On the morning of Sunday August 9th, I woke up groggily after celebrating my friends wedding. I was in Guelph and therefore had brought my bike, deciding to do a portion of the Trans Canada Trail here today. I got dressed, packed my backpack and headed out on my way, deciding to start the trail in behind Woolwich Street at MacDonell Street, just a section down from the church where I watched my friends marry the day before.
I found MacDonell Street and drove over the bridge and found a place to park in a residential area on Arthur Street, just across the river from my starting point. I pulled my bike out of my truck, grabbed my water and backpack and headed out to explore the trail! I rode over a bridge from where I’d parked and got a nice photo of the river I was riding along, Speed River. Here is the portion I would do today:
At the start of my journey today, I located the large Trans Canada Trail Sign which shows the trail map and lists many of the sponsors and people who have helped the progress of the trail over the years. This sign was very impressive and full of names!!
I found a great way to take timed photos with my iPhone by placing the phone in a slot on my bike seat. As I was setting up the shots and taking the picture above, I heard some people talking on the other side of the sign. A woman was saying, ” look, thats our name right there”. I was intrigued and took a peek around the sign to see who was on the other side? I found a lovely family of four, checking out the sign and chatting away to their kids about it. As I have been doing my best to promote the Trans Canada Trail, and have been learning about the trail, the people involved, and as much information as I could discover, I naturally, wanted to know more.
I introduced myself, as they did as well, telling them that I was on a personal mission to help the Trans Canada Trail spread awareness by exploring sections of the trail and blogging about it. They, in turn, told me that they were huge supporters of the trail and had been for many years. Andrew Massie made a donation to the trail in honour of the Massie’s first anniversary, and he selected the text, maple leaf, and design that was put on the sign, as a surprise for Amy. It reads: “Andrew & Amy Massie, Married in Guelph, 12 September 2009. Holding each other’s hand and walking the trail together from now on.” How incredibly thoughtful, beautiful and sweet, and what a wonderful way to celebrate an anniversary and show your love for someone! I asked them if I could take a photo for my blog and post some of what we spoke about and they agreed without hesitation. Here are the photos I took of them and their spot on the sign, and the map Andrew used to explain some points of interest to me:
I asked Andrew what the best way for me to proceed on the trail was? As he knew it so well, I couldn’t think of a better way to figure out which direction to head? I could tell immediately that Andrew was extremely passionate about the trail and had explored it extensively. He pointed to the map in front of us and told me all the great places along the route, what I would see where, approximately how long it would take, etc, etc. I was beyond thrilled that I ran into these awesome people, I would say accidentally, but I do believe that everything in life happens for a reason, and believe this did as well. I was truly grateful to have met such a wonderful family, people who share my love for the Trans Canada Trail and are helping to do what they can to promote it and assist them with their goal, in connecting the trail across the country by Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017. I wished them a lovely day, thanked them for all their insight, sharing their story with me, and taking the time to talk to me, and set out to explore the places that Andrew and Amy described. I was more excited than ever to see what this trail here had in store for me! Thank you so much Andrew and Amy for everything you do and who you are! It was an honour to meet you!
The trail at this section is mostly level, paved and absolutely beautiful! To the left are some businesses and to the right is a great view of the Speed River. The first thing you come across is an outlook and I stopped here to get off my bike and enjoy the view and share it with you. I also located a plaque that I wanted to share as I think they are so important to share the history of the trail and people involved with it. The next landmark I came across was beautiful St. George’s Church, where my good friend Leslie Stefanyk and Jason Auger married yesterday. The church is gorgeous inside and out and I had to take a few more pics of it as I was riding past the back of it today. Leslie and Jason, I wish you a long life together full of happiness and love! xo
A bit past the church I came across this wall that had graffiti on it. I’m unsure if the graffiti was allowed there or not, but it was quite beautiful, one of the tags saying “BE GREATFUL”, which I thought was very pretty and inspiring, legal or not? I did my best to get a good photo of it but this might be best seen in person.
Shortly after I came up to Goldie Mill Park, which held the remnants of Goldie Mill. I photographed the plaque as well, to explain in detail about the Mills presence here and share it with you.
So far I was loving this part of the TC Trail and was excited to continue on exploring it and find out what I would get to see next!
I rode for a bit and then saw some bikes sitting at the side of the trail where there is a small dirt path going to the river. This had to be a good spot, so I parked my bike alongside theirs and walked down the little trail. At the bottom I discovered a flat wooded area beside the river you could hang out, skip rocks, and in this case, watch your dog have the time of his life, chasing rocks your owner threw into the shallow water for you. I said hello, watched the endearing family moments for a few minutes, mom throwing rocks to the dog and dad helping his two girls to climb a tree. I took a few photos and headed back up to my bike and on my way to explore more of the trail!
The trail continues on alongside railway tracks in an open area before coming up to a road you have to go across. From there you go to the right, a bit down the road, and then you enter back onto the trail at the Speed River Trail, also called the River Recreational Trail, all part of the TCT.
There were geese everywhere here and I actually had to call out to them a few times to move it or loose it along the way. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen so many in one place before? The first thing I spotted next was a beautiful windmill that had been downsized and put on display here. It was fenced in, I’m assuming to avoid people from damaging it so I couldn’t get a very good picture of the plaque that was beside it but I did get a picture of the sign, even though I had to take two photos to get it so it was visible due to the fencing.
This area of the trail is in a park and there were many people along the route sitting on the provided benches reading books or just relaxing and enjoying the view of the serene river. I rode through and came up to a few small waterfalls and took a few more photos.
Across the river from where I was, I could see a park and found out later it is called Riverside Park. There were a lot of people spending the warm summer day there with friends and family. I saw a small train running through that kids could ride and I’m assuming there were other activities there. I also saw some paddle boats you could rent to use on the river. It looked like a great place to spend the day! I proceeded up the trail to the bridge that took you over to the park where the TC Trail continued on, and was happy to find facilities provided there as well, which were very clean, an important feature, I think!
At the time I wasn’t aware of which way the trail went and decided to go exploring. I first went down the same side I was on, heading along the river on a lovely trail that was mostly mulch on the ground, with beautiful views of the river to your left. It was very woodsy and I saw several people jogging on this part of this trail.
I rode it up to Woodlawn Road East and didn’t see a continuation anywhere on the other side, so I turned around and came back going over the bridge and along the water on the other side. The trail here was mostly gravel and had lovely views as well, so I decided to stop here and have my lunch. It was the perfect spot and I would’ve been content to stay here the rest of the day and just stare out at the breathtaking views!
After lunch I decided to head back the way I came and get back on the road. I had plans to go to Cambridge in a round about way home today and also check out the Trans Canada Trail there and my legs were already pretty tired. I had had a long night last night of dancing, and riding two trails today would be tough, but I was up for the challenge. On the way back I was happy to discover another public washroom by Goldie Mill. I have colitis and I think it’s important to let people know that facilities are available when I discover them. Although I am currently in remission and not experiencing symptoms, when I am, restrooms are the first thing I look for and I know many people have similar issues, so I want to let them know, that you can get out and experience nature, explore a lovely trail, and still have the comfort of knowing there are washrooms nearby. Maybe not important to everyone, but I know seriously important to others. It was clean as well and I appreciated it being there, so thanks to whomever runs this facility!
I arrived at my car just before 2pm. I put my bike in my truck, got out my directions to Cambridge and started to head towards the Grand Trunk Trail there, also part of the Trans Canada Trail. Ready for a new adventure and new place to explore. Stay tuned for the blog post on TCT Cambridge, coming soon! If you are looking to do your own section of the Trans Canada Trail, or are looking for information on how you can help them reach their amazing goal of connecting Canada by Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017, please visit http://tctrail.ca/explore-the-trail/
Thanks so much for reading and checking out my blog! As always, if you have any questions, comments, advice, etc, etc, I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment and I will get back to you asap!
I hope you are all having an awesome summer and I hope you get out and explore nature as much as possible!