Summer hikes

IMG_3018When you spend a lot of your time writing about walking, people often ask about your favourite places to walk. Typically, they’re thinking about hiking trails — rugged multi-day treks such as British Columbia’s West Coast Trail or Ontario’s Bruce Trail. Page-turner books like Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods have done a lot to popularize the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail respectively. (The film version of Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon, is decent, and I’m looking forward to the Walk in the Woods movie, with Robert Redford, Nick Nolte and Emma Thompson, which comes out later this summer.) I haven’t done any of these epic hikes, nor, as many have asked, have I walked on Spain’s Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Sure, I spent a few days on the Wales Coast Path (which happened to be an ancient pilgrimage route) and climbed some signature peaks in England’s Lake District (which inspired Wordsworth), and I’ve done my share of wilderness walks throughout Canada and the United States. But when people ask about my favourite places to walk, my answer is a bit of a cop out: it’s from where I am, to where I’m going, because you never know what you’re going to discover along the way. That said, there are a lot of places that I love to walk: the shoreline of New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island, in the Bay of Fundy; up — and back down — the Maligne Canyon in Alberta’s Jasper National Park; through the windswept badlands of Saskatchewan’s Grasslands National Park; along the Clyde and Kelvin rivers in Glasgow, Scotland; and anywhere in New York City (although not as much as this guy). Bottom line: it’s summer, the weather is nice, so whether you’re in a city or out of town, get outside and start walking.

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