I did it! This Canadian Thanksgiving weekend I completed the Conqueror Challenge called St. Francis Way, virtually travelling from Florence to Rome. I last posted about this personal quest in March, so it’s taken me quite a while, but it’s fun to be “visiting” my final destination – the antiquities of Rome – via the Challenge app as I sit here in eastern Canada enjoying the spectacular fall colours.
As I explained when I posted about this challenge early on the “journey”, whenever you run, walk, cycle, skip, or crawl and you’re tracking your movements with some activity monitoring device, the distance is automatically sent to your Challenge app and, ta-da, an updated map showing your new virtual location appears. Also, the Google street view of where you are (virtually) appears, so you can get a bit of a sense of being there. This is where I ended my journey, as I approached the Vatican.
There have been a number of wonderful views as I’ve “wandered” through Tuscany, but there have also been some pretty mundane views as the route passed through extensive flat agricultural fields. And as I’ve come home from each run/walk and checked out my new distance on the map and the new street view of where I “was”, I’ve reflected on just how beautiful the real, local views are that I’ve just run or walked past.
This is one of the many things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend … and always: where we live. We live in a smallish, friendly city that straddles both sides of a beautiful river – called the St. John River by the European colonizers and known for millennia as the Wolastoq to the Indigenous peoples. Our city is graced by a host of walking trails on both sides of the river, connected by the Walking Bridge, a former railway bridge that was repurposed a few decades ago, as the former train tracks had been some time before that. The trails are widely used in all seasons, busy with walkers, runners, cyclists, dog walkers, skate boarders, scooters, roller bladers, powered wheelchairs, you name it. And I am lucky enough to live right on one of the trails along the river.
As my Thanksgiving gift to my friends in the blogosphere, I thought I’d share the bounty Mother Nature has bestowed upon this part of the world. It’s beautiful in every season. (OK, a few of you might mind the cold of winter, but there’s no time more beautiful, really!). When I’ve been running virtually through Italy these past many months, this is what I’ve been experiencing each and every day.
- Downtown Fredericton along the river
- Northside, views of/from Walking Bridge and the University of New Brunswick on the hillside
- Marysville Trail
- En route to the Walking Bridge, one of my favourite treed spots
- Behind the Lieutenant Governor’s Residence
- The Lincoln Trail
- Near St. Peter’s Church and Hartt Island
If you can’t make it to Italy, try New Brunswick instead. Beautiful trails AND lobster, you can’t go wrong!
As I continue to enjoy the scenic delights of my hometown, I’ll now also be virtually run/walking the rugged highlands of Scotland. Yes, I’ve just signed up for a new Conqueror Challenge, the North Coast 500. Anyone care to join me in this quest??!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Image credits: Howard Fritz, Jane Fritz, Tourism Fredericton, alltrails.com, Pinterest