Hello, I’m Catherine: Teacher, learner, and general lover of travel, games, and good design. Over the next few months, I’ll be visiting and writing about some of the conservation areas managed by the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (which from now on, I will refer to as CRCA). You may be wondering how I came to have this opportunity. That story is somewhat long, though quite interesting, and involves social media and a picture taken about two years ago. Perhaps I will share that at a later time. For this first post, however, I want to set the stage with a little bit about me, and how I stumbled upon the CRCA.
Now, I used to be one of those kids who stayed indoors and did puzzles when it rained. I didn’t like it when my shoes got wet, and grass stains on my clothes were often met with tears.
Then I moved to Kingston.
It was 2006 and I was just starting my first year of university at Queen’s. I came prepared with everything that I thought I’d need for school and residence life. What I wasn’t prepared for, though, was walking to class rain or shine. I would often return to my dorm with my pant legs soaked and my shoes waterlogged – the Kingston wind having claimed yet another one of my poorly constructed pocket umbrellas.
It was then that I had an epiphany. Maybe I could dress for the weather? I bought my first pair of rain boots, and a solid umbrella, and almost instantly I felt invincible. With that feeling of invincibility, I became bolder in exploring the outdoors.
Growing up, one outdoorsy thing I did enjoy was hiking, though we didn’t get to do it often (unless you count strolls along the ravine trail behind my house). In Kingston, everything seemed so much more accessible: the water, green space, and all the other wonders of nature. Taking advantage of this, I began visiting a few parks and CRCA conservation areas in the city. One day, I found myself at Lemoine Point. And the love affair began.
I visited Lemoine Point Conservation Area whenever I could. That is, whenever I had access to a vehicle, or a friend with a vehicle. When I moved to Kingston permanently, I bought my first bike. Well, the first one since the orange and black two-wheeler that I rode when I was 7.
Lemoine Point quickly became a fixture along my cycling trail. I’d head in the Front Road entrance and out towards Bath, resisting the urge to stop and pick the pretty wildflowers along the sides of the trails (because if you read the signs, you’ll know that you should “take only pictures, [and] leave only footprints.”)
I’ve been in Kingston almost 10 years now, and getting outside has become a part of my everyday routine. These days, I’ve usually got my four-month-old son in tow, but he’s pretty much grown up in a carrier, so we can still do almost all the things that we used to do.
I really hope you’ll enjoy coming alongside us as we explore new places and rediscover more familiar ones. And of course, we’d love to hear about your experiences and favourite spots too!