Yesterday I did something I haven’t done since 2016 and that was walk a trail at the Irving Nature Park. Over the past few years, I would drive there and sit and watch movies, but never actually walked a trail. Even before now the Sheldon’s Point Loop was the only trail I had completed.
Like most trips, it started by going to my favourite parking lot and watching a movie. I was watching the Showtime documentary Belushi on the Crave TV app. It is an amazingly good telling of the life of the legendary comedian John Belushi. After the movie I had noticed the sign say the trail was only 0.5km. Given my condition, I thought it was doable, although to be honest I have been incredibly afraid of exploring the wilderness on my own. It should come of no surprise I don’t have many friends at all. Even fewer are those that will actually go exploring when I fell the spout of motivation. Thus, I was to take the journey alone.
Due to the pandemic the wilderness trails are currently one-way and where I was, was near the end. I started walking along the road until I picked up the start of the path. There was a nice set of stairs that went down to the beach. I wanted to go down but knowing the quest I was on and in my head, it was going to be a massive undertaking and the voice in my head told me I shouldn’t risk it.
I followed this pat until the first bridge, and by bridge, it is three steady wide boards laying on wet ground with just a little movement as the bowed under my immeasurable weight from above. It is raised about 20-30cm above the ground. This platform also curves around the natual features and had no end in sight. It then occurs to me that if I trip, I’m done for. If I lose balance, I’m done for. If my leg loses feeling and my ability to control my knee and I fall over. I’m done for. It is at this moment that the panic starts to set in that I’m totally alone, with no help, only myself to count on. I can’t fail, I can’t rest, I can’t lean on a tree, I can’t run from a wolf/bear/dear/goose. I must go on. The greatest sight was when I turned the corner and seen the end.
I knew that if I was to trip on a root, bash my head on a tree, get attacked by I coyote. I was now in a better spot than on that bridge. I walked a couple of metres more and so another reverse identical bridge and I was convinced I was losing it. Or was I going in circles and was this the bridge I just came from? I’m panicking looking at all the vegetation trying to remember if this was on the last bridge too? That is when I hear a voice from behind say “Hello” and frighten me so bad.
“I wasn’t trying to startle you, I just wanted you to know I was here.” This was the point the terror of being alone in the forest changed to the fear that I was going to faceplant and embarrass myself or inconvenience her by slowing her down on her nature walk. I was one foot in front of the other until I made it to the end, and as that bridge ended, I once again seen the parking lot and my beautiful car. I finished the trail and finally completed something. Not that it could possibly be considered a success yet.