Tag Archives: walking

A Tourist at Home

Call me an optimist, but I truly feel Manitoba is one of the best places in the world. Where else can you find the awe inspiring flatness, breathtaking beaches, deserts, white water rafting – don’t even get me started on the food! Allow me take you on a day of touring Manitoba.  If you are not convinced, do yourself a favour and take a look at HomeFree: Exploring Manitoba by Adam Kelly! So, bring along your sun screen, comfortable shoes, and a full cooler for a BBQ dinner.

When you wake up, stop for a great coffee at any one of our many local coffee shops.  Start your day with a 5 km walk around the historic Forks beginning at Fort Garry Gate, walk towards the Forks, down Tache, then return to Fort Garry Gate.  You can find this walk among others in Prairie Pathfinders Winnipeg Walks.

A short drive from Winnipeg, along the scenic River Road, you will reach Gimli.  From the lake front views, the film festival, and museums, you can get lost in Gimli, but today we only have time for lunch in one of the local fresh fish and chip shops.  Gimli Harbor and Fishery: An Illustrated History by local author and Professor Andy Blicq is about the history of this fascinating town – he can fill you in on the rest.

An hour north from Gimli is the beautiful Hecla Island.  Be sure to say hello to Lundi Moose in Riverton, one of Manitoba’s giant town statues. In Hecla you will find self-guided and interpreter-led hikes. One 5 km hike starting from the Gull Harbour Boat House  is perfect for all skill levels.  Prairie Pathfinders also have Manitoba Walks: Your Adventure Guide to Day Hikes & Town Walking Tours where you can find many other hikes throughout Manitoba.

To end our day we will be driving to Lundar Manitoba, about an hour and a half from Hecla.   The sunset views over Lake Manitoba are absolutely beautiful.  There is a provincial park here where you can lay your head, start a fire, and cook your dinner over an open flame. Try a perfect BBQ recipe from Winnipeg Cooks: Signature Recipes from the City’s Top Chefs by Robin Summerfield. I recommend the Chicken Burgers with Zucchini Relish on page 28.

For many more daytrips check out A Daytripper’s Guide to Manitoba: Exploring Canada’s Undiscovered Province.  You might be amazed at what you can find!


Happy trails!



Walk this Way

Before the last of the snow and ice melted from our sidewalks, my brother was in town for a short visit. We went out for dinner, then back to my apartment. I took off my shoes and plopped down on the couch, expecting him to do that same, but instead of sitting, he began to walk laps around my apartment. Turns out, he’s been trying to walk that magical 10,000 steps every day, and he hadn’t been able to hit his step count for the day yet.

This got me thinking about why we walk. Walking is a long-venerated tradition, especially amongst those with a creative bent. William Wordsworth, Henry David Thoreau, Beethoven, Steve Jobs, many of Jane Austen’s characters… it seems as though walking not only gets the heart pumping, but also the creative juices flowing!

Some people walk for their health (physical and mental!), and others love walking as a cost-effective and eco-friendly form of locomotion. Whatever your reason for walking might be (destroying the One Ring, maybe?) Winnipeg Public Library has many books to get you moving and inspire your own epic journey this summer!

walking Walking by Henry David Thoreau

A meandering ode to the simple act and accomplished art of taking a walk. Profound and humorous, companionable and curmudgeonly, Walking, by America’s first nature writer, is your personal and portable guide to the activity that, like no other, awakens the senses and the soul to the “absolute freedom and wildness” of nature.


Walking: A Complete Guide to Walking for Fitness, Health and Weight Loss by John Stanton

As the founder and president of Walking/Running Room, North America’s largest chain of special stores for walkers and runners, John Stanton has inspired people across the nation to develop healthier lifestyles one step at a time. In this book, you’ll learn how to set realistic goals, design your own training program, find the level of walking that’s right for you, choose the best shoes and walking wear for your needs, prevent and treat common injuries, and enhance your walking with optimum nutrition!

philosophy A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros

Frédéric Gros charts the many different ways we get from A to B — the pilgrimage, the promenade, the protest march, the nature ramble — and reveals what they say about us. Gros draws attention to other thinkers who also saw walking as something central to their practice. On his travels he ponders Thoreau’s eager seclusion in Walden Woods; the reason Rimbaud walked in a fury, while Nerval rambled to cure his melancholy. He shows us how Rousseau walked in order to think, while Nietzsche wandered the mountainside to write. In contrast, Kant marched through his hometown every day, exactly at the same hour, to escape the compulsion of thought. Brilliant and erudite, A Philosophy of Walking is an entertaining and insightful manifesto for putting one foot in front of the other.

howtowalk How to Walk by Thich Nhat Hanh

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh introduces beginners and reminds seasoned practitioners of the essentials of mindfulness practice. Slow, concentrated walking while focusing on in- and out-breaths allows for a unique opportunity to be in the present. There is no need to arrive somewhere—each step is the arrival to concentration, joy, insight, and the momentary enlightenment of aliveness. When your foot touches the Earth with awareness, you make yourself alive and the Earth real, and you forget for one minute the searching, rushing, and longing that rob our daily lives of awareness and cause us to “sleepwalk” through life.

The Man Who Learned to Walk Three Times: A Memoir by Peter Kavanagh

Throughout his life, as he developed a very successful career in public broadcasting, built a family, and indulged in his love of music and travel, Kavanagh underwent various surgeries and rehabilitation to give him “normal” mobility after being diagnosed with paralytic polio as an infant. The Man Who Learned to Walk Three Times is a moving memoir of a full life, and of learning the same lesson over and over.

And here’s a walking pro-tip from one walker to another: downloaded audiobooks from Overdrive are a fabulous way to get through your summer reads list while getting that step count up! Grab your headphones, slip on the sneakers, and enjoy that sunshine! Just don’t forget the sunscreen.

Happy reading,


Pilgrim’s progress: walking as a spiritual act

Solvitur ambulando – Latin term meaning “it is solved by walking.”

Walking as a spiritual and contemplative activity has been practiced by poets, pilgrims and philosophers throughout the ages. The romantic poets of the late 18th century were ardent walkers. Wordsworth averaged 14 miles a day on the trails of the English Lake District. Thoreau, a marathon walker, found it preserved his health and spirits and he could not do without his daily perambulation. Recent interest in pilgrimages along ancient paths is evidenced by the debut of the film The Way, starring Martin Sheen and directed by his son Emilio Estevez.  It tells the story of a father who walks the holy Camino de Santiago del Compostela, a grueling 790 kilometer trek through the mountains, forest and villages of Northern Spain. His purpose is to complete the odyssey begun by his son who perished at the beginning of his walk through the Pyrenees. “On life’s journey, everyone loses their way, but some of us find the courage to start again,”  the trailer affirms.

The Camino serves as a metaphor for the search for meaning in a frenetic postmodern world. An ancient medieval pilgrimage route, the Camino ends at Santiago del Compostela, supposedly the burial place of St. James, one of Christ’s disciples. It now attracts thousands of 21st century pilgrims each year. Some come looking for a spiritual awakening or atonement, while others are simply adventure tourists.

For those of us who lack the time, resources or inclination to embark on such an arduous quest, here is a sampling of pilgrim chronicles:

The way is made by walking by Arthur Paul Boers explores the Christian roots of pilgrimage.

The Camino letters: 26 tasks on the way to Finisterre.  Julie Kirkpatrick, a Canadian lawyer and her 19 year old daughter walked the Way together. Before embarking, the author asked friends and family to give her a task to accomplish each day of the journey. The resulting book is a moving account of learning self-reliance and deepening of faith.

Santiago. Winnipeg writer Simone Chaput weaves a tale of redemption found on the path.

What the psychic told the pilgrim: a midlife misadventure on Spain’s Camino by Jane Christmas. The author of The Pelee Project, an account of her flight from urban madness, tells a different tale of escape.

Pilgrimage to the end of the world by Conrad Rudolph gives an historical overview of the pilgrimage of the Middle Ages as well as practical advice about getting there and what to take.

Alternatively you can follow the  trails broken by local “crusaders for walking”, the Prairie Pathfinders. Pick up one of their adventure guides to hikes and walking tours of Winnipeg and Manitoba and make your own pilgrimage closer to home: Hiking the heartland or Winnipeg walks.

Happy trails!