Bruce Trail

Produced April 4, 2011

I studied computer science at University of Waterloo between 1983 and 1989. Many times during those years I felt discouraged in the face of the seemingly never ending stream of assignments to churn out and hand in. I often got through those moments by focusing on my end goal – to graduate, to get my degree. To do that I had to complete each year of study. To complete each year I had to complete my current year. To complete my current year I had to complete each term. To complete the current term I had to complete each course and to complete each course I had to complete each assignment. Thus the way to get from where I was to where I wanted to go was to complete the current assignment that was in front of me. By focusing on my end goal and working backwards I found the motivation to go through each step in turn.

In 1989 I finally graduated and received my degree. This accomplishment created a new problem for me – I no longer had a big goal that I was working towards. I needed to set a new goal. I had worked hard during my university years so I wanted my new goal to be recreational rather than work or study related. I remembered going on day hikes on the Bruce Trail at Ukrainian youth camp when I was young and thought that hiking the entire Bruce Trail would be an interesting goal to have.

At that time I had the misconception that the trail was about 100 km in length and that it would make a good summer project. A friend of mine corrected me when she asked, “Did you know that the Bruce Trail is over 800 km long?” I didn’t know that but finding out meant one thing to me. It meant that it was going to take more than one summer to complete, and that made it an even better goal. Thus began my love affair with the Bruce Trail.

I ended up taking five years to hike the entire trail. In fact I had an entire year off in year four; I had allowed the entire year to pass by between hikes. I had other things going in my life by that time, other goals that demanded my attention. My original purpose for hiking the trail – to give myself a sense of purpose – was obsolete by that time of my life. Nevertheless, I had completed so much of it that I was not willing to let it slip by as one of life’s incompletions. So I finished the trail, celebrated, and moved on to other areas of my life.

When I attended the Tony Robbins Date With Destiny workshop at Palm Springs, California, in December 2010, I “discovered” several inspirational songs. One of them was the Mike Oldfield arrangement of Flowers Of The Forest from his 1996 album Voyager. When I got back home I created my own inspiration playlist and included this song. One day I as I was listening to it I got the idea to make a movie of the Bruce Trail set to the soundtrack of Flowers Of The Forest. One day I slipped on my hiking boots, grabbed my camcorder and headed out back to the trail. Thus I have opened a new chapter in my relationship with the Bruce Trail.

Click on the Play button above to see an excerpt from my movie.

4 Responses to Bruce Trail

  1. Lynda says:

    My dream has always been to walk the Appalachian Trail. So far I haven’t even put a foot on it. Perhaps I need to work on that. Thank you for the inspiration.

  2. orestgtd says:

    Thanks Lynda. It’s a pleasure to know that you’ve been inspired as a result of something I did and wrote about. I’ll hold a vision for you, that you will take your first step on the Appalachian Trail in 2013. Write about it when you do!

  3. seeker says:

    Good music for the trail. So you like long distance walking and hiking, eh? How about doing the Camino de Santiago? It’s a good one. I think you’ll like it.

    • orestgtd says:

      I had never heard of Camino de Santiago before. Am I correct in understanding from the Wikipedia article that it is a route between Rome and Jerusalem?

      Long distance hiking is a bit harder for my middle aged body 🙂 I’ll consider it for my bucket list though!

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