Take a Hike : The Dobson Trail (prequel)

Oh, the Dobson Trail. Over the years, this trek has somehow became my Everest…

Situated in the southern part of New Brunswick, this footpath winds through 58km of Albert County wilderness … or as I like to call it, my hometown! Growing up in this area, the idea of hiking all the way from Riverview to Fundy National Park, which would take an hour by car, oddly enthralled me!

As mentioned, I grew up in Albert County so many of my summer vacations, up until I started working, were spent at our camp near the Fundy Park. As a result of this, the coastal fogs and spongy moss became synonymous with my childhood.

I first attempted the Dobson Trail when I was 20 years old. Being young and ill-prepared, I only lasted one night, which I spent trying to keep warm and praying for morning to come. As soon as the sun rose, I packed up my gear and quickly backtracked to the parking lot!

Attempt two came four years later. Slightly better equipped but still lacking the necessary preparations for such an endeavor, I set foot once again. The first night was cozy, despite the coyotes pacing outside the walls of my nylon tent. Unfortunately, the following morning greeted me with the pitter-patter of rainfall. My spirits were partially dampered as I sloshed onward. I walked until the trail finally spit me out onto a paved road. From there, I paced up and down semi-looking for where the trail reconnected, but also subconsciously wanting an excuse to get back to a dry house and order pizza – so that’s what I did!

As a result of this, I have unfinished business with the Dobson Trail. At this point, it almost feels personal; therefore, I shall soon begin my third attempt with my thirteen year old son as my hiking companion. Surely, with some experience under my belt, this third time will truly be the charm!

Camp Quarantine : So Far, So Good (pt. 4)

Thursday, April 2, 2020 (day 6)

Once accepting a situation, it often becomes easier to tolerate.

I initially passed my days like a house pet. I waited to be fed. I waited for attention. I waited for my husband to come home (and would get excited once he did). And I spent long hours sitting at the window, wondering where people were going. Okay, well maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but I do hope that no one ever has to endure the hunger pangs of waiting for a teenager to wake up and feed you!
A few days into my quarantine, I decided that it was necessary to establish structure and routine in order to mentally survive this confinement. So every morning, I would wake up early, chat with my husband over coffee, make my bed, draw back the curtains, and begin my day.

Part of this routine included participating in an online course on The Science of Well-Being. In one of the sections, we discussed savouring. Savouring is the act of thoroughly enjoying something. Studies concluded that stepping out of your experience to savour and appreciate it will actually contribute to an increase in happiness!

It dawned on me that this is why I enjoy writing so much. Wandering Mandy is kind of a play on words. I wander a lot physically … but not nearly as much as I do mentally! I use writing as a tool to savour my experiences. It encourages me to pay closer attention and analyze how those moments make me feel and how I can capture them into words. How does this sand feel? What do those clouds look like? What is that smell in the air? How does all of this make me feel? I then try to preserve those experiences through my stories, which I can relive at any time.

In the beginning, it was quite emotional for me to be isolated and I spent a lot of time mourning the loss of my freedom and secretly resenting my family for not showering me in more pity. After a few days though, I decided that enough was enough and that it was time to accept this situation. I made a conscious decision to not waste any more of my precious time waiting and lamenting about the things that I cannot do or change.
So how did I take this bad situation and turn it into good? Or, even better, how did I embrace it? I decided to take this opportunity to finish that book I’ve always wanted to read. I decided to dust off my ukulele and finally learn how to play it. I decided to get really good at juggling. I decided to actually use those self-care products that I’ve never had time to enjoy. I decided to return people’s calls and messages and really engage in meaningful conversations with them. I decided to savour this moment of being alone with my thoughts and put that energy and emotion into my writing. Most importantly, I decided to stop putting my life on hold and instead be positive and patient while I wait for this pandemic to end.

“If you change the way you look at things, then the things you look at change”.

Stay positive! Stay home! Stay safe!


To Be Continued…