After Walking 1120 km I Reached Calgary

by bart on August 2, 2013

20130801-192418.jpgI stayed in High River only one night, even though I had originally planned to stay a couple of days to volunteer and help with the flood recovery effort.

They needed specialized trades and construction help, and the pain in my foot left me barely walking, so unfortunately I was unable to contribute. Instead I hobbled off to Okotoks.

My regular walking speed on flat ground was 5.5 to 6km/hr, but hobbling I was doing only about 3.5km/hr.

Just before reaching Okotoks, after resting at the side of the road I started walking again, and a car pulled up ahead of me.

As I approached it the girl inside rolled down the window and started asking me something but I couldn’t hear what because of the wind and traffic noise.

I walked up to the car door to hear better, and she asked me if she was going the right way to Cayley (AB). I had passed this little village on the way to High River a couple of days ago, and confirmed that she was.

She then asked me what I was doing, so I explained about my 1100 km walk. She was so amazed and happy that she jumped out of the car and gave me a giant hug, as well as a bunch of fresh fruit, and a big bottle of fruit juice.

I have to admit that she made my day. In fact, she made me feel better than I had in the last few days.

Not only that, but she gave me a nice donation for my fundraising.

With a smile and renewed emotional and mental energy I continued to Okotoks. After spending the night there I set out for my final destination – Calgary.

The next morning I organized my stuff, threw out a bag full of unnecessary things along with my sleeping bag and sleeping pad. Neither had survived the past 41 days of punishment inflicted on them by my journey. This made my cart lighter and easier to push, and I was ready to finish my journey.

My foot was in bad shape, one of the two hostels in Calgary was closed as it was damaged by the flood, while the other was fully booked, and hotels ranged $150-$200 per night, also due to the floods in southern Alberta. I was tired and it seemed that Calgary didn’t want me.

Even though my plane ticket home (generously purchased for me by Andrew Kunkel, owner of Polonia Sausage House in Vancouver) was for later that week, I was determined to get home the same day I reached Calgary.

From Okotoks to Calgary I walked 24 km, mainly fuelled by the adrenalin rush of knowing that I might be home in Vancouver that night.

After reaching Somerset in Calgary I took the train downtown. I then got on a bus, with my backpack cart and went straight to the airport.

I was lucky again as at the airline counter I got my flight date changed without paying any extra fees (thank you Sean C. For the fantastic idea to try and do that!), and departed Calgary less than two hours after I got to the airport.

After walking 1120 km over 42 days with only three days rest, and spending 40 nights sleeping outdoors, I am finally back home, tending to medial tibial stress syndrome, or shin splints in my right leg. Oddly, my post-surgery left knee is fine.

Photo above is of my final destination on the horizon – Calgary.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mazen August 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm

WOW! Congratulations Bart. You made it! I remember way back when you were telling me all about your plans for this walk, and now it’s all behind you and successful. Proud of your efforts.

Welcome home Bart.

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bart August 13, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Thanks Mazen!

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Carmen & Francis Priester August 2, 2013 at 8:30 pm

YEAH!! Congratulations on your wonderfully successful journey. I am so glad to hear you are safe and can now enjoy your feeling of accomplishment. Enjoy the comforts of home and stay well. We are so very proud of you.

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bart August 2, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Thank you! I’m going to rest up for a short while, and there will be more blog posts too – I have a lot of great photos to share.

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