Monday, May 18, 2009

Boyne Provincial Park / Bruce Trail - a 5-hour hike

I took a week off to recover from the Mississauga ½ Marathon. The half was Sunday, May 10, 2009. I finished and was able to walk the 8km back to my car, but I fought with cramping in both calf muscles and a little soreness in my right hamstring. I had been training pretty hard for the past 3-4 months and had run a 30k and the half within 6 weeks. With the week after May 10 ending with the Victoria Day long weekend and no race in sight for about 3 weeks, it was the perfect time to put the running shoes away and put the beer drinking hat on!

Unfortunately, there was still work to deal with from Monday to Friday and, of course, Wednesday night featured the duo of Ultimate Frisbee and late night pickup hockey. So, it wasn’t totally a week off…

This morning, with the whole day ahead of me to myself, I felt like easing back into things and welcoming spring back to the trails. I headed up to Boyne Valley Provincial Park, which is a tract of land just North of the intersection of Hwy 10 and Hwy 89. For those that aren’t one of the 40,000 or so that live in Dufferin County, Ontario, that intersection is about 20km north of the town of Orangeville, Ontario, where I happen to live.

Boyne is an unmanned park with no comfort facilities. That alone is a feature because it keeps the weekend crowds from Toronto away. Since the Bruce Trail runs through the middle of it, obviously it’s a fair bit hilly due to the good old Niagara Escarpment. You can follow the Bruce for quite a distance before the single track gives up to country roads – today, I walked close to 2 hours from where I parked along the side of the road, just north of Primrose (10&89), before having to turn around because I ran into civilization.

There are a few different side loop trails that help add on the mileage while staying within the park. For the most part, the trails were in good condition. There were still a few muddy sections and not all the fallen trees had been cleared yet. The temperature was a cool 4 or 5 degrees when I started out but rose to the low teens near the end. The sun shone the whole time and the air was clear enough that the CN Tower could be seen from the highest point in the park (called ‘the pinnacle’).

My fuel for the hike? I started out the day with a mix of fresh vegetables sautéed in olive oil with marinated artichoke hearts mixed in. Along the trail, I drank from my 800ml bottle of water and snacked on a ‘Special K’ bar – kind of like a granola bar but make with ‘Special K’, I guess – on sale at Price Chopper this week!

This was the unofficial first event of the unofficial series of events taking place this summer, involving only me and known by only me (and you). The name that sticks in my head is the ‘Because I Can’ series. I want to bike the rail trails from Cambridge, ON to Hamilton, ON and back which would constitute a 160km ride or a century ride (100mi). I also want to walk from home to Bellfountain via as many trails as I can and back – this would be about a 40-50 km walk depending on the route. Those are the only two unofficial events that I’ve thought of so far, but the training alone for those two events will keep me pretty intense along with the more boring legitimate events that I may enter.

As I end this post, I am getting ready for an intimate hour alone with the weights. So, yes, it is very possible to put in a 5 hour hike (25-30km) and do weight training on the same day on a vegan diet! In fact, I also mowed the lawn as well, which can be a bigger chore than the other two combined!

Spare the animals. Save yourself.

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