Wow, another GHTA Wilderness Club member representing! Congratulations Miranda on completing the entire trail. Here is her account of her fantastic journey:
Hello there, I am happy in sending my logs for my E2E badge. I wasn’t sure where to start but I will do it telling the best thing that happened to me in the trail.
Every time I think on that day I want to cry of excitement as a little girl in the wilderness section. We were only four hikers and I was the ahead when I saw the big, puffy gorgeous bear. I’m pretty sure he was more scared than me but that moment is imprinted in my head forever since I stayed still and couldn’t take a picture of it.
One of my first hikes ever was in Ganaraska Wilderness in 2017; it was an 8 hours hike with high humidity and thousands of mosquitoes but worth to try and since then I haven’t stop hiking. First I finished the Bruce trail then the Oak Ridges Moraine because I was anxious about the stories about the wilderness so I prepared and organized the hikes meticulously for safety of everyone.
The backpacking in the wilderness section was the hardest one since it was one of the hottest humid days in September. I became dehydrated with symptoms like vomiting, migraine and dizziness I thought I wasn’t going to make it but the next day I was the strongest one while the others were struggling with the heat. In the other hikes on the Ragged and Montgomery trail we loved the autumn colours and I had a moment of silence in front of the rock remembering Doris, the hiker who died years before. I know in my heart she was doing what she loved, hiking.
There are other memorable hikes along the trail like the last one in the Mad river section with deep snow and strong cold winds. We loved Creemore town and feared its smallest jail, better not misbehave in that place 😉
The Wasaga section had a couple of beautiful spots like in the Nordic area where we saw loons and we observed the sand dunes but our phones and camera were dead due to the cold temperatures and we couldn’t take pictures but one, we did 31km on that day.
Barrie section was funny since we started our day with positivism and enthusiasm but a muddy pothole swallowed my leg together with my snowshoe, hehehe we went back home for the first time after an incident like this one.
Hiking along the lake in the Orillia section was wonderful, I’m thinking in coming back at some point in spring or summer time.
I want to confess that my reason to start hiking was to overcome my illnesses and find peace in my soul and mind.
When I started my journey I was a ‘victim of domestic violence’. I wanted to run away but instead I asked for professional help. During my hospitalizations my therapists noticed I loved walking and wondering in the city for hours and capable of doing 30km every day. I was advised to find a group in the MeetUp so I could meet people and I found the hiking group there.
Now, I’m not longer a victim, I’m a survivor. After more than a decade I left the abusive environment, a decision that I took while hiking. Sauntering in the trail cleared my mind and I drastically change the turn of my life.
I am free to do what I like at the same time helping those who join me in my group for whatever reason they are hiking. Mental illness is invisible and as a survivor I can tell you I learned to fake my happiness very well but hiking brought me peace.
For now, our next trail is the Grand Valley and Avon trails and then I’m hoping there will be another trail to put my feet on the ground while I’m trying to live my present.
Thanks to all the volunteers and members from the Ganaraska trail association that made it possible for us to hike safely. Especial thanks to Glynn, John, Carol, Tom, Frieda and Louis for responding back to my emails and phone calls.
A special thanks to Troy who was my partner-in-crime in every single hike; without him this wouldn’t be possible.
Thanks to my closest members in the Hiking Team GTA: Jean & Frank, Jeremy, Selena, Natalie, Paul, Tanya, Neha, Garima, Alex, Tony, Jonathan, Gerry, Sandi, Naira, and many more.
Happy Trails to all.
Vanessa Miranda, Hike Leader Ontario