I recently had the pleasure of spending 5 full-filled days with my daughter, Kati, in Nova Scotia (on the east coast of Canada) to celebrate her graduation from university. This was HER trip – organized to a ‘t’ (she has already traveled to 25 countries in her young life!). As is the case with MOST fathers, I was simply “along for the ride”. My main goals were to “go with the flow” and stay the HELL out of harm’s way. For those of you who regularly follow my blog, you know that the second goal was the BIG challenge!
We started our trip in Halifax where I ran along Halifax Harbour barefoot each morning before doing repeats on the Citadel hill (one mother of a BRUTAL climb) and finishing with a quick dip in the waters of the harbour near our hotel. Needless to say, Kate DID NOT join me! The good thing was this pumped me up for whatever Kate had planned.
Stop #1 was an 18 kilometre hike on Cape Split (near Wolfville) – basically, constant SERIOUS up and down terrain especially on the way out. There’s simply no easy way to get to the split and back BUT what a vista! Of course, I did most of the hike barefoot and had to add some natural method climbing into a few of the unique trees. Kate, as the official photographer, caught her dad in tranquil repose at various landmarks. It’s a part of the world that everyone should experience. The good news is I stopped short of going over the edge into the Bay of Fundy in deference to my daughter!
Stop #2 was Peggy’s Cove where again I had the chance to get into the Atlantic Ocean in one of the most spectacular natural coastlines on the planet. It’s breathtakingly beautiful BUT fraught with danger for those who dare take undue risks with Mother Nature.I climbed up and down the giant rocks that make the Cove unique, looking for the perfect access to the ocean. As you can see, I found it. Kate caught me on her zoom lens from the lighthouse – impressive! Being barefoot, it was much easier for me to connect to Mother Earth, balance myself on the rugged terrain and enjoy the action of the tides. Those wearing ‘coffins’ (shoes) had no such luck. They were forced to stay on the paths well-traveled without truly experiencing the incredible energy of the Cove. I mentioned earlier the importance of respecting nature – especially when around an ocean and giant sea boulders. Well, 1 hour after we left Peggy’s Cove, a woman was swept off one of the black rocks into the ocean where she died instantly – another victim of false security in a dangerous milieu.
On our way to Lunenburg (a UNESCO World Heritage site), we visited Chester (Stop #3) where I took the opportunity to do some swamp mud running at low tide in one of the bays. Needless to say, this was a challenge BUT a fantastic training session that improved my balance and body symmetry for the rest of our day. From there, we made it to Hirtle’s Beach (Stop #4) where, unbeknownst to me at the time, the Atlantic Ocean water temperature is at its coldest. Of course, I already had ventured in for a swim, realizing it was cold but not THAT cold. I kinda wondered why my eyeballs almost fell out – now I know!!
Having barely dried off from THIS, I wondered into the ocean just outside Lunenberg – Stop #5 – (near Chester) and decided against another swim. It WAS refreshing, though, and helped keep me activated, alert and at Kate’s beckon call – am I EVER a great dad!!! Kate even joined me – a local resident took our photo.
We finished off doing a few tours in Lunenberg (Stop #6) – I even got to play ‘captain’ under the watchful eye of the true captain – 42 year ocean fishing veteran – George Pike (in the background of the photo below)…the stories he told me! I soon realized just how tough the seamen of the Canadian East Coast were and how incredible it was that ANY of them survived season after season.
Heading back to Halifax, I had time to go for a short barefoot junket along the highway once again fully activating my body and keeping myself injury and fatigue-free – before posing for Kate on the road barrier. Kate and I even posed for a parting shot selfie with, of course, the Atlantic Ocean in the background.
Many wonder why I choose to go barefoot at every opportunity in virtually any environment. Well, the bottom line for me is physical and mental well-being. I am 63 years old with absolutely NO illnesses and NO injuries. I take NO medication and have no joint pain of any sort. I unlock and balance my body twice daily and eat whatever the hell I want whenever the hell I want! At the end of the day, my well-being starts and ends with being barefoot more often than not.
Believe me or not BUT go the shod path at your own peril!!