All Trails Lead to…

I like walking, and not just the walks on a beach at sunset you might find popular in dating profiles.

I enjoy the solitary walks that give me space and time to gather my thoughts and ground my emotions in reality. I also enjoy walks with others, especially with my wife.

I have been fortunate enough to have the ability, physically and financially, to travel a bit after retirement. London, England is a favourite destination but this a love story for another time.

I came across an app for my phone called TubeWalker: Tube as in London subway, not as in YouTube. It has walks starting at every tube station on the public transportation system. I’ve enjoyed picking a station and discovering lesser-known parts of London. I never walk far from the station unless we head to the next tube station. Sometimes we are in a residential neighbourhood, sometimes a light industrial area – always fascinating to absorb at the speed of a walk.

One of the more astonishing walks occurred just off a frequently travelled highway between my hometown and Smithers, British Columbia. I had driven past it for decades but was too destination-focused to be interested in stopping at an ‘Ancient Forest’. It was probably one of those roadside rip-off attractions.

Well, the last time travelling that familiar route, I decided to stop and explore after it was recommended by my niece, whose opinions I highly respect and value.

We almost missed the sign. We entered the small parking lot and took a spot with the other half dozen cars. I took out my AllTrails app.

Disclaimer: I receive no compensation for mentioning the app.

AllTrails is what the name indicates. It shows trails in the broadest of definitions around the world.  I quickly found the head of the Ancient Forest trail just a few yards into the woods.

I’ve been curious about many off-road trails I’ve passed. You’ve probably noticed them with signs saying, a 2.3 km walk to the falls. Usually, there is a labyrinth of paths with many intersections I could take. I think I’ve been fearful of getting lost because of my curiosity.

But AllTrails gave me the confidence to give this trail a try. It is listed as 2.7 km with an elevation gain of 256 m. I can do that. As I walked, I could see the entire trail on my phone and my current location. Essentially a big circle with 2 off-shoots that were dead ends.

This walk was the most surprising and emotionally engaging of my life. With just a few yards of walking into an ordinary forest, I entered the ‘ancient forest.’ Many of these trees are over 1,000 years old! I won’t bore you with the definition of old vs ancient forest. But I was stunned. It was damp and quiet, and all around were trees that reached the sky with trunks many feet in circumference. The footing was excellent but, at times, a bit slippery. Purposely built steps were frequently available.

The only words to describe that experience are surprise, serene, and somehow hallowed ground ring true.

Please give this a bit of a think. What is one place on earth that is special for you and helps you emotionally recharge?

I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think in the comment section below. It will come to me for approval before posting.

Photo by Lois Love.

Click to learn more about this ancient forest

If you enjoyed The Blog, please share it with others. Thanks.

And my thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.

Volunteer Blogger

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *