Confessions of a Street Walker – part 28

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last five years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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‘Long time – no post’ about my walking project. I have still been out walking I just haven’t been confessing for a while. 

With the COVID restrictions in Ontario, it became my intention to stay as far away from other people as possible while I was meandering. The rural roads of Glanbrook have really been most pleasant to walk down. Most of the time I see no one and I never come even close to the physical distancing limits set by our province. Usually, it is just a wave to a fellow walker or, more frequently, a bicyclist. I try to give a brief wave of thanks for the vehicles who either slow down or move over to let me know that they see me. I feel a little hard to miss with my high-vis vest on but I am grateful for all of the considerate drivers out there. I confess that I occasionally have a properly distanced chat with a homeowner or fellow walker and people are always so kind.

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For much of the spring and now into the summer, I have mostly been wandering around Binbrook and Mount Hope and the other tiny hamlets that have been pretty much swallowed up by belonging to a larger municipality. Sometimes there is only a sign as the clue that the little cluster of houses for a stretch was a separate community – a small community but a community nonetheless. I have come across a number of the Haldimand and West Lincoln boundary signs which provide much satisfaction.

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Sometimes the map is wrong about the fact that the road is still a road. This one used to be a road but is no longer.

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Someone in Binbrook has a wonderful sense of humour.

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I estimate all of Glanbrook will be covered by September. The last road I will walk on to complete this part of the project is Glover Road. It is symbolic of beginnings as I will pass the first house we bought together just before we were married.

During our stage-one restrictions, we were not allowed to go to get our haircut. This was a challenge for me as I started to look and feel like a sheepdog.

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As the weather got better and the sun shone stronger I had to remember to put on sunscreen. I confess that one day I did not do that. I had worn a hat and the sun managed to give me a great horizontal tan line (more burnt than tanned at that point) on my forehead.

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This I solved, rather ingeniously, I think. I put sunscreen on the burnt lower half of my forehead so that the next walk would burn the top half of my forehead and – voila – my forehead was even again. 

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The difficult thing about country road walking has been finding a place to park. Most rural roads do not bode well to pulling your car over to the side of the shoulder and just leaving your vehicle whilst you traipse about for a couple of hours or more. Church parking lots have been convenient and a few businesses as well. I usually leave a note. I parked at Gourmet Meats last week, took a five-mile walk, and then went in to buy some really yummy steak kebabs for the weekend. I did find a lady on a local Facebook group who graciously allowed me to park in her driveway a couple of times. Thanks, Genevieve. 

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This whole walking project has allowed me to meet so many nice people. I chatted with this gentleman.

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He was waiting along Dickenson Road to watch the famed Lancaster airplane from WW2 take flight from the Warplane Heritage Museum. It is not often that you can see them fly. Truly a sight to behold.  

Next time I will give a rock report. Until then.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 26

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last five years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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So I have been filling out a HSR transit map to keep track of this walking project of mine. There have been a few maps that I have worn out and I have a little bit of tape holding the latest version together. It is fun to see the progress.

20160101_100258January 2016

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20170718_123137July 2017

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20180115_115816_HDR-1January 2018

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20181231_132406_1cropJanuary 2019

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20200102_125911January 2020

So far all of the streets of Hamilton and Stoney Creek are finished. I confess that I am working on an additional map that covers some of the rural roads of Ancaster that I have walked but those roads are not shown on the above map. The winter and bad weather does slow me down but I still try to get out there. The last couple of weeks I have been exploring Dundas – what a quaint community. We will see how far I will be able to walk this year. Looking forward to it.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 25

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last five years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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I was walking in Dundas a couple of days ago and thought I would take you along. You can tell that I do not walk fast.

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I started by parking at University Plaza. I had forgotten to eat breakfast and so thought I would try out the bagel place that I parked close to. They were open early and I ordered an egg salad bagel.

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It was yummy but even more delightful was the conversation that I had with the gentleman behind the counter. I told him about my walking project and he asked me why I was doing it. I replied that I guessed that it was a promise that I made myself and that it’s good to keep promises. He replied that we sometimes will keep promises when we make them to others but not always when we make them to ourselves. He said that it was good that I am keeping a promise that I made to myself. It was such an encouraging conversation. Because my walk was so long I confess that I went back for lunch and had a BLT bagel. Yummy.

There were a number of interesting things that I saw on that chilly and occasionally flurryish Thursday morning. Here are some of them.

20191205_085316Another friendly feline that I confess that I wanted to scoop up and take home.

20191205_112756There has to be another like it somewhere.

20191205_113539Loved this bench. It was just at the corner. Not at a bus stop. Just a bench at the corner.

20191205_105722_HDREspecially liked the elf legs sticking out of the back of the car in the driveway.
Chatted with the neighbour. Seems to me that nice folks live in Dundas.

20191205_112908Someone who lived there said that people always stop to take pictures.
Love this work of art.

20191205_113609_HDRAnother lovely lumpy tree.

I am enjoying Dundas very much. Thanks for coming along.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 24

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last five years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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So the weather here is getting colder and getting out there is getting harder. A couple of weeks ago there were no bare sidewalks around here but only slippery snow and ice-covered sidewalks of doom. I don’t walk on the country roads when the shoulders are sharing space with a two-foot-high snowbank. That snow is pretty much gone now but, now that we are heading into winter, the cold is something I need to prepare for when walking. I usually try to bundle up in layers.

I did get a fun walk in last week. I didn’t have time to drive 20 minutes to get to a street I haven’t walked on yet but still had to do my 10 miles. I decided to take some shorter walks and to try to make my walk a little bit entertaining for myself. So I tried GPS Art.

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I will confess that I wasn’t completely happy about how the ‘n’ turned out. I think I will need to incorporate some of Hamilton’s alleyways into my walk to create the proper effect. Either that or wander through people’s back yards and hop fences – which ain’t gonna happen.

I will probably try to figure out how to do some more of these. A friend told me I should write out the words of one of my short stories. Ha.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 23

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last five years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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I usually have a long walk in the early part of the week. I promised myself that I would walk ten miles a week and have done so for years now. This week I will not get to have a long walk until later in the week because I am busy grandma-ing.

Something that you might not know about me is that I am afraid of heights…or the fancy way to say it is that I am acrophobic. Bridges are sometimes hard for me to cross. I was once a passenger in a car where I trusted the driver with my life but I confess to you that I managed to cry my way over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida – stomach in knots and valiantly fighting the urge to jump out of a moving car. I envision the bridge collapsing just at the moment that I am crossing it. It hasn’t happened to me yet, but it could, yes?

I have found that some of the routes that wind their way up and down our escarpment are not really much better than bridges. While it was still nice out, I decided to walk on the country roads where I am mostly on the gravel shoulder. There are a few roads which traverse our escarpment and they are varying degrees of pedestrian-friendly. I decided to tackle two of them last Monday. One up and one down.

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So I went up Hwy 8 (it might be a regional road now) towards Greensville across Harvest Road and Fallsview and then down Sydenham Road back into Dundas. On my way up there was not a lot of gravel shoulder to walk on but there was a wonderful stone wall to walk alongside. I confess that I was a little disappointed to see that the stone wall was really just a fake front. 20190930_091153

On my way down Sydenham Road, I had to decide to walk on the cliff-side of the guard rail or the traffic-side of the guard rail.

I swallowed my fear and chose the cliff-side and walked quite a way down on a skinny little path when I came across a three-foot drop. It would have to be jumped across to get to the other side but Matt Damon – like the Bourne movie where he leaps from one building to another – I am not. I decided to go all the way back to the beginning of the guard rail and walk on the traffic side.

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There were quite a number of bicyclers going up and then down. Pumping their legs like machines to get up and then racing down at breakneck speeds. I was very impressed with their abilities.

There was a lovely lookout spot and I snapped a selfie.

20190930_115220_HDRNote to self: please try to remember to smile when the camera is on you. Especially when you are the one taking the picture.

20190930_121238I just fell in love with this tree.

20190930_083420_HDRI found another street with the same name as one of my kids. Glad that I can crop pictures because my chins were in the next postal code.

The next day I was stiff and sore from the escarpment climb but later in the week, I saw this in the news.

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I had walked on that very road the day before. AHHHHH. This did not help me with my fear of walking on escarpment roads.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 22

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last five years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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So, this morning, I finished up walking all of Stoney Creek. Stoney Creek is booming with construction so the caveat will be that by this time next year there will likely be more streets that I will have to cover to keep all of the Stoney Creek streets walked upon.  

As of today, this was the last bit left, so on went my shoes and I dodged orange pylons and landscaping trucks to finish the walk today.

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For those familiar with the area, the eastern section of my walk was in a conservation area known as the Eramosa Karst. There are lots of trails there and I hadn’t been there before. I will have to go back sometime to walk on some of the other trails and actually see the caves. It really was a pretty trail.

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Again, I saw some flora that I am unknowledgeable about. Does anyone out there know what these are?

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So, another finish line crossed over. And actually, it was a literal finish line. I confess that I saved the pennanty string of celebration from the Hamilton finish line and was able to make use of it again.

There were two construction people doing constructiony things and I was bold enough to stop them to ask if they would hold up my finish line so I could take a selfie. This is not a complicated task but I also did not want to interrupt their day. They were game and were kind enough to hold my finish line while I managed to snap a picture.

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Actually, the finish line would have been about 30 feet further but I was not going to ask my finish line holders to trot down the street 30 feet while holding my string of victory to make the picture the most accurate it could be. The picture snapped I wandered back to my car.

I confess I will miss Stoney Creek but now I am off to conquer some of Dundas and Ancaster. I have already done a good chunk of the built-up areas of both Dundas and Ancaster but the rural roads – of which there are plenty – remain unfilled in on my walking map. I am thinking that, as we are closer to winter than to spring, I will not get a lot of un-walked upon roads finished over the next half year. Lots of the roads do not have sidewalks but gravel shoulders and slushy snow and gravel shoulders do not make such great conditions to coddiwomple on. Still, I will get done what I can.  Looking forward to it.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 21

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It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last five years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

Earlier this week I came closer to finishing up the Upper Stoney Creek Mountain. Lots of this area was quite rural. What I noticed about rural is that there seemed to be so much more wildlife. When I parked the car on a dead-end street I saw a crane taking flight from a nearby pond and I saw a turkey wandering down a driveway.  Farms abound and I saw horses and cows and sheep and even alpacas.20190909_092955_1-COLLAGE

Heading back to the car I saw a cat. Most cats are scared of strangers but this one came running up to me so it could push its head against my legs. 20190909_100104After some very appreciated belly rubs (I rubbed the cat’s belly – not my own) it began to follow me. I was forced to ignore it and it eventually went up a driveway. Boy, I like friendly cats and I confess that this one made me want to pick it up and take it home. I didn’t, of course, but I wanted to.

The other wildlife I encountered was the buggy kind. Lots of hoppy, flying and crawling critters line country roads and so when a car would approach I would head towards the shoulder so I could walk as far away from the road as I could. The thing is – the closer I came to the weeds the more I stirred the frenzy of grasshoppers and other insecty creatures that were lying in wait ( I am sure ) ready to pounce. While I am not really that scared of most insects when they jump up towards my face I do tend to try, enthusiastically, to remove myself from their path. So, once again, my arms start flapping to keep the dreadful invaders away from my person.

I can’t say that the picture below is completely accurate ( I rarely wear necklaces) but it sure feels like it sometimes.c05133ee03e8f976b5e117ad9b85e41b_woman-running-from-a-swarm-of-bees-stock-illustration-_800-627

I confess that I wonder what passing motorists think.

Some mysteries were noted on this walk:

20190909_094848Is this a field of weeds or some sort of crop? There is hardly any other flora in the field and it does look like a cultivated crop. Anyone know?

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20190909_094019What is this? My guesses include a play structure, a farm implement, or an art sculpture. What is your best guess?

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20190909_093305_Burst01_1And how do these people park their car?

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How is this tree still alive?

It was such a nice area to walk in.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 20

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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Yesterday I managed to finish walking every street in lower Stoney Creek. The last street was the last part of a little cul-de-sac called Vanderwood Court (a bit of a nod to my Dutch heritage).  My transit map did not go to the farthest boundary so I added a piece of an old map to be sure that I had walked all the way to the Niagara Region.

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A man and his son were on their front lawn watching and when I explained what I was doing they made sure that I got a picture taken.

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I got to see some parts of Stoney Creek that I was not too familiar with:
-The Bur Oak on Cokers Road (see Confessions – part 16)
-Houses tucked up in the shadow of the escarpment
-That strange mystery bush on Reservoir Park Road (see Confessions – part 16)
-Fifty Point Conservation Area
-Beautiful homes looking out onto Lake Ontario and abandoned homes looking for someone with enough money to tear them down to make a bigger beautifuler houses
-Fruit businesses that were getting close to harvest time

I also walked past places that I have to put on my list to check out further as my walking project did not afford me the time to explore fully all of the interesting places that I passed by.
-Waterfalls and cascades that only seem to have access along trails
-Battlefield House – have not been inside yet
-Eco House on Ambrose – would love to work with them regarding The Soap Kitchen
-Josh Tiessen Gallery – Josh is a very talented painter. I have been a fan for many years.

I often parked at the Value Village on Queenston Road and would check it out when I finished walking. Or I would find a way to drop in on my way home. If I had a particularly long walk I would stop by the Denninger’s and get a ‘whistle dog’ for lunch. Yum.

I am hoping to have upper Stoney Creek done by the end of September although there are a few streets being built after I walked in that particular neighbourhood. I confess that I will have to do some hunting to catch them all. Most I have left is quite rural and I am enjoying those walks a lot. Looking forward to the next step.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 19

It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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I promised to reveal the mystery of the yellow bowl. I will attempt to do so.

On my walk last week down the rural roads of the Stoney Creek Mountain, I stumbled upon something that I found very interesting. There, by the side of the road was a yellow bowl. A big yellow bowl. Just sitting there next to the road. 

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I confess that I often see interesting things by the side of the road and I will have to confess further that if they are interesting enough I will bring them home. Sometimes I will bring along a bag and will pick up litter but, for the most part, I bring home things that I can use.  

*Anita climbs up on a soapbox* by the way, litter is such a disappointing thing to see because it seems so careless of people not to take the effort to put things where they belong – be it the garbage or the recycling. *Anita steps down from soapbox*

I once found a vase and a spoon that matched my silverware set. I found a nice sharp blue knife (try walking around with a sharp knife and try not to look suspicious or dangerous). I have found money – I have found two five-dollar bills and a ten-dollar bill on three separate occasions. I found a $100.00 American dollar bill that was trying very hard to be real but proved to be fake. I enjoy running across interesting things.

So when I happened upon the yellow bowl I thought I should take it home with me. My mother has another yellow bowl story that I will have to write about someday … but on with this story.

I was on the way back to the car and was not going to have to walk very far with this bright bowl of yellow so I picked it up. Sometimes these finds make me wonder how they got there. It’s like a mystery. Who owned it? How did it get there? Why did they no longer require the item? Was it set out for garbage collection on a very windy day? Was someone walking with the bowl and decided they didn’t want it anymore, and they just left it there by the side of the road? Did it blow off of the yellow bowl truck on it’s way to the yellow bowl convention?

Either way, I now possessed a bright yellow bowl and since possession is 9/10th of the law (or so they say) I walked down the road trying to look like everyone walking down the road should be clutching their own yellow bowl. I got maybe another 100 feet or so down the road and there was another yellow bowl. Exactly like the first one but I would have had to walk down into the ditch to retrieve it and so I left it there for some other walker who was yellow bowl-less. So another mystery and even more questions. Were the first yellow bowl and the second yellow bowl part of a set? Were they stolen property? Are the police searching for yellow bowl thieves?

I walked on further and spotted a couple of beer cans. I was going to be returning a box of beer bottles for the refund later that week and decided I would get the nickel that each can was worth. So I picked up two beer cans and put them in the yellow bowl. Ha! I just earned a whole dime. I turned onto Mud Street and was getting closer to my car. I then spotted another beer can and decided I would pick that one up too. Bad idea.

I pick it up and put it in the yellow bowl.  I looked down and I was mortified to see that from out of the beer can that I had just picked up was flowing MILLIONS of ants…ok, probably not millions … but there sure were a lot of them. Many, very many, lots.

ants traveling in a row

Pouring out of the can, very fastly, they began to crawl up my arm. It was a good thing it was so hot and humid out because my sweaty arm slowed down the ants’ progression. I was sure they were going to try to crawl their way into my body through my ears and mouth and nose so they could eat me alive. I had watched Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. I knew how this was all going to end. Oh, the horror.

What happened next happened rather quickly. I flung that yellow bowl, rather mightily, up into the air and it fell to the ground and rolled towards the ditch. Also raining down were three beer cans and millions of rather shocked ants. At the same time, I commenced with a rather strange windmill walk (again) while trying to shake off, brush away and otherwise divest myself of teeny tiny crawly ants that were, I am sure, trying to kill me. All the while I was trying to pretend that I had nothing whatsoever to do with the yellow bowl that sat by the side of the road.

I made my way back to the car bowl-less, can-less and mostly ant-less. I suppose that I managed to create a mystery of my own. Just why would someone leave a yellow bowl by the side of the road? You just never know.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 18

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It is possible that you have seen a rather peculiar woman walking around the streets of Hamilton over the last four years. If you have, I hope you gave a wave…because I am she.

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So this was my Monday walk. It ended up being just over 10 miles. The Stoney Creek Mountain. Fairly rural. What pleased me was that I found a great place to park. A Catholic Cemetary was a good place to leave my car whilest I coddiwompled down the country roads.20190819_090213

Only one of the roads was fairly busy but the rest of them were quite pleasant to walk down. I saw another abandoned house that I really wanted to investigate further but I didn’t.

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The waist-deep weeds covering the driveway implied abandoned.

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I was too chicken to think that I was trespassing but there were no signs and that does seem to imply permission.

Now I am rather a sign-follower. If someone went through the trouble to put up a sign then they mean it, yes? But a larger-than-imagined number of streets that I walked down on this project of mine were guarded by clear signs that said that no one was to trespass.
S-16156Abut maybe they really mean this:no-trespassing-vintage-metal-signs-home-decor
There were some streets that just did not want non-residents to be there but what about almost invited guests? Can a pizza guy deliver there? Can I go to look at a house for sale on that street? The sign implies that I can’t.

What about the ‘Authorized Parking Only.’ signs? Our church even posts ‘Authorized Parking Only’ signs. Does that mean that they will tow any car that has not received authorization? I suppose it means that they CAN tow me away if I want to park there. And just how do I go about getting authorization when the building is closed? These signs feel quite threatening and I am not usually one to challenge them but the need for me to walk down that ‘no trespassing’ street is greater than the threat it implies. That in mind, I am always respectful of the homes and businesses that I wander past or through when I walk.

I used to park in a grocery store parking lot and once got a clear letter stuck to my windshield telling me that I should never park there again because I was not a customer. The next time they saw my license plate in their parking lot I would be towed. This was in an area with a shortage of parking but I used to park early and walk for two hours and when my walk was over I would buy some groceries from that store. I confess that I was a little miffed by that and I guess I won’t ever park there again.

Next : The Mystery of the Yellow Bowl.