The wounds are slowly healing but the memory is still painful. Sometimes, I think that being happy is a precursor to being hurt. If you’re always feeling down, one more hurt is just that – another reason to drown in your cup of sorrow and broken dreams. I usually allow myself a few hours or days to get over a hurt but this one shook me to my core!
It had been a long winter and I’d been battling cabin fever. The weather has never affected my mood, although I do enjoy a warm, sunny day. Living through the west coast rainy season (November to March) is part of the drill and you can’t let the rain dampen your spirit. Even the best of the best have bad days but they’re the best at what they do because they use the pain as motivation to get back on track. But I’ve never been in the ‘best of class’ of any category, except maybe being a best friend.
When I was a youngster, I didn’t have much in the way of possessions and neither did my Ma and Dad – but I was happy because I learned to get things that made me happy – for free!. And the thing that I possessed that I cherished most of all, was my friends. It still is – material things are just that; I’ve never owned or treasured anything as much as a good friend. My pets have also been my best friends – even though I refer to myself as their daddy.
I’ve made a lot of friends over the years, and most are still my friends. But I’ve never been able to continue a friendship if I’ve been betrayed by someone. Over the years, I learned the importance of forgiving people rather than carrying hate in my heart. And although I might be able to muster a smile or say hello to them, I will never be able to treat them as I would a trusted friend.
The same applies to family members – if you betray me, and I can’t trust you anymore, I won’t have anything more to do with you. By the way, I’d expect my friends to do the same to me if I ever betrayed them. Life is too short to spend even a minute with an unworthy friend.
But Danny, what has all of that have to do with bridges, piers, and seawalls!?
Relax Spanky, and I’ll explain.
I haven’t always been a walker – I started walking on a regular basis after my cancer treatments had ended. At first, I didn’t have enough strength or energy to make it to the end of my driveway to gather the mail from the mailbox. In the Summer of 2010, I began walking every day, at the Promenade on White Rock Beach. But after a few years, walking alone on the same site became boring and I gradually stopped walking daily and was lucky if I did one or two walks a week.
In the Fall of 2017, I joined a walking group in the Lower Mainland that is part of the Canadian Volkssport Association. Later, I joined two other Volkssport walking clubs: Vancouver Venturers and North West Tulip Trekkers Club (Bellingham, WA.).
I started to walk at least three sanctioned walks a week, on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Each walk is at a different venue and I can’t believe all of the neat places that I never even knew existed! And because of that, I began taking pictures with my phone camera (I am a terrible photographer!).
Sometimes, I’ll shoot a video of scenery and on other occasions, I’ll do a spontaneous interview with a passerby, like the following video clip from Toronto, last January.
Here’s a video clip: Danny and the Policeman
The bottom line is this: walking helped me deal with stress and unwanted emotional baggage! I no longer hurt and I’m excited to be back on the trails again!
It’s Canada Day, and I had been planning to go for a walk with my walking group in Vancouver this morning but I awoke at 2:00 AM feeling nauseous. I let Holly outside to do her business and then went back to bed. I wasn’t able to sleep, so I laid in bed and started writing about my latest personal challenge, namely; to walk across every large bridge (both ways), pier, jetty, and seawall in the Lower Mainland. You’re reading it now!
I started two weeks ago, and so far, I’ve walked the Lion’s Gate Bridge, Golden Ears Bridge, Patullo Bridge, Iona Jetty (longest pier I’ve ever been on!) and of course, the beloved pier at the Promenade in White Rock. Next week, I’ll be walking the Second Narrows Bridge, Alex Fraser Bridge, and then the bridge from Abbotsford to Mission.
I’ll do the downtown bridges on Burrard, Granville and Cambie Streets, all in one day, using the water taxis to get to each bridge whenever possible. The last three on my list will be the Arthur Laing, Oak, and Knight Street bridges. And I’m walking them alone.
My friend Reg D., has walked in every national park in Canada and the USA. My friend Connie has walked in every state capital in the USA; and Brenda and Frank have walked in several countries around the world, including Antarctica! So my goal isn’t even close to being as awesome as theirs but nevertheless, they are the source of my inspiration!
Recently, I’ve been doing some special walks with my friends Agnes and her husband Leonard, Linda, Lawrence, and Philip. Some of our 10 KM walks have included Burnaby Lake, Barnston Island, and the Christmas Lights tour of the downtown hotels, stores, and of course, Canada Place – where the old Woodwards Department Store window display has been relocated.
Last Friday, I met Lawrence and Philip at the Waterfront Station in Vancouver at 7:30 AM and we walked the seawall around Coal Harbour, Denman Street, Beach Avenue, Expo site and ended at Chinatown. It rained for the complete 10 KM walk but we had a great time jumping in puddles and splashing the passing vehicles.
Oxford Street hill walk (October 16, 2019
I wrote a short blog about this difficult climb to the top of the hill. I did it to see if I am fit enough to do the infamous Grouse Grind in North Vancouver.
Here’s a video clip: Oxford Street story
Mundy Park walk – October 14, 2019
This was my first walk with the Surrey Trekkers in over a year. I walked it with my buddy, Reg Dutton. We decided to do the 5 km route but ended up walking for about 7 kms, because Reg wanted to walk off some of the Thanksgiving dinner he ate from the day before.
Here’s a video clip: Mundy Park walk
Stanley Park Seawall walk (Thanksgiving Day, 2019)
This is one of my favorite walk venues in the Lower Mainland. It is great to see the diversity in the Vancouver ‘Venturers Walking Club – different cultures, backgrounds, and ages. There were several tourists walking from New York, Korea, and Kelowna and they loved the park! I love hearing compliments about Vancouver and it truly is, the ‘Best Place on Earth’.
Here’s a video clip: Stanley Park walk
Central Park (October 10, 2019)
My buddy Lawrence was the host of this Vancouver ‘Venturers’ walk in Burnaby. The drive to the city took me longer than the actual walk because of the morning rush-hour traffic. It was also the coldest day on record but the forty-six walkers warmed each other with friendship. The highlight of the walk for me was afterward, on my way to the Metrotown parking lot and seeing the three-legged dog and his homeless owner. And while I was chatting with him, a nice Asian lady, about my age, gave him a shopping bag, filled with dog food that she had just purchased for him at a nearby store. I gave him a sawbuck (five dollars) to buy something for himself. He’s now on my hero list!
Here’s a video clip: Central Park walk
Ambleside Beach (Boxing Day, 2018)
Stanley Park (December 6, 2018)
This past month, I’ve had several health issues that had me sidelined but all is well now and I was thrilled to be walking with my friends at the Vancouver ‘Venturers Club. However, it took me almost two hours to drive into the city during the morning rush hour which had me all stressed out. Our walks begin at 10:00 am sharp and I arrived, somewhat out-of-breath at the Runners Den at 9:55 am! The moment I walked into the store, I was met by my buddies Lawrence, Phil, Rob and Doug and my gal pals Nancy, Patricia, and Gillian. I also met three new gal pal walkers – and my stress turned to a smile. And I smiled for the rest of the day!
It was cold, but we were all dressed warm and stopped at several interesting sites inside the park. We walked through Coal Harbour, and then along the seawall to the Lumberman Arch and then walked the park’s inside trails until we reached the Second Beach concessions and restrooms. We then walked along the seawall until we reached Denman Street. At that point, I had to sit down – I was so exhausted but still smiling.
Lawrence and Phil told me about a great coffee shop on Denman Street and I stopped there to get a latte to drink on the way home. At home, I spent some time with Holly and then went to bed. I didn’t get up again until this morning and I am still smiling!
Here’s a video clip: Stanley Park walk
Stanley Park/Lions Gate Bridge (November 18, 2018)
Our Vancouver Venturers Volkssport Club has recently been scheduling ‘flash’ walks at various Vancouver venues. And although I haven’t been able to attend many walks because of my daily therapy treatments, I did manage to attend this brand new route! I wrote a short story about it (see Notes on a Bridge) and it is now my favorite walk!
I also took several short videos of the walk. Here is the link: Stanley Park/Lions Gate Bridge videos
If you haven’t joined a walking club – why not consider the Vancouver ‘Venturers Volkssport Club? You will be amazed at how many new friends you’ll have to explore the endless sights and attractions of our beautiful province! Check out our Meetup or Facebook pages or our awesome website. Can’t wait to meet you!
The Promenade and Pier, White Rock (November 3, 2018)
I am back walking alone for a few weeks. My hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions (30) are all scheduled in the morning and my walking club’s walks are all at 10:00 AM, so I’ll be tied up for the month of November. In December, I’ll be booked for Santa Danny visits on the weekends, so I’ll miss most of the Vancouver Venturers Club walks that month, too.
But walking alone has its advantages – the date, time and location are all decisions I can make on my own.
So Today, at 6:15 AM, I decided to drive to the Promenade in White Rock, It’s been raining for the past few days and it rained all the way to White Rock. But as soon as I parked the car and got out to begin my walk, the rain stopped! I walked for about 1.5 hours and just as I was getting back to my car – the rain began! And as amazing as that sounds, I had forgotten to bring my umbrella and didn’t have a hat with me to wear – so maybe my guardian angel did me a huge favor!
I took a few short video clips in the dark. Here’s the link: The Promenade Walk
Magical moments are always possible when you walk – and this morning’s moment was when a young Bugs Bunny crossed my path and then stopped and stared at me. I stood motionless, trying to get my phone from my pocket to take its picture, without scaring it away. But as I took careful aim with the phone’s camera, the ‘pesky wabbit’ ran away. It probably had me confused with Elmer Fudd. What’s up doc?
And that’s a wrap!
San Juan Island/Friday Harbor (October 13, 2018)
I am late, in writing about this walk but it’s been a busy month. Every week, or so, I get an email from Margaret Q., from the NW Tulip Trekkers Club (Bellingham, Washington) about that week’s scheduled walks. I’ve been a member of this club since last December but have only managed to attend one of their walks. But the walk in La Conner a couple of months ago was hosted by my friends Tom and Sue Wallace. We often have members of this club coming to many of our walks and I’ve met a number of them over the past year. Anyway, Margaret’s email announced the upcoming walk on Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island, USA.
I have never been to any of the San Juan Islands but have always wanted to go. And rather than going there by myself – I knew if I went with the NW Tulip Trekkers, that I would have lots of friendly people to walk with me. But I also knew that I would have to leave the house very early, in order to be at the ferry terminal in Anacortes, WA by 9:30 AM. I left my place at 7:30 AM and got to the ferry parking lot at 9:00 AM. As soon as I got out of my car, I noticed three attractive gals and one lucky guy getting out of the car parked beside mine. They appeared to be walkers. I approached one of the ladies and asked if she was with the walking club?
Her face lit up and she gave me a welcoming smile. I introduced myself and mentioned that I was with the Vancouver ‘Venturers Club and then the nice gal introduced me to her friends. I wish I could remember all of their names but I did remember the guy’s name – it was Joe. He immediately became my hero – he had three lady companions and I had none – so how could I possibly forget his name? I paid the $7 parking charge for the day – as we were all going as foot passengers.
We entered the ferry terminal together and purchased our return tickets to Friday Harbor ($6.85 return!).
As soon as we entered the terminal I spotted Sue and Tom in a crowd of trekkers. I was excited at the prospect of walking with them again. The ferry ride to the island took about an hour and we registered on board. This was one of my favorite walks – and I took some videos of the many attractions.
Here is the link to the videos: Friday Harbor Walk videos
I also took some pictures:
I also learned that my friends Tom and Sue Wallace will be the new hosts of this scheduled walk in 2019. We said our goodbyes and I left with a huge smile on my face. This was one of the best walks yet – but that’s the great thing about walking a new trail – you get to explore and experience new places that you didn’t know existed!
Locarno Beach/Point Grey (October 3, 2018)
Today, my friends Agnes, Leonard, Lawrence, Phil, and I walked from Locarno Beach Park to the UBC Endowment Lands. On the way, we passed some very interesting sites – most of which I had never seen before – including the Point Grey Battery. totem poles behind the UBC Museum of Anthropology and the Rose Garden.
Here’s a link to the photos and video clips: Locarno Beach/Point Grey Walk
Iona Beach Jetty (September 29, 2018)
Although I had walked the jetty earlier in the week, Reg and I decided to do it on Saturday. Reg had walked the jetty a ten or twelve years ago and said that it had changed quite a bit. The tide was in and the air was a bit on the chilly side but we really enjoyed the walk and conversation.
Here’s a video clip: Reg and me at Iona Jetty
Iona Beach Jetty (September 25, 2018)
My friends Agnes, Leonard, Lawrence, Phil, and I had been planning to do this walk for a few months – and it was well worth the wait. The sun was shining and the tide was high. Everyone had a great time!
Here’s a link to the video clips: Iona Jetty with Agnes, Leonard, Lawrence & Phil
Mayne Island Walk (August 14, 2018)
Mayne Island is a 21-square-kilometer island in the southern Gulf Islands chain of British Columbia. It is midway between the Lower Mainland of BC and Vancouver Island and has a population of 1,071. (Source: Wikipedia)
I parked at the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen, paid the fare for foot passengers and walked onto the ferry. It wasn’t until I was seated beside one of my fellow walkers that I learned that the ferry is free for seniors on Monday-Thursday – year ’round! But I was able to get the return ferry at no charge. I really enjoyed my first visit to this beautiful island.
Here’s a video clip: Mayne Island Walk
Steveston Village Walk (July 7, 2018)
It rained all through the night and the sky was beginning to clear when I got up at 4:30 AM. While driving down the highway on my way to Richmond, the rain started again in Delta but by the time I got to the Massey Tunnel, the sky began to clear.
I arrived at the Steveston Community Centre just before the walk started and was happy to see some of my friends but was sad to see that Colby, the black lab, wasn’t able to join us. Denise explained that the recent heat wave was too much for him, so she left him at home. But she also said that Colby had collapsed a few weeks ago during one of the scheduled walks but I never got a chance to talk with her again during the actual walk (she’s a faster walker than me).
There were more than 40 of us walking and we completed the 10 KM under mostly cloudy skies. About half-way, we met Casper, the camera-shy, Samoyed dog. At least, he looked like a Samoyed. My first dog was a Samoyed (1970) but I only had him for a few months. But he was a much larger dog than Casper, so I may be mistaken on Casper’s breed.
Here’s a video clip: Casper the dog
Lighthouse Park Walk – West Vancouver (July 2, 2018)
I was just getting over my stomach flu and thought that the 10 KM route might be too much for me, so I decided to do the 5 KM route. However, after 2.5 KM, I decided to stop walking for fear that the sudden bursts of gas exiting my body might turn out to be something that’s too nasty to describe in polite terms. I took a number of short video clips along the way.
Here’s a video clip: Lighthouse Park Walk
Coal Harbour Walk (June 29, 2018)
I am a very early riser, so leaving the house at 5:45 AM to drive to the skytrain station in Richmond wasn’t a problem. Either was the rush hour traffic at that time. I parked and got on a half-empty train at the Bridgeport Station and arrived at Waterfront Station at 7:10 AM. I was meeting my buddies, Lawrence and Philip here at 7:30 AM for a 10 KM walk around the Coal Harbour seawall, Denman Street, Beach Avenue seawall, Expo site and finishing at the Stadium Station in Chinatown. I didn’t take any photos of the walk – it was raining, but I did take a short video clip of Waterfront Station. Here is a link to the clip: Waterfront Station
One thing I forgot to mention about the rain and the weather, in general. We always walk – regardless of the weather!
Iona Jetty Walk (June 27, 2018)
This was not a group walk; I heard about the Iona Jetty from someone but I can’t remember who told me. It’s the one benefit of losing one’s memory – you’re always finding new things and friends you forgot you knew! And like most modern-day explorers, I got directions from Google Maps and then drove to the jetty, which is located on Sea Island, near the Vancouver Airport.
The jetty (pier) is 4 KM in length each way – with two shelters along the way.
I took several video clips of the walk – here’s a link: Iona Jetty videos
One of the highlights of the walk was this ‘love heart’ fashioned with stones by a previous love-sick boy or girl.
I really enjoyed this walk because there was so much to see and hear along the jetty, Seeing the bald eagle up close and then watching the two seals playing together at the end of the pier – was priceless! If you’ve never walked on a jetty before – this would be an excellent adventure to consider.
Cates Park to Deep Cove Walk (June 24, 2018)
Once a year, the North Vancouver Save Our Shores Society hosts a walk from Cates Park to Deep Cove. The walk attracts about 250 people each year, to this 8 KM fundraiser walk along the shore and neighboring streets. It’s also held on this day because the tide is at its lowest point during the morning hours. Here is a link to the map: Map North Vancouver Waterfront Walk
Here’s a link to the video clips: Cates Park to Deep Cove
Great sights and a very well-organized event – you should consider doing the walk next year; I will definitely be doing this walk again!
New Westminster Quay (June 18, 2018)
Initially, I drove to New Westminster to walk the Patullo Bridge, which crosses over the Fraser River between Delta and New Westminster. But in searching for a place to park near the bridge, I got distracted when I caught a glimpse of the seawall area and thought that it might be a great place to walk.
It was the first time that I had ever walked along the seawall and was surprised at how beautiful the area has become.
Here’s a link to the video clips: New Westminster Seawall
Golden Ears Bridge (June 17, 2018)
This is the newest bridge in the Lower Mainland, and it connects Langley with Maple Ridge. It replaced the Albion Ferry, so it was a welcomed addition to many people. I was surprised that it took me longer to cross this bridge than it did to cross the Lions Gate Bridge the day before.
Here’s a link to the video clips: Golden Ears Bridge
Lions Gate Bridge (June 16, 2018)
I drove to Stanley Park and parked at Prospect Point and then walked down the hill to the causeway leading to the bridge. The first time I crossed this bridge was in 1974 but it was by car; this was my first ‘walk’ across the bridge – both ways – and it was an absolute thrill.
Here is a link to the video clips: Lions Gate Bridge
Dedicated to my friends, Agnes and Leonard
Today’s tune (from Danny’s library of purchased music):