At 9pm yesterday, I decided that I couldn’t focus enough for thesis work and to take a walk. My friend Tristan had recently plotted out some hiking routes on my computer, including one up the Don Valley from Old Mill station, crossing over east near Sheppard, then north up the Black Creek trail.
I wanted to see how accessible the start point is from my new place by foot, and then when I got there I decided to try the up-river segment. I got to Sheppard and carried on upriver, past Finch and ultimately as far as Thackeray Park. When I got to a fence blocking further progress, I saw that I had gone 24 km. I hadn’t been particularly planning anything, including a long walk, and I didn’t have any food or water with me or anywhere to buy them in the Humber Valley, but I felt fresh and like I could do the same distance again. So I decided to redo the river path south to where I entered the valley, then continue south to Old Mill station. After figuring that getting to Old Mill would put me around 43-4 km of walking, I decided that if my feet felt up to it then I would walk enough along the Bloor subway line to push it past 50 km:
This ended up being my longest walk of the pandemic so far, but it was around 7 ˚C and dark and I felt comfortable in just a puffer and wool buff and never thirsty. I also saw virtually nobody on the path until I started to see exercise keeners after 6:30 – 7:00am. I don’t think I saw anybody on foot or close by between entering the valley and reaching the scenic view of the railway bridge just north of Dundas Street West.
The whole route is marked by deep forest on either side (by Toronto standards), some magnificent willows along the riverfront just north of Lawrence Avenues, and a whole series of pedestrian bridges big and small used to cross the river while following the path.