Dear Reader (2021-02-07),
Thursday February 4, 2021 – Grotto Canyon Trail – 8.2 km– out and back
I have these friends to whom I have been wanting to write, but it has been so long that I am hesitant to put words to ether. Much to say. Some will be said another day. Some will be said one day over bottles of wine, and trays of appetizers while we tell stories to each other. But to begin, let’s start 8 days ago when I emerged from 14 days of quarantine. I can walk again.
As you have already observed it has been a while, the season has changed, some roads are now closed along with some trails, and clothing choices are more important. Just as I began slowly last spring, today is a test-my-stuff walk. It is though still a new-to-me-walk.
Last night, I laid out my top and bottom layers, weighed myself, and made my list. Last year I got to the point where my list had only a couple of items. Last night’s list had nearly a dozen items. I’m out of practice. This morning it took me two hours to assemble my head and my gear. I’m out of practice. The Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) is mostly clear of snow as I drive west to the Seebe exit. The snow is blowing across the 1X. I have a moment of doubt as I question the wisdom of walking today. The trees shelter the parking lot for Groto Canyon just outside of Exshaw. It is now mid-morning, there is no wind, and the temperature is hovering around 0. I decide on two layers plus a shell. I thought it might be a snowshoe day. After a short reconnaissance I decide on boots and micro-spikes. Good choice. Snowshoes would have been a bad choice.
The trail is a funny one in that it doesn’t really have an end. Instead it has random turnaround points. Some turn around at the ice falls, which is about 2 km from the parking lot. Some turn around at the cave inhabited by a benign ogre with a fondness for grog. Other’s like myself walk about 4 km or so from the parking lot and then turn around.
Except for men between the ages of 27 and 32 travelling in packs, who are too self-important to acknowledge anyone else’s existence, people of all other stripes, races, genders, and ages are a pleasure to meet. I have nearly half a dozen socially distanced conversations with people who are thirsty like me for a new voice. As the walk progresses, I can feel the sweat being wicked away from my skin. When I get home I weigh myself. I lost a kilo of water.
As per last year’s conduct, I left April a rough idea of how long my exploration would take. When I texted her at the end of my walk from the parking lot, she was just beginning to wonder if she should start getting worried. I’m out of practice.
As always, all comments are welcome
The numbers: Grotto Canyon Trail; Total Walked 8.2 km; Elevation Gain 455m; Moving Time 2:25; Elapsed Time 3:06
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