December 24th, 2017, marked the beginning of my fiftieth circle of the sun. I was reluctant to embrace 50. It was such a large number and it didn’t match the spirit of the person I saw in the mirror. Just to be contrary I set out to prove 50 is the new 30 by drawing up a bucket list. Places to explore, events to participate in, accomplishments I could strive to achieve. My ambitions were lofty but seemed attainable. The itemized list of activities has been stuck to my fridge by a magnet for a year. Today I took it down and reviewed it.
How did I do, you ask?
I completed my series of posts on What Kenya Did To Me,- Kibera Part 1. It was mentally exhausting, challenged my emotions and I believe, made me a better writer.
I grunted and strained through leg-day workouts, pushed and pulled the pavement under foot as I chewed up mileage training for the 5-kilometer road race I signed up for. I had, on four previous occasions, taken part in the Johnny Miles running event weekend in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. My goal this year was to finish in the top five. I garnered a third place finish in the female masters category.
I added a lot of mileage to my truck as I set out to drive the entire Fundy coastline from St Andrews, New Brunswick to Brier Island, Nova Scotia. I produced posts and several series including Ministers Island, St Andrews, NB, National Historic Sites and Monuments, NB , Fundy National Park – Third Vault Falls, Joggins fossil cliffs- UNESCO WHS, I didn’t make it past Windsor Nova Scotia, so next year I will do Windsor to Brier Island.
I was overjoyed to entertain so many, as my readership reached over 1000, helped by the stories and photos that followed my travels around Cape Chignecto, starting with my Cape d’Or Lighthouse hike.
I defied the rain and wind to achieve a life-long dream of walking to the large rock cap at the end of Cape Split, Nova Scotia, Part of my many hiking/ training sessions I did en-route to preparing to climb to the summit of Mount Katahdin, Maine.
Then in July, the pièce-de-résistance: the out-and-back hike of the Fundy Foot Path, an 80-plus-kilometre remote wilderness trail that folds along the coastline. A continuous pattern of hiking torture: sea level to 300 metres then plunging back to sea level for the entire way.
The success of completing it in one direction should have extinguished my fire, however I was egged on by my hiking partner, who insisted it was only impressive, and worthy of boasting about, if I completed the yo-yo hike on my first attempt. The old adage “pride cometh before a fall” is accurate. And in my case, literal. Although writing a manuscript was not on my list of things to do, I am editing my first draft. Whether I do anything with it remains to be seen, but the deconstruction of how I came to be alone in the remote woods of New Brunswick with a broken leg, and how I survived, is quite a story – one I needed to tell so I could stop reliving it. This life-altering event is the reason I have been absent from travel blog writing since August, but I am hopeful next year I can resume my travels. And a big trip to Peru is in the works for May 2020.
With all I managed to check off my list, I did not get to cycle around Madalen Islands, or to travel the Gaspe Peninsula, nor to land on the shores of Newfoundland.
I did, however, live and I am proud of my courage and I am happy to say I have almost completely healed – physically anyway. Which leads to one last item that I can check off my bucket list: I have been cleared to return to work. After two years on disability, (originally due to shoulder surgery) I am once again a teaching fitness leader at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown.
Cheers to 51, may it be a happy healthy year for me. Merry Christmas everyone.
Happy travels from Maritime Mac.