 3rd or 4th visit.  

We did catch two people zip-lining down to the water… what a view!
The flowers were out…and so pretty… 

We stopped along the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) for an impromptu pull off… Keenan wanted to see Lake Ontario… and then we passed this boat. Thanks Keenan for doing the research about this boat because I had no clue what it was…or why it was there!

The Grounded Ship was a replica of the Grand Hermie used by Jacques Cartier in 1535-1536 and 1541-1542 to explore Canada. This ship was built in 1967 for Expo 67 [in Montreal] as part of the nautical theme as Expo 67 which was on islands in the St. Lawrence Seaway.  The ship was taken to Quebec City and abandoned in 2001. 

After a stop and a nap at my apartment in Georgetown…we got dressed up for dinner at the CN Tower in Toronto! 

What a fun way to see the city…and enjoy some pretty awesome food.  We lucked out and the view was pretty clear—the clouds didn’t stop us for seeing things.  

After dinner we headed downstairs for a quick walk on the glass floor… then it was time to head home to get to bed! We had to be up early for the marathon on Sunday. Whirl-wind weekend visits have to come to an end…but there was still one more day!  If you want to see Keenan’s blog and story from the day you can check it out here. 

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