Hamilton to Dundas, Ontario
Walking with a friend alters pace, conversation, thought, directional and destinational choices, what you notice or don't notice along the way. It makes me think about walking-with: walking-with another person, walking-with a non-human being (dog-walking, for example), walking with the more-than-human other, a term I've come across in my reading lately.* We are always walking-with, whether it's with spirits or histories of a place, animals, birds, trees and rocks, water, the earth itself.
Speaking very locally of this area where we walked today: "I've heard Hodinöhsö:ni' elders say that the land we walk upon is made up of the faces not only of those who preceded us but those who are yet to come. We should therefore place our feet reverently on such a peopling earth" (Coleman, Daniel. Yardwork: A Biography of an Urban Place, 2017, p. 89).
* Springgay, Stephanie, & Sarah Truman. Walking Methodologies in a More-than-human World (Routledge, 2018).
Location: West-end Hamilton to Dundas, Ontario, and back
Length: 5 km
Date: 27 July, 2019
Aldershot to Westdale, Ontario
It's mid-summer, and hot, and my feet hurt on the pavement. There are a lot of old cemeteries around the western tip of Lake Ontario, and big trees. The cicadas hum, and the traffic mumbles, and the wildflowers bloom, and the lake is as high as it's ever been. Crossing under the highway at the Desjardins canal, past the flooded fishway, I take the trail along Coote's Paradise to Princess Point, and up into the neighbourhoods, ending with an iced latte at the Bean Bar.
Location: Aldershot, Burlington to Westdale, Hamilton, Ontario
Length: 8 km
Date: 25 July, 2019
University to College, Lethbridge, Alberta
From the west side to the south side of town. New institutional design barriers caused false starts and extra hills and stairs at the beginning of the walk, but once I was on the trail down to the Old Man River it was easy going. I was lost in thought much of the way, not paying much attention to my surroundings except when I purposely stopped to look, and take a photo. I'm always surprised by how dramatic and beautiful the landscape is right here in the middle of the town where I live.
Location: University of Lethbridge to Lethbridge College, Lethbridge, Alberta
Length: 9 km
Date: 17 July, 2019
Swiftcurrent Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana
A walk around a lake in the mountains with an old friend is fine way to spend the morning. It was a slow walk, with lots of pauses and conversation, and not much for wildlife except a big hare who was still half white - winter colours stay late up here near the glaciers. We did see a grazing grizzly bear in the middle distance from the car on the way home.
Location: Swiftcurrent Lake trail, Many Glacier, Glacier National Park, Montana
Length: 4 km
Companions: Ani Samten
Date: 5 July, 2019
A perfect summer day. The campgrounds are full, and Elkwater Lake beach is crowded. The trails weaving through the hills and valleys above the town, however, are almost empty - cool, shady, green, and quiet. There are only a few mountain bikers, red squirrels, and maybe an unseen cougar in the trees. I think about forest-bathing: it certainly feels good, peaceful, even nourishing, to be among these trees.
Location: Elkwater, Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta
Length: 5 km
Date: 30 June, 2019
Kokanee Creek, BC
With a morning coffee and pastry in my backpack, I walked up the Canyon Trail in between the noisy creek and the silent trees. This region is where the legend of the Sasquatch lives, and I like the idea of these large, intelligent beings living in the mountains and eluding all human contact. I had my breakfast on an overhang gazing down at the rushing, tumbling water. It wasn't until I was almost back to the road that I realized I had left a paper wrapper behind, and hiked back up the trail to retrieve it - it was still there, and I saw so much more the second time around.
Location: Kokanee Creek Provincial Park on Kootenay Lake, British Columbia
Length: 4 km
Date: 12 June, 2019
Shore Walk, Gabriola Island, British Columbia
My lungs open and my heart softens when I'm in a place like this. The air smells like salt and seaweed, and there's a small cool breeze. The tide is coming in. There's a fierce confusion of waves just off shore, where an inlet rushes in from around the island and tumbles over the current. A trail through the woods, along the shore, then picking my way back among the rocks, driftwood, barnacles and sea plants. I wish I could stay longer.
Location: Drumbeg Provincial Park, Gabriola Island, British Columbia
Length: 2 km
Date: 8 June, 2019
Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC
From getting off the bus in Stanley Park to stepping onto the water taxi going to Granville Island, this is the middle walk in full day of walking and talking and pausing and post-conference decompressing. We walk through the shady forest of Stanley Park, so green and ferny and mossy and calm, and out to the beaches. Scrambling and ambling along the beaches is the slowest and most delightful bit. The hidden shore at low tide, the crabs and clams, the beach treasures; and we follow the shoreline and the shorebirds back into the city.
Location: Vancouver, BC
Length: 6 km in a 15 km day
Companions: Lydia & Mary
Date: 5 June, 2019
Flathead Lake, Montana
"Enjoy walking like you enjoy eating." - Anam Thubten Rinpoche, on walking meditation.
Location: Flathead Lake silent meditation retreat, Montana
Length: 3 km
Companions: Troy & others
Date: 30 May, 2019
One last walk around Copenhagen punctuated by many stops:
-Early on, for coffee in the sun on a pedestrian street near the library.
-At Nyhavn to photograph the over-photographed canal houses and boats, visit Trine Fournais pottery shop, and use the cleanest public bathroom I've ever seen.
-On the Inderhavnsbroen new bike- and footbridge across the harbour to admire the view and the architecture.
-At an exhibit by Faroese painter Anker Mortensen.
-To eat a picnic lunch harbourside and watch people jumping in to swim. This is amazing for a couple of reasons - for one, the Baltic Sea is very, very cold in May! For two, it's wonderful that the water is clean enough for swimming in this inner city harbour, due to Copenhagen's commitment to being a "green city".
-At the graffitti- and art-filled alternative autonomous community (i.e. anarchist commune) of Freetown Christiana, on the edge of the upscale island neighbourhood of Christianshavn, to people-watch on Pusher Street.
-On several canal-side benches along the way, to rest my cobblestoned feet.
Location: Downtown & Christianshavn, Copenhagen, Denmark
Length: 10 km
Date: May 18, 2019
Sandra Cowan likes to walk on trails, paths, and city streets. She is based in southern Alberta, Canada.