Confessions of a Street Walker – Part 36

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

Today’s walk was COLD. After our first tastes of spring and some warmer weather, we were rather shocked by a good old Canadian dumping of snow yesterday. There was not a lot of accumulation but our recently sprouted spring flowers were complaining mightily (as were the humans that enjoy them). Hopefully there was not too much damage. I had walked yesterday but it was only around the neighbourhood and not a part of my walking project. I confess that I wanted to wait until tomorrow when the weather was promising to be warmer but I bundled up again, tied up my shoes and headed out.

In Ontario, we have been shut down again. We are asked to stay at home and not interact with anyone outside of our household except for essential purposes. Thank goodness that most exercise is deemed essential. I am walking on some of the most isolated roads that the Regional Municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth has. Today I headed out to Greensville again. I am parking at the public library and I will eventually be walking east and west and north and south. I am hoping to get quite a few roads done from that one parking spot. It’s a good thing because places to leave my car are rather scarce on country roads.

Left my painted rock (a ladybug) in the Little Library on Highway 8. Compliments on this library. There were some really good choices in there. Scored the book ‘Educated’ which was on my Recommended Books list. Thank you little library.
Walked across a lake according to Google Maps.
If it hadn’t been so cold, I might have stopped to take some closer pictures of this barn. Intriguing.
Will have to drop in on this place once the government says it is safe to do so.

I managed to walk through three separate incidents of ‘snow flurries’ which, I confess, did not thrill me to bits. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the Greensville area over the next month or so.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 34

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

My walk today had me on the relatively new Keddy Access Trail. I had not yet been on this trail that takes us up and down our escarpment. It was really planned well with a number of access points to get off and on. I thought that being able to access the Jolley Cut – upbound and downbound – was quite practical. I do not like doing the escarpment steps but this was a gentle incline that was quite manageable. I left a couple of ladybugs there.

One at the top and one at the bottom.
Hopefully they will brighten someones day.

The winter weather here has provided snowy and icy sidewalks for much of January and February. I was not going to go out for my walking project until it dries up a bit. Country roads need to be respected when there are wet or icy shoulders. Since we were also in the middle of another lockdown I did much of my walking for the last two months quite close to home. I will confess that it did get quite boring.

I shoveled the sidewalk and the driveway was clear.
I wonder what the neighbours think.
Went up and down the driveway a lot of times that day.

Looking forward to spring and the nicer weather that comes along with it.

Confessions of a Street Walker – part 33

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

So we had a short taste of winter earlier this week. I confess that I didn’t like it. At least it did not stay. When I went to walk on Tuesday morning country roads that I wanted to be walking on were going to be too wet and slushy so I decided to walk closer to home.

Last year at this time I wrote out my name in the ‘mapmywalk’ app tracker so this week I tried to get a little more ambitious.

Didn’t quite work out the way it was supposed to. For the top of the ‘H’ I was supposed to traipse through the middle of a park. I remembered for the first stick of the ‘H’ but for the second stick I forgot and walked down the street. This made my ‘H’ too wide and I had to lengthen the whole word. Then when I got to the ‘l’ a fence was in the way so I pressed pause, walked around the fence, and pressed resume. Otherwise my ‘l’ would have been wonky. When I got done I went to turn off the app so I could finish off the word but the phone just died before I could press ‘save’. Ahhh, panic set in. All that for nothing? It turns out that my Google Maps follows my walks too.

But it doesn’t always record distances quite as accurately.

from a walk a couple of weeks ago – not exactly my route

When I turned the phone back on the walk did get saved after all.

Now I confess that it might be fun to think of other words to write and then try to find applicable streets that allow the lettering to take place. I don’t know that it would be such a great idea to just walk through a stranger’s back yard and hop their fence all so I could make a more accurate ‘m’ but I think it will do for now.

Until next time.

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 27

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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Most of last summer and fall I spent on the sidewalks of Ancaster and Dundas. I have a few left to do but most of them have been covered. I confess that I stayed off of the rural roads over the winter because I usually found the shoulders weren’t wide enough to hold slushy piles of snow and me.

My walking project moved along fine over our cold Canadian winter but there were some weeks that the sidewalks were too snowy or icy. It was those weeks that I stayed very close to home or went to the mall to get my 10 miles per week done. When the sidewalks were clearer I also got most of Binbrook’s built-up area done.

I am really enjoying the warmer spring weather. Now, because of Co-vid 19, we are all supposed to be distancing ourselves from one another. I am happy to be able to walk on the ruralest of the rural roads of the greater Hamilton area where I am not even close to being close to anyone.  As it is with most of the rural routes the difficulty remains with where to leave my car while I am out walking.

Last fall I did some walking in rural Mount Hope and Ancaster. We have friends who allowed me to park in their driveway whilst I trompled my way down the country roads in their area. Thanks Gord and Glenda! They were lovely roads with their own charms.

Some notes on those walks:

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The lower right map shows a part of the road that I missed. An accident on Highway 6 forced me to detour and head east and add another 3 miles to my walk that day.

20191028_135454I was tempted to jump in the back of the wagon but they were going in the opposite direction.

I passed a baked goods manufacturing facility I know as Oakrun Farm Bakery. I don’t know what they were making the day that I was walking past but boy did that ever smell good.

I was able to stop by a cemetery where Danielle’s body lies – I confess that the tears still flow and I am thankful for such a peaceful place.

I was walking down a very quiet road when a car pulled over. It was my friend Diane who lived nearby.  It was nice to see a friendly face.

I have taken to wearing a hi-vis vest as I want to be as safe as possible on country roads. I am presently wandering around rural Binbrook.

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A windy day in Glanbrook near the city boundaries. I confess that my attempt at a selfie thumbs-up appears only moderately successful.  :  )

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

* * *

20180115_115816_HDR-1January 2018

* * *

20181231_132406_1cropJanuary 2019

* * *

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 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 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.