Top Ten June 2023 Posts, #ICYMI

We all loved Catherine’s post: Meet our newest sports hero: Jolien Boumkwo, Belgian shot-putter and substitute hurdler. And it was the most read post in June

A lemur (?) shot put

Cate’s still menstruating post was the second most read post in June. We’re not shocked.

In 2019 Catherine wrote about yoga poses she can’t do and what she does instead. Yoga poses was the third most read post on the blog in June.

Tracy’s 2013 post The shape of an athlete was the 4th most read post in June. I still love that post too!

How’s your vulva doing? may turn out to be another long lived and loved blog classic by Cate. This month it was our 5th most read post.

FIFI book club: “You just need to lose weight” and 19 other myths about fat people (section two) organized by Catherine was number 6.

My A real life lesson in muscle loss and aging was our 7th most read post this month.

Tiny colorful weights

The sit-rise test: trying to get up to save my life (2017) by Catherine was our 8th most read post.

My post Are my sixties for strength, wonders Sam was number 9.

The 10th most read post was Sam goes glamping and isn’t even embarrassed about. it

This didn’t happen to our very large tent

Nat tells the tale of a 1,000 km cycling trip from the SAG wagon

Recommended Playlist: White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane, Alone Time by Rufus Wainwright, A Well Respected Man by The Kinks, Don’t Stop Believing by Journey, Gotta Get Up by Harry Nilsson

A couple weeks ago my beloved Michel and his friend Fred rode in the Randonneurs Ontario Lake of the Burning Plains brevet .It’s a punchy 1,000 km route with lots of climbs. Both Fred and Michel told me it was an unreasonable thing to ask anyone to provide SAG support over such a distance and time. Honestly, it was more for me than them. I wanted to know they were safe during the ride, that included support but also an exit strategy if one of them needed to stop riding. Not to be a pessimist, but a lot of things can happen over 1,000 km and I wanted to help manage those risks.

Thanks to Fred’s amazing forethought and planning I knew how long each break at every control was and where the sleep stops fell. He even hosted a meeting the Monday before to run through the 3 day plan. My role was clear, arrange logistics so they could focus on riding and resting.

The Adventure

Friday evening we packed the car, picked up Fred and headed to Waterloo. There were a few supply stops and we settled in at The Inn in Waterloo. Our room, thanks to Fred, had a patio door that opened onto the parking lot which made bike movement easier. We went through the water bottle routine. Fred and Michel use Gruppo for electrolytes and nutrition: one bottle of Power, one of Ride and a third just water. They brought 6 bottles each, 3 on the bike and 3 with me to have ready at the next control.

The first day of the ride for me was about setting my opinions and ego aside to listen to what they needed. The plan agreed to at one control changed by the time I saw them next. I thought I’d have a lot of down time. The timing of the controls meant I was busy packing up, driving or setting up at the next control. By day 3 napping also became a priority.

You see the back of a green car with hatchback and doors open. Inside is a blue cooler, a water cooler and a lot of groceries

I brought a giant water cooler to keep in the car, a food cooler and a few bags of snacks. I was responsible for all meals, bought or made. The first was a 3:30 am breakfast of coffee, bagels, cream cheese and fruit. I was also the time keeper. Our ambitious plan was to keep the first four stops at controls to 15 minutes and have 1 hour stop each day for a sit down meal.

Day 1 rolled out perfectly and according to plan. I went ahead and secured food at each control with replenishment bottles prepared and waiting. I checked us into the motel and brought in bags. The idea being all these tasks would have otherwise been done by the cyclists. I was saving their time, energy and focus for the ride. It was really working!

In fact they hit the Bowmanville sleep control a full hour and 25 minutes ahead of plan. AMAZING! I thought they would sleep longer but the excitement of the day led to everyone struggling to sleep after showers. So after self care activities and a scant 2 hours of sleep they got up and started on day 2.

The Middle Part

With an hour earlier departure on day 2 than planned the first logistical challenge was that the next control, Millbrook, had nothing open before 8 am on Sundays. My riders were going to be there around 7 so I deeked up to Peterborough for coffee and farmers wraps to have ready at the control. I was starting to feel a bit trippy with the lack of sleep but the sunrise was refreshing. I had bought an electric lunchbox for the trip and it kept hot food hot, like those imported farmer’s wraps. It is really hard to predict how far out the riders were and what time they would arrive. Hills make even the best mathematicians liars. Luckily a third rider, Luke, caught up with Fred and Michel. As my riders left I stayed to chat with Luke and offer some support just as the Foodland opened. I would see him at most controls over the next two days.

I loved scouting ahead looking for shady spots to eat and rest. We had a picnic in Norwood in a butterfly garden by a pond. It was a beautiful place to stop.

Oak Lake was a photo control without any services so I cooked hotdogs in the car while driving and kept them warm. My sister Anj called me to check in and keep me company. She did that often over the trip and I’m so grateful. She is very good at problem solving and we talked through a lot of challenges. When Fred and Michel arrived Luke texted them he had a spill and was back on his bike. We agreed to wait for him. So food and water flowed while time ticked on. Luke showed up with minor abrasions that he treated with water and rubbing alcohol I had on hand. A few band aids were needed but he was in good spirits. I was glad I could support another rider and added First Responder to my list of duties.

I leapt ahead to the big meal control in Campbellford. I picked a pizza place called Apollo’s and pre-ordered. The staff treated the arriving cyclists like rock stars. The sun set as they rolled out of town. At this point, the evening of day 2, I was starting to feel the sleep deprivation and time in the car. My friends Gail and Janet called to get an update and check in on me. It was awesome. The cell reception was terrible as I drove south to Coburg but they persevered calling me back a few times

I had been going for a walk once I arrived at a control, then doing my pit crew duties. At the next control I also napped in the car. Fatigue was really messing with me and no number of walks was helping. That night was a mere 2 hours of sleep.

The Third Day

The final day, I have notes and pictures but it is very blurry. Lots of naps. Lots of emotional support. Lots of waiting as the cyclists slowed their pace. It had been VERY HILLY and the third day was very hot. Mercifully no mechanical issues or rain. Sometime after dinner I realized I had stopped to nap close to where their route was taking them. I intercepted them, only to waive and shout encouragements as they rolled past. I saw them looking strong and smiling. I knew without a doubt that they would finish and make it before the cut off.

It was super rough to see them at the second last control in Orangeville. It was dark, they were tired and time was getting away from them. Luke rolled in just behind the. After everyone had tried resting they rolled off together around midnight for the last leg.

I attempted driving to Waterloo and needed to pull over to nap. I was very sleep deprived and needed to stay safe. I set a timer for 15 minutes and fell into oblivion waking up 20 seconds before the alarm. I eventually got to the hotel and set up to receive the riders. I sat down to wait and woke up to Michel coming in the room around 5 am. Fred and Luke quickly followed. They had done it! 1008 km in 3 days.

Three cyclists stand together arranged tallest to shortest. Fred at 6’2″ then Michel at 5’9″ and Luke, height unknown. They are standing in a parking lot at pre-dawn under a streetlight. I took a VERY COOL photo.


We slept, you guessed it, 2 hours then packed up the car and came home. There is no doubt that my support played a significant role in their successful completion of the ride. The time saved sourcing food and water, pre-ordering at restaurants, checking into hotels really added up. Sometimes they needed just another person to talk through a challenge. Fred, Michel and Luke were constantly thanking me and expressing gratitude for the supplies, care and company.

Through the days I was getting phone calls and messages from friends and family asking for updates on the guys but also checking in with me. How was I? Those second level support folks kept me going. I could not do the things I needed to without the encouragement and company those conversations offered.

I had fashioned myself a bit of a social media coordinator taking phots and posting updates. I figure it is a great way to show off the sport and what amateur athletes can do. It’s really cool. It helped me connect to other Randonneurs who were avidly following the adventure. All of them also gave me shout outs for my support because they understand how challenging and important it is.

Our kids kept the house, dog, cat, fish and gardens while we were away. Another layer of support. So whenever you see someone achieving something amazing I think it’s important to think about all the folks behind the scenes that are ensuring the awesomeness can happen. It was an honour to be trusted with seeing the riders at their most vulnerable. It made the accomplishment even sweeter.

Overall it was harder than I imagined but also a lot of fun and very rewarding. 10 out of 10 I’d SAG wagon again!

Nat is making a silly face in the car while Fred and Michel lean in, smiling. It was a total success!
celebration · equality

June Pride Run, Then and Now

#TBT: June 29, 2015

In June 2015, Sam wrote about how much fun she had Walking and Running with Pride.

She was a busy person this week 8 years ago, and despite some admitted hardships (including the harbinger of a sore knee) she decided to focus on “the good stuff”: children graduating from a program for LGBTIQ2S youth; a Pride run with her daughter in Toronto, Canada; and FIFI bloggers running together with her.

According to Sam, the 2015 Pride and Remembrance Run event included some great fundraising, colourful confetti, a glitter canon, Muppets music, bright costumes, closed roads, and the presence of the province’s Premier. The descriptions and pictures make a #TBT re-visit to Sam’s post worthwhile!

This year, on Saturday, June 24, FIFI bloggers were mostly out doing other fun things during the day of the Pride and Remembrance Run. I was in the backyard of Marnie and Sheila, two awesome people who were celebrating their recent marriage with 35 other friends and loved ones. (They had a food truck!) So while I was nowhere near the Pride Run, I was still out in the world celebrating queer love, inclusion, and community spirit. However, I did sneak a peek at the Run’s photo gallery, and it seemed like an amazing day for participants, even with the periodic rain.

But 2015 and 2023 has its differences. This year, increased concerns about safety due to homophobia and transphobia were reported by the CBC to have led to potential programming cuts for the Run. Commercial “ally ship” (in the form of sponsorship) was also threatened to wane, according to Opinion writer Rob Csernyik in the Globe and Mail, following backlash/boycott responses to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney earlier that year.

As well, Ontario has had a different provincial leader since Sam’s post in 2015. Doug Ford, since his first Premiership in 2018 (and re-election in 2020), has been critiqued often for failing to support 2SLGBTQIA+ education, health and wellness, and visibility.

So, the Toronto Pride and Remembrance Run remains a popular a day-long event that incorporates physical activity to celebrate people for who they are. But, by comparing then and now, I am reminded that such events have an important, grounding message: equal rights and equitable treatment for all people must be supported actively, and all year round as well. Because things can change (and not always for the better).

Intersex inclusive pride flag
Intersex inclusive pride flag is Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

Everyday Cycling Adds Up

I joined a couple of challenges as part of Bike Month but deliberately didn’t do too much more than normal. I wanted to see what that would look like.

I normally bike to the office four days a week (just over 2.5 km each way). I bike to swim practice once a week. I visited the dressmaker near the pool a couple of times (she’s making me a dress for my son’s wedding later this summer). I rode to both community gardens, though not every time I went, because sometimes it was easier to combine with a trip to the barn outside of town. I used it for groceries almost every time I needed something, but sometimes that was also combined with a work commute or trip to the barn, so no extra kms to count.

I did join in a few group rides, as I usually do in summer. One night I rode to my friend’s to feed her cats (43 km round trip, my longest distance since high school). Another night I rode across town to meet up with people from my fruit harvesting organization. Despite best efforts, I did not ride the bike shares in Toronto while visiting during Pride weekend, but I did spot one of these awesome seat covers that BikeShare Toronto had made.

Pink bicycle seat cover with the words “Thanks for Being Bike Curious” in large letters, with #RideTOPride in small letters. There is also a circle with rainbow colours and the words Bike Share Toronto on the edge, and a small white bicycle in the centre.

Strava tells me that I completed over 215 kms. The last time I checked, I was the top contributor to my team’s Let’s Bike Ottawa challenge, after biking 15 days before going on holidays until the end of the month.

Those aren’t huge numbers, but they do represent an estimated 55 kg of greenhouse gases averted and $132 saved compared to running a car (payments and insurance included, not just gas).

This month I was reminded that my city is more compact than I imagine from inside my car, but also bigger and more interesting. I saw bats and fireflies, waved to, smiled at, and chatted with random strangers, figured out a decent crosstown route and a way to get all the way to the south end of town almost entirely on the trail system.

I also improved my #CarryShitOlympics skills, which amused my whole team at the staff picnic.

Me in an orange shirt and blue bike helmet, holding my loaded bike in a park. I have a table, folding chair and croquet set strapped to the back. The panniers have a tablecloth, framed certificates, chips, salsa, serving bowls, a cake, knife, cutlery, plates and napkins. My front basket has a boules game and a vase full of flowers.

How did you spend Bike Month? Drop a comment about any new things you tried and and what was particularly fun.

competition · femalestrength · fitness · racing · team sports

Meet our newest sports hero: Jolien Boumkwo, Belgian shot-putter and substitute hurdler

Hey y’all– in case you’re in need of some happy, joyful, positive news today: look no further. Meet Jolien Boumkwo, Belgian shot-putter and all-around good egg. She literally embodied the spirit of teamwork on Saturday at the European Championships in Track and Field. How did she do this? By winning her shot-putting competition? Nope. She finished seventh, which is excellent. But no, it wasn’t that.

Boumkwo ran the hurdles race even though she is not a hurdler, but in fact a shot putter (completely different skillsets, I’m told). Why did she do it? Because: a) no one else on her team was available (due to injuries); and b) they needed someone in the race in order: b1) not to get disqualified from continued competition; and b2) get one point for their team in the hopes of not getting relegated from Division 1.

So Boumkwo did it. Here is the race. Watch it; you’ll be glad you did.

Shot putter Jolien Boumkwo, running carefully and powerfully over hurdles on her way to a team point for Belgium.

I love it that she’s tall enough basically to step over the hurdles and that she’s being careful not to get injured. It’s also nice (and appropriate) that she got high fives and handshakes from some of the other hurders after the race.

For contrast, here’s what Boumkwo doing what she’s trained to do.

Jolien Boumkwo, poetry and strength and precision in motion.

In her spare time, Boumkwo throws hammers, too. Note how far this one goes.

I came across the story in the New York Times, and of course the commenters had plenty to say. The comments were about equally divided between congratulations and thanks to her for demonstrating the spirit of teamwork, and shared anecdotes of cases where folks substituted in a not-their-sport competition and took one for the team. There were high jumpers who tried pole vaulting, hurdlers who tried relay races, swimmers who tried diving, and so on. They all said it gave them an appreciation for others’ talent and a feeling of team unity.

Or course there was one crabby person who said Boumkwo’s performance was embarrassing. Naturally, the rest of us piled on, replying that they were quite mistaken. Here’s what I added:

Her team needed someone in the race to get a point, and she volunteered (obviously with the approval of her coaches). It was heartening to see her, a champion athlete in her own right, put her ego aside to move safely and strongly through the race on behalf of her team. It wasn’t embarrassing– not to her, not to her competitors, not to her team, not to me, and not to other sports fans. It was joyful, smile-inducing, and inspiring in the best ways.

I assume you agree, FIFI readers?

Have I missed any other heroes this week? Let us know. Or tell us about your favorite moments of team participation.

advice · fitness · goals · motivation · self care

Go Team! June 2023: Do Your Own Thing

Hey Team,

If, like me, you are getting worn out by all the ‘Go, go, go!’ fitness and wellness messages that are all over social media right now*, I want to remind you that it is ok to do your own thing.

If you are keen on ramping up your exercise level right now, have at it!

If you are trying to slow things down, that’s good too!

If you are trying something new, that’s great!

If you are sticking with the tried and true, that’s marvellous!

No one else has your body, your brain, your schedule, your experiences, your emotions, your idea.

You can choose what works for you right now.

If you don’t know what might work, you can get some advice, try something different, or get some help but you only have to keep the parts that work for you.

Yes, you may hear a bit of nonsense from people who think they know best but feel free to let that noise fade into the background.

You can do your own thing, move your own way, find your own path, and be content.

As long as you are responding to the needs of your body, your brain, and your heart (literally and metaphorically) then you are doing the right thing.

And if you keep your efforts and your expectations aligned**, you’ll probably feel quite good while you do it.

It takes a bit of work to do your own thing, whatever that might be, so you know that you get a gold star for those efforts.

Here’s a very friendly gold star for you.

Have fun out there!

a drawing of a gold star with a happy expression surrounded by small blue dots and teeny black dots.
Image description: a drawing of a gold star with a happy expression surrounded by small blue dots and teeny black dots.

*Yes, I know they are always there but sometimes there seems to be even more of them than usual and right now is one of them.

** What do I mean by this? Well, I’m advising you to ensure that your expectations reflect the effort that feels right to you right now. So if this is a season for slow walks and meditation, please don’t demand that your body be ready for extreme sports by September. After a season of slow walks and meditation, you’ll probably feel more relaxed and introspective so perhaps your expectations could be that it will be easier to sit in meditation or that your slow walks will be longer or that your legs enjoy the feeling of walking or that you will be more mindful of the changes in nature. Not that you have to aim for ‘more’ of anything, I’m trying to convey a sense of noticeable change rather than trying to make you go bigger.

charity · cycling · fitness

Different distances on a Sunday, all good

This weekend seemed to be the weekend of blogger and blogger-adjacent bike rides.

I’m writing to congratulate myself on feeling good about my relatively short distance rides.

This blog’s Cate rode 103 km. (Note from Cate: I did that ride because I’m training for a cycling trip in Eastern Europe — and I realized after I finished that it was the first time I’d ridden 100km since we were all in windy Newfoundland in July 2019. No wonder it felt epic!)

Nat rode 30 km. (Nat’s training for the Grand Bend to London MS Bike Tour and you can donate to that worthy cause and sponsor Nat’s ride here.)

And me, I managed 15 km Saturday and 15 km Sunday as I come back from knee surgery. (My end of summer event is the Pedaling for Parkinson’s Ride in Prince Edward County and you can sponsor me here.)

And we’re all in awe of Nat’s partner Michel who last week rode 1000 km! Even if I’m not tempted, I’m definitely intrigued and impressed.

More and more, I’m feeling okay about being where I am and not worrying about where I ought to be. I think major surgery and recovery does that. It’s a serious reset and I’m okay with that.

I blogged last week about fear of setting big goals and even writing that post and admitting that made me feel vulnerable. This week I was just so happy to be out on my bike and riding that all of those feelings–while very real and still there–don’t have to run the show. I’m happy just be out there riding my bike.

Gasport to Middleport
Middleport to Medina
Sunday’s ride, Medina to Knowlesville and back
cycling · fitness

15 kilometers on the Erie Canal

Last weekend Sarah and I helped Jeff get his boat, Escapade, up the Welland Canal, through a series of somewhat intimidating locks. See here for photos and details.

This weekend we got to reap the benefits of our hard work visiting Jeff and Escapade on the Erie Canal. It’s my fave place so far we’ve done the “bikes and boats” thing. And I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in bikepacking. In the area we were in, Gasport NY to Knowlesville NY–the towns were spaced about 7 km apart. They also seemed very keen on visiting cyclists, offering up free camping and wifi, hot showers, etc.

I’m still getting back to outdoor riding after knee surgery and managed 15 km Saturday and 15 km Sunday but more importantly, it felt so good to be out there.

We saw a lot of different styles of cyclists, from people with gravel bikes fully kitted out with sleek rain proof bikepacking gear to groups people with hybrid bikes with milk cartons attached to their rear rack and tents wrapped in garbage bags. We also saw some young old order Mennonite women riding in long dresses and bonnets.

Definitely we had it the easiest since we didn’t have to carry our accommodation on the bike. For reasons of fuel efficiency Jeff runs the boat at a speed slower than we ride and he also had to wait for some bridges to open, so we usually got to the next town first.

Here’s a great shot of Jeff and Escapade motoring alongside Sarah and me riding our bikes.

Sarah and Sam on the path, Escapade in the canal

Here’s a guide to camping on the Erie Canal.

If you want to try biking and boating but you don’t own a boat, you can also rent a canal boat.

Since I’m riding more slowly these days we also stopped to take lots of photos!

Here’s Day 1: Gasport to Middleport (8.5 km) and then a coffee break before Middleport to Medina (7.25 km).

After I posted that we’d ridden 15 km on the Erie Canal pathway, our friend Alex sent us this video.

Erie Canal song on YouTube

Day Two: Medina to Knowlesville return 15 km

Sunday morning bike ride

Here is a description from the New York Times of the canalside bike paths,

“Dotted with canalside towns that tell a rich and often strange history of the westward expansion of America, the Erie Canalway Trail, a 360-mile bike path connecting Buffalo to Albany, is a route to savor. One endurance cyclist I spoke with made it from end to end in just over 31 hours (stopping only to stretch, eat and fix a flat), which is impressive. But racing through this trail defeats its purpose.

The Erie Canal, completed in 1825, not only opened up the nation to commerce, it also was a kind of psychic highway that attracted a steady stream of 19th-century freethinkers: Abolitionists, Mormons, Spiritualists, Adventists and suffragists can all trace their roots to this fertile vein of New York State.

The towns along the path, which is much more established than its north/south counterpart, can hardly be glimpsed from the interstate and are very welcoming to cyclists.”

We’re looking forward to riding a different section of the trail next year. 10/10 recommend.


On exercising– or not– while (even a little bit) drunk

CW: discussion of drinking alcohol while exercising.

Maybe it’s a slow exercise-related news week, but for whatever reason, Slate published an article examining working out while being (mildly) inebriated from alcohol. I suppose this isn’t totally shocking, as there are occasional running races, bike races, and even yoga classes incorporating beer or wine or liquor as festive add-ons. Tracy wrote about the “yoga and..” trend in 2017 with a bit of weariness. You can read it here.

There’s more than festive novelty going on in this article, however. The author is talking about the difficulty of doing workouts involving weights, cardio (read burpees, etc.) at home, in an environment not tailored to exercise. Feeling awkward or unmotivated, or lonely– missing the companionship and belonging from being in a collective workout space– makes it harder to exercise. The proposed solution: a shot and a half of liquor (your choice, but gin was mentioned approvingly).

The author goes through a few potential reasons why so-called small amounts of alcohol might facilitate exercise programs:

  • Lowered inhibition, reducing feelings of awkwardness of home workouts
  • possible increased motivation from the dopamine release that alcohol consumption releases

But once these potential advantages are examined, some expert says “no, that’s not a good reason at all”. Lowered inhibition can lead to injury (obvs), and dopamine release doesn’t obviously lead to increased motivation to exercise more, but rather a desire to drink more (and exercise less).

In my view, what’s really going on in the article (and in cases in the real world where people are using whatever substances in concert with physical activity) is that our lives don’t always allow us to enjoy physical activity in the ways we want. Here’s an example from the article:

[for] Shannon Sassone, a 33-year-old podcast producer, moderation is key. She has exactly one glass of rosé in the free hour between work and her spin class, and arrives on time feeling pretty much sober. A touch of alcohol brings Sassone back to her glacial life in Denver—before she moved to New York—when every 12-mile hike was accompanied by copious craft brews. “Maybe a rosé before working out gives me that little sunshine feeling I used to get when sitting outside with a beer in hand, satisfied with my efforts,” she told me.

All I can say here is: Shannon honey, put down the glass and go out to Central Park for a nice nature walk, if you’re missing being outside. Maybe consider moving back to Colorado– it sounds like you had nice friends to hike and socialize with.

Seriously, though: we’ve all been though a lot, both because of the pandemic and because of life’s twists and turns. We’re feeling lonely, out of place and out of sync, in need of movement and the good feelings that come with it. But it’s hard to find the right times and places and feelings to propel us into the zones of activity. Rewards, workout pals, preparation– we’ve talked on this blog about all sorts of ways to help make activity an easier part of our lives. If it comes down to it, I’m going to rent a goat before cracking open a bottle of rose in order to get myself in motion.

Yoga class with goats
This yoga class has a lot of goats.

What about you, dear readers? I’ve love to hear what you think.


Here’s My Happy Place – Where’s Yours?

Photo of sign that says Port Bruce
Port Bruce is actually a small Provincial Park too – pretty much just a beach

Do you have a favourite place to walk? I am writing this just after returning from what I think is my favourite locale for walking – Port Bruce, Ontario. I’m not sure why but I just feel like I have more energy when I’m there. The world feels both bigger AND smaller. My special place is a small harbour town, a village, really, on the shore of Lake Erie.

photo of a pebbly beach shore with small waves and a grey sky

Of all the Great Lakes, Lake Erie is probably the least glamorous. It is shallow. It is notoriously choppy and has at times been desperately polluted. For swimmers like me, summer swimming can be unappealing – the waves stir up sediment and it’s muddy. Sometimes it’s treacherous. The lake is so shallow that waves develop in a very chaotic way and it can make swimming and boating unpredictable at best.

The lakes inspire strong feelings, and in my Southwest Ontario city, there is a big divide: folks seem to be either Lake Huron people or Lake Erie people. Depending on what side of that divide you fall on, you may totally dismiss any lake Erie locale. Folks sometimes call it a mud puddle.

That was me, until we discovered a small cabin about 150 metres from the shore in Port Bruce. We came in the “off” season for a week and there were huge lake storms. I walked up and down the beach and through the streets. I was kind of hooked on this place.

close up photo of beach pebbles with a single piece of wet green beach glass
Port Bruce’s beach is beloved for finding beach glass!

It’s nondescript in some ways. A few older cottages. Some newer ones and the odd giant mega cottage. There’s a sizeable trailer court for summer visitors, and there’s a marina on Catfish Creek, whose muddy water flows from corn fields to the north.

Port Bruce as a town lacks hubris, and that suits me fine. You hear a chain saw or a power tool most days and it reminds me of life in the logging town I grew up in.

photo of woman smiling at camera while standing on beach.

Somehow, all of that makes me feel like walking. Really. It’s odd, even to me. But the lack of affect of this place makes me feel more comfortable and I just walk and walk. Up the beach. Down. Through the little streets. Even the steep (for Ontario!) hills don’t bug me. 

The past week was pretty glorious – I worked, I walked, I swam. It got me wondering if anyone else has a special spot. I’d love to hear about it, and what makes it so great.