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Our little piece of paradise

When Joni Mitchell sang, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone…” in her 1975 song, Big Yellow Taxi, she was referring to the environment. However, it has also become my mantra to keep my body moving when it would much rather hibernate, and to move it outside on our numerous scenic routes throughout the region.

I think about those words and the use-it-or-lose-it philosophy when I can’t get my feet into my running shoes because I would much rather sleep in some mornings than face the cold dark, which is the ambience surrounding my 5 am run these days.

The lyrics are my motivation to combat those lazy days that appear all too frequently as the weather gets colder and my joints aren’t as co-operative as they used to be. Most people don’t know what they’ve got or had until they no longer have it. This is so very true of one’s health and vitality, along with the environment.

Recently my good friend and I decided to walk/run/stroll/hike the many interesting trails and parks in the Greater Sudbury area while we are still basking in the glow of feeling fit for our age. Although I have lived here for more than 25 years, there are so many places I’ve never seen in our region and there’s no excuse except for poor planning.

So off we went to tackle the 10-kilometre route on the Laurentian Trail. We couldn’t wait. We were so excited to get out in the bush, off the pavement and away from the gym, to feel the warmth of the sun and the breeze under the shaded trees.

But, we live in bear country and, on the particular day we planned to tackle the trail, staff at the Conservation Area warned us away due to the unusually high sightings of bears, unafraid of humans, noise or bear bells.

It was frustrating, but instead of giving up and heading home, we went to Bell Park to walk the loop there. We live in the New Sudbury/Garson areas and use the beautiful Rotary trail by Adanac Ski Hill. We never go the Bell Park area, except when attending events such as the Sudbury Jazz festival.

It turned out to be a good decision and a great day.

After hustling along the length of the park, we ventured further around the lake and ended up looking at some interesting houses and gardens lining the route. We witnessed one creative resident carving a bench out of a huge tree trunk. It was incredible. I’m sure now that it’s finished, it’s even more so. We had an interesting conversation with the owner.

We talked to another resident who has a beautiful English garden. Facing the lake, it even had trees laden with fruit and some of the healthiest perennials I’ve seen this year! It was another surprise on our last-minute plan to visit the Bell Park area instead of heading home in defeat.

At one point, we stood spellbound by some interesting architecture and homes cradled along the Ramsey route and marvelled at a rooftop garden that could be mistaken for a home in Manhattan.

What a wonderful afternoon it turned out to be.

It also inspired us to spend more time exploring our “backyard” so to speak and to get to know our region’s trails, parks and neighbourhoods better.

We are very lucky here in Greater Sudbury. Paradise still exists.

Here’s to enjoying it as much as we can, while we can.

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