Friday, November 11, 2011

Harte Trail

Harte Trail in west Winnipeg is part of the Trans-Canada Trail.  It runs parallel to Wilkes Avenue on the south and Assiniboine Forest on the north.  Harte Trail is part of a network of trails that meander through some of the prettiest parts of Winnipeg. Harte gets its name from the Harte Line, a section of the old Grand Trunk Railway built in the late 1800's.  Just south of the trail is the modern day CN line.  The trail transitions from fields to forests, to middle class Charleswood suburbia.  There's a ditch full of critters and a large variety of interesting vegetation.  I saw a deer but it bolted as I reached for my camera.  It's a sweet little 6.5 km trail (13 return) with many inviting benches perched strategically every kilometer or so.  
I saw young lovers strolling the trail arm-in-arm, happy dog walkers, geo-cachers walking purposefully through waist deep vegetation (why do geocachers always look lost... they have gps) , speedy bikers with serious faces, old people with canes and warm smiles, children with parents.  It was a nice run. In a word, pleasant. There's any number of trails leading off the Harte, some are cross-country ski trails, some mountain bike trails, some for horses, some for walkers, some for old farm machinery.  I left the Garmin in the car and brought the camera.  So glad I did. 

The downside of the trail is that it crosses six different streets.  The streets come up suddenly, especially in summer when the vegetation is thick, and cars don't always give right of way.  It's also straight as an arrow and flat which makes it less interesting than a winding trail with changing elevations.  It also just ends... almost anticlimactic... at the perimeter highway.  There is a nice bench but the view is disappointing, an open field looking on to a 4 lane highway.  The Headingley Grand Trunk Trail is on the other side of the perimeter highway but crossing all that high speed traffic is not something I would relish.

My total distance today was about 9 miles but I stopped to photograph (90 pictures) and I walked down some trails just to see where they would lead.  I wasn't in a rush, time was the last thing on my mind.  The chocolate break at mile 6 was blissful, yes purely blissful, no exaggeration.  Chocolate does that eh?   How often can we stop to simply sit on a bench and eat a piece of chocolate.  Such a simple pleasure and yet almost impossible to achieve in our busy lives.  
One of the many off-shoot trails.  This one was particularly inviting.  I followed it for about 1 km. 
I received an email from a friend today recommending Once a Runner by John L. Parker.  Apparently it's a cult classic.  How did I miss out on this? My only question is to buy a paper copy or download the audio file from iTunes.  It would be a good one for the iPod, but I think I want this one in my bedside library  Spoiler alert... don't read the Wiki review because it gives way too much.
Tonnes of amazing vegetation.
Here's the opening line from Wiki...  
The novel opens with a physically fit young man standing on a track, watching as "the night joggers" toil around him. He begins to walk toward the starting post, and thinks that now that the Olympic games are over for him, he does not know what he will do with his life. The man starts to walk around the track, and thinks back to four years ago.  
I'm going to order it this evening.  
I never met a bench I didn't like , but this one spoke to me like none other.  Good old Simon and Garfunkel...  looking for fun and .... feeling groovy.  

Lindt Chocolate... one square... mile six, sea salt... feeling groovy, yes indeed.

Gotta love this little clip... a shout out to all the vegetarian and vegan runners out there.  Enjoy the day, it's a good one to be alive.