My friend Judi Gosbee wanted to mark entering her 50th year and suggested completing the Island Walk. I jumped on board and agreed to do it with her.
We started our first section 29-30 on January 1, 2022.
The start point for this section is right near Judi’s house and seemed like a logical place to begin. The winter snow hit not long after so the trails were closed which put continuing our walk on hold.
The bulk of our walk was then completed April – June and Sept – November with us taking the summer months off. Since we are Islanders we have the luxury of walking weekends and not doing it all in one shot. I have to say that was the best part for me. Seeing all 4 seasons unfold.
From apple blossoms in June to coming across apple trees in October and enjoying a treat off a tree as we walked by. Seeing potato fields being planted and then being harvested. I said on section 22-23 on Oct 22nd – Bud the Spud is busy tonight hauling another big load of potatos! Seeing lupins, lilacs, wild roses in June turn into Diana’s pumpkin patch Sept 16th on section 11-12 Alberton to Portgage. Fiona hit the Island in the early hours of Sept 24th causing mass devastation but even among the destruction there was beauty to be found like a lone lupin on Sept 30th (section 14-15).
Thankfully during this time we had mostly road walking as the Confederation Trail was closed to the public for debris cleanup. We recall the sounds of chainsaws and generators as so many were still without power but working on cleaning up their properties. By Thanksgiving Monday we had to make a small detour as this part of the walk – Cymbria – Dalvay – had a detour due to the National Park also being closed to the public for Fiona clean up. It was a common sight to see crews working clearing the ditches on the roads as well as traffic hauling trailers full of brush.
We were determined to keep moving forward so we pivoted by skipping to ahead to Elmira to walk the road sections 22-26. We even had our 2 youngest children join us for the Cardigan – Montague section (the shortest of all the sections being 12km). By the time we completed these road walks early in November the Confederation Trails were clear to pass so we circled back to where we stopped before we skipped ahead.
This section of the Confederation Trail was my favourite, Mt. Stewart, St. Peters, New Zealand all the way to Elmira – with a special shoutout of the views coming into Mt. Stewart.
We have lots of memories to look back on for sure, our chats, sharing stories and confidences and quiet times. Being blessed with good weather. The pleasant surprise when a section ended early and persevering through a longer than expected one.
The people we met along the way and our family and friends who helped make transportation between start and end points more manageable. We went from thinking we were going to die walking 26km to 22km being, dare we say, ‘easy’ and this becoming our new ‘normal’ walking distance!
The red dirt roads, hay bales, beaches, fishing communities, farms, lighthouses, windmills, bridges and countless other random things that make PEI PEI. We know and appreciate our island better now having seen it from a walker’s pace. Knowing forever, every time we see an Island Walk sign, we can say, “Hey, I did that!”.