A few weeks ago, I suggested that my goal was to be able to walk, comfortably, 32 kilometres (or 20 miles). Yesterday I walked a little farther than that. But comfortably? I’ve got a lot of walking to do before I’ll be able to say I’m comfortable walking that distance.
My plan was to walk through the university (I had a meeting there) and down to Old 16 Road, which I’d follow as far as the Cowessess Gas and Grocery (along the route Trevor Herriot took on the walk he wrote about in his wonderful book, The Road is How). When I got to the gas station, I’d eat lunch. Then I’d start walking back northwest towards home. And that’s what I did.
I walked this route two years ago, and I haven’t done it again, partly because I was apprehensive about the angry farm dog who lives near the bridge where Old 16 Road crosses Wascana Creek. And, sure enough, he was there, enraged that someone was trying to walk through what he considers to be his territory. But this time I was ready. I had a couple of dog biscuits in my pocket. My theory was that angry dogs could be calmed with treats. So when Mr. Farm Dog started growling and barking, I tossed him a Milk Bone. It worked! He ate it and wandered away. I didn’t take his picture, though, because I was too relieved, and surprised, that I got past him so easily. But I did take a picture of Wascana Creek, just on the other side of the bridge, where one lane has been closed for repairs.
Sadly, the Cowessess Gas and Grocery no longer sells bannock. “Yeah, the guy who used to make it moved away,” the fellow behind the counter told me. So I ate a Clif bar instead, along with one of the apples I’d put in my knapsack. Then I turned and headed back.
As soon as I could, I left the highway and walked through the city’s southeastern suburbs. When I did the same walk two years ago, I went along a footpath that runs through a long park. This time, though, I couldn’t find the footpath, so I walked along the sidewalk until I passed the Mormon temple behind its high steel fence. The golden figure on top of the temple is the Angel Moroni, who supposedly showed Joseph Smith where the golden plates on which the Book of Mormon was written. Apparently every one of their temples has the same sculpture on top of it.
I trudged over the bridge across the Ring Road and plodded through Wascana Park. Eventually, tired and sore, I got to a pub, where I had a drink and met Christine for a lift home. So I didn’t quite complete the entire circuit: I only walked 33 kilometres instead of the full 35 or 36 to complete the loop. And I can’t say I was comfortable. No, it’d be more accurate to say I was exhausted. Truth be told, I still am. I know it’s possible to walk that kind of distance day after day–when I was in Spain, walking the Camino de Santiago, that’s what I did–but I’m not ready to do it yet. I will be, though, before I leave for my next walk.That’s my new goal. I’ve got two months to reach it.