Sunday, July 15, 2012

Down the Home Stretch and Across the Finish Line

Date of hike:  Fri.  July 13, 2012

Weather: 31C (humidex of 36C), sunny

Duration of hike:  1 hour 52 minutes

Section:  1—from southern terminus of trail on Southdel Road (0 km) to corner of Bell Road and Little Church Drive (approximately 4.0km mark)

Distance: 8.0 km               Cumulative distance:  227.0 km

While this last little stretch wasn’t much different from our previous outing, in terms of what the route had to offer, our stimulus to keep going was the fact that this was the last hike of our Thames Valley Trail project.  What a coincidence that we were out on a Friday the thirteenth as well!  But we had nothing but good luck as we dutifully made our way along the roads and through the fields to our turn around and back again.

Beginning at the southern terminus of the trail, or at the 0 km mark, we chose to come from this direction so that we would be at the point where the TV Trail meets the Elgin Trail when all was said and done.  This just seemed to be the logical spot to finish it off and to celebrate with a toast to the trail and our adventure.
Starting later in the afternoon, when the hot sun wasn’t beating directly down upon us, we made good time along what was a pretty easy route.  We were slowed a bit by the corn as it’s getting pretty tall now, but other than that, it was smooth sailing.  While on our way back, through one corn field, an animal darted out from the rows and then back in again.  At first glance, it looked to be a dog, about the size of a collie.  But the second time it appeared we could now see that it was a rabbit….probably the largest rabbit either of us had ever seen!  Rabbit’s feet being the good luck charms that they are, maybe this was our lucky token for the day that it was.

At the turn around--Little Church Drive and
Bells Road, once again.
Now that we have completed the full trail, end-and-back, we are planning to hike some sections of the Elgin and Avon Trails before tackling the Bruce Trail with all of its challenges.  That endeavour won’t start until later this year or the spring of 2013.  We have some summer holiday travel plans coming up on the horizon that will keep us from any of these trails for a while yet.
Turning onto the home stretch--from Carriage Road and
back onto Southdel Road.
The home stretch! Smelling the barn! :)
As for the end-to-end badge that is available for hikers who complete the full distance, I am waiting to hear back from a TVTA official as to whether we are eligible or not.  The trail guide states that the full length should be completed under the direction of a TVTA hike leader.  We have not done that, but with this blog, each hike has been fully documented, including pictures.  Plus, we have done the full distance twice over and completed it within a 12 month period; 50 weeks to be exact.  Hopefully an exception will be made with regards to the posted criteria and we will receive good news per our request.
For the longest time, I had been under the impression that the full trail length was 130 km.  I’ve no idea where I got that number as the guide clearly states on page 9 that it’s 110 km.  As we were nearing our end point, I noticed that the cumulative distance was going to be well below 260 km (double the 130 for an end-and-back journey).  I became concerned that I had made some mathematical errors along the way.  But when I totalled the distances of the fifteen sections, it came to 113.8 km; so that makes an end-and-back total of 227.6 km.  Somewhere along the way, we did “lose” 600 m; but rest assured that we did complete the full distance of the trail, back tracking each section in order to return to our car.  At least I discovered my error in thinking that the trail was 130 km or else I would really have some accounting issues!
The finish line!
Cheers!  These handy little screw top bottles
of Spanish sparkling wine were just
the ticket!
Nonetheless, we are finished and what better way to close out this chapter than with a toast.  To the Thames Valley Trail and all who venture its paths; to those who came before us and mapped it out, doing the necessary work to make it a reality; to those volunteers who help to maintain and promote it; and to those who have yet to discover this treasure.
Happy Trails!


  1. Congratulations! What's next on your bucket list? :)

    Enjoy your upcoming trip!

  2. Thanks Carrie! So many trails out there waiting to be discovered!