When you love adventuring and being in nature, it feels like your world is ending when it is taken away from you, even for a short time. As some of you may have read, it’s been a huge summer of adventuring for me! Spring and Fall too! I have loved every minute of it and it happened due to many reasons. One of them was that due to a torn meniscus & ligaments in my knee, I could not commit to playing beach 2’s volleyball this summer and due to that, I had far more time to go adventuring than normal. I also knew at the end of the summer, at some point, I was going to have surgery on my knee and would have to take time off of adventuring and away from my love, nature, and that, I was dreading.
The day of my surgery, October 21st, I was ready to go. The weekend previously I had hiked 33 km’s, 14 trails in 14 hours and collected content for my blog, while sucking up as much nature as I could, assuming it would be month (s?) before I got to do it again. But I was wrong, and I am so very happy about that!
On Friday, November 6th, 16 days post op, I received the approval from my physiotherapist at Montebello Physiotherapy, Josh Droppert (who happens to be an awesome physiotherapist!! ), that yes, I was allowed to ride my bike. A few days earlier I kind of got in trouble because I was doing more than I was supposed to do, so I wanted to make sure that the approval for a stationery bike, included the approval for a real bike. It did! Thanks Josh! You made my day!
I WAS ELATED!!! It had been less than 3 weeks since surgery and I was allowed to go do a trail. Not hike it, but ride it, and I would take that happily!
I chose the Trans Canada Trail in Fort Erie as what I’m calling my #rehabtrail .lol. The TCT was the perfect place for the bike ride I needed to do, and I love the TCT so it was a perfect fit
And even though it might look like a gloomy day in some of these photos, for me the sun was shining bright as can be. I was out in nature, at a time I didn’t think I would be ‘allowed to be’. Held back by my physical being being inadequate and not up to the task, but here I was, riding my bike on a beautiful fall day on one of my favourite trails!
I arrived shortly after my departure from a parking lot just past the Peace Bridge, off of Lakeshore Road, to this brightly coloured bench. It looked strange and pretty and I got off my bike to walk over and check it out.
It was a memorial bench of some kind for a person named Reilly who passed away in 2009 and it was so utterly cool. The back of the bench was decorated with a stone that said: “If tears could build a stairway, And memories a lane, I’d walk right up to heaven and bring you back again”. In the front the bench had what I first thought was graffiti all over it and I was disgusted that people would do that!!
Then I saw the markers and read a few of the notes and realized the bench was for people to send messages to Reilly and her friends and family. I looked into this a bit further when I got home and discovered that Reilly sadly passed away at the young age of 19 due to a car accident. That sucked!!! I took a few moments to say a small prayer and write on Reilly’s bench and read some of the notes that were left for her. Sadly, I stood and looked out over the beach where Reillys bench looked out upon. It was a beautiful view.
Then I got back on my bike and continued on the trail, a bit more grateful to be able to be here doing this, than I was only a few moments ago. I rode for a bit and came up to this sign, telling me my location on the trail and how far it was to the next point of interest.
I sat down for a small rest and enjoyed the view of the beach and the river, watching the clouds, which were starting to separate and reveal the brightly glowing sun.
I continued on my way, my knee had been really tight the first few km’s but now it felt great and perfectly normal. Actually better than normal.
It’s funny, when you have an injury. You get used to it. My knee had been torn up, I will call it as that, as that’s how the doctor explained it, for well over a year. I really didn’t think it was that bad, but then I had also stopped dong the most harmful activities for it in the spring. But now, I could feel how great it was, even today, already, and I new how messed up it had been then by how awesome it was feeling right now, and that made me even happier!
The trail changed here from being all by itself with a large grassy area between it and the road to being right beside the road. The funny thing was, the road was totally empty. I mean, it had cars driving down it but very very few. I continued on, curious where I would end up?
The trail turned to gravel for a very short stretch and then turned left towards Lake Erie. It was covered with leaves so it was hard to see in front of me, but I could see it in the distance and pieced it together pretty easily. On the right was a lovely garden put there by the Fort Erie Horticultural Society and even though it was fall, you could still see alot of beauty in it.
I started seeing structures coming up on the shore, in front of me was a large boardwalk with a beautiful railing, and then I saw the plaques. I, of course, had to stop to photograph and read them. I don’t think I have ever been to this place I was at, and I was so excited to explore this new area and learn all about it.
Erie Beach, where I was standing right now, was the place to be back in the early 1900’s. People came from Canada and the USA to spend the day with their friends and families and have a great time. It was a happy vibe added to my already happy day. I imagined all the people getting off the ferry, waiting to buy their tickets for whatever they chose to do that day and just smiled at the thought of it all. I excitedly moved on to the next plaque.
The next plaque was all about the Entertainment at Erie Beach. It described in colourful detail the acrobatic acts, rides, noises, sights and sounds of the busy Erie Beach Park. It had a detailed blue print of where everything was situated, a ticket stub, a punch card listing all the different rides you could go on and a few pictures. After getting familiar with everythings where abouts I headed over to the next plaque.
I paused to get a picture of this artwork on one of the pillars that had once been part of something much larger, similarly like the person who’s name was on it. I wasn’t a huge fan of graffiti, but this was a type of memorial and it was similar to me, in a way, to the bench for Reilly I’d seen earlier. I paused a moment to wish Shane (Red Dog) Hookey a peaceful rest and moved on to the next plaque to learn more about this interesting place.
This was my favourite plaque so far! “Erie Beach Park, Buffalo’s Two Million Dollar Playground” the drawing of the park boasted! (buffalo? hmm). An article alongside it described the scene and I tried to envision it all. Starting out in 1885 as a place you came for a picnic to 1930 when it was a fantasy land. People dancing in the open air, under the moonlight, the world’s largest outdoor swimming pool, rides of all types, games, food, what an amazing place it sounded like. I wish I had gotten to see it, live it and experience everything right down to the musical ferry ride home, being serenaded by the live band along the way!
Sadly, in 1929, with the crash of the stock market and the beginning of the great depression, financial pressure caused the park to close down. It’s last day of operation in 1930, Labor Day weekend. From there the rides and equipment were sold off and eventually the land came to be how it looks today. Remnants are visible all over and sadly, today wasn’t a day I could fully explore them. But that would give me another reason to return to this lovely place and look into it further, and I was excited for that visit.
Next I came to Waverly Beach, just down a ways from the plaques. It was absolutely beautiful and I had no idea how I’d lived within a half hour of this beach and had no idea it was here? I noticed for the first time along my route, a public washroom, and was excited by that. I always like to point them out on my travels for people who this really matters to, however, sadly, they were locked. 😦 I continued on.
From Waverly Beach Park the trail looks like it kind of ends. There are no markers to advise, but the only way you can proceed is through the parking lot towards the road. When I got there, I saw a yellow ‘trail crossing’ sign but no markers. I assumed I should go left here as there was a wide sidewalk and a one laned road. They were actually fairly even in widths, lol.
After a few minutes along here, I saw this very modern looking house and had to get a shot of it. It looked so out of place alongside the quant little cottages, but still cool in it’s own right.
Shortly after, on my right was the TCT sign and another Friendship Trail sign, advising of my location. I stopped for a photo or two and then continued on, thinking I should possibly turn around soon. I’d ridden 4 km’s and still had to ride back and I didn’t want to overwork my knee and ruin my recovery…. but I was curious, what was around the next corner…. as usual!
I came up to a sign I recognized. Earlier this year I had come to do a section of the Trans Canada Trail and I specifically recall Kraft Road. I continued on just a bit farther to be sure.
And then I saw that beautiful fence that I remember taking pictures of in June when I was here last. So beautiful still with the autumn leaves!!! Here is a photo from that day in June. Finding it brought to my attention that it was a few weeks before I started my blog when I was last here. I would have to write a post on it to link up to this one and was excited for it as it was a nice stretch of the TCT.
Same section photographed on June 21, 2015.
I decided to go just to the next road and then I would turn around. I was happy because now I had 2 sections that could link together, although I did them in different directions. LOL.
I arrived at Crescent Road Beach Park! I had definitely been here before on my last visit to the TCT in Fort Erie, but I hadn’t walked down to the beach that day, but today I would. I parked my bike and headed towards the water to check it out!
It was gorgeous! Wow! Another awesome beach to go to in the summer when I’m sticking close to home! SO SWEET! I stayed for a few minutes and then headed back up the hill to my bike.
Along the way back to where I’d parked I admired some more of the fall foliage and a few of the many cottages that lined the street. They were so quaint and colourful and I could easily see why someone would enjoy living here.
I continued on my way back to my car at a steady pace. I had no pain or discomfort in my recently repaired knee and it actually felt better than it had in a very very long time.
I breathed in the beautiful fall air as I stopped to take a few more photos, then eventually arrived back at my car, ten kilometres later!!!! WOW! I was impressed with myself! I decided to celebrate by getting myself some homemade ice cream at this place I discovered when I did the other section of the trail here.
It was called You Deserve It and it had a cow on the roof, located on Garrison Road in Fort Erie. Last time I had chocolate peanut butter cup and it was soooo good, I wanted it again. A perfect end to an awesome day!
Thanks for reading my post! I hope you enjoyed it and it inspired you to get outside and visit some trails yourself!
For more information about the Trans Canada Trail and where you can find it near you, check out their amazing map ! You can also find information there about how you can help The TCT achieve their goal of connecting the entire country by 2017, Canada’s 150th birthday! What a great thing to be a part of!
If you have any information, suggestions, comments or just want to say hi, please send me a message!