Day 77 – 36.6 km (total – 1691.2 km)
It was actually a bit tough to leave Fredericton this morning. I’ve met some warm and wonderful people over the past few days and have been drawn in by the city’s downtown core. Built around the Saint John River, there is a great mix of green spaces with some wonderful little shops that contribute to its laid back feel. I even found some Leaf fans last night so it felt that much more like home!
I ran through the city early this afternoon, which still seemed pretty quiet on a Sunday. And within a few kilometers, I was back on the TCH enjoying a beautiful day of blue sky and sunshine.
I just got off the phone with Mavis Lamont. Todd, her son, is a former Outward Bound staff who I crossed paths with years ago. He lives in Ottawa but is from Fredericton and so called his mom to let her know we would be passing through. I missed her email to connect with her, but had a great chat just moments ago. She very well could be the loveliest woman in Canada! And so it continues to be with the people we meet. I would sometimes label myself as an introvert, particularly with groups of people I don’t know, so part of this experience has put me into territory that I’m not always comfortable with. But time and time again, I am amazed at the warmth and genuineness of the people we have met. Whether it’s a city worker pulling over on the TCH to see if our RV is ok (we were just stopped for a lunch break!) or someone giving us directions who takes an interest in our project and by the end of a 4 minute conversation, you smile and feel like you’ve known them forever. The East Coast, the Maritimes – there is an openness with people that makes you feel at home.
And that sense of community can’t be understated. One of my favourite moments yesterday was going for a walk with Koona in Odell Park. It had snowed about 25 cm, but a group of Lebanese people, maybe family, were having a picnic in the park. Kids were having snowball fights and the fact that winter had momentarily set in again didn’t deter them from enjoying the day outside. I’m convinced that some of the warmth of people in the Atlantic region comes from their time spent on this stunning landscape. As I aim for Edmundston over the coming week, I will soak in as much of that warmth as I can from both the land and the people who inhabit it!