Monday, May 10, 2010

Streetwalking Update...what I've learned.

I read that people who set goals for themselves, with deadlines for completion, have an 89% lower risk of developing alzheimer's. I read this in a women's magazine, so it is probably about as valid as an article that would suggest that I'll be the next Prime Minister of Canada. On the other hand, where's the harm? I have now set an end of the year deadline for my streetwalking (see February 2/10 blog). This is a good thing because circumstances have caused me to slack off in the last month. Part of my new found motivation is a fear that with the rapidly encroaching housing developments, new streets will be built before I am able to conquer the current ones. Another worry is that the dreaded winter season might be a bit more aggressive next year than the previous, thus providing fewer hiking opportunities. Finally, and more honestly, if I don't get on with this, I might lose interest. So now I have a deadline. To date, I have completed walking about one fifth of the town's roads.

I have learned a few things during my journey.

After climbing over an assortment of mudpiles where roads were supposed to be, I learned that maps are not always accurate. There are many streets that have "no exit" but show great promise (in some mapmaker or developer's imagination that is).

My map did however help me with a challenge that I've experienced ever since moving here. I finally solved a mystery.

There is a clearly visible water tower with our town's name etched across it just before our highway exit. This same water tower sits a few streets north of here. In the past, I have walked downtown on numerous occasions, "attempting" to use the tower as a landmark. Obviously, I thought, turning in the opposite direction of the water tower would send me on a southerly path where 3.8 km later, I would arrive downtown. Apparently, obvious is not always so obvious.

Over and over again, on every trek, I walked in circles, making no progress toward my destination. How would I ever get to the library, the bank, or any store that might be having a sale? I've heard one definition of insanity as "repeating the same behaviour and expecting a different result", but in my defence, I knew I had to be correct. It had to work one of these times didn't it? The water tower was north and downtown was south. Obvious. When I would eventually pass the local elementary school for the third time, I'd usually resort to asking a lawn mowing local for help. I would immediately be directed to streets that couldn't possibly work, nonetheless, I listened to the instructions and magically, they always got me downtown.

So when I began my formal streetwalking in February, I started on some of the familiar roads in my own neighbourhood. I suppose I could have cheated and crossed off the ones that I had toured so often with and without the dog. Nope, I decided to start fresh. Map in hand, off I went. I highlighted every step I took so that I knew precisely where I was. And where I was when I saw it, was definitely, unequivocably, without a doubt, facing east! There it was, looming large, right in front of me...the water tower. How was that possible? Baffled, I turned north to go around the block and back home. That's when I saw it, through the bare trees, looming large, right in front of me...the water tower. I almost gave myself whiplash flipping my head back and forth, back and forth to confirm my discovery. Suddenly, my many circular trips made sense.

Heading home, I grumbled to myself, "What town needs two water towers anyhow? Stupid. Confuse me all those times. Hmmmph". So here ends, "The Tale of Two Water Towers".


  1. would you have gotten lost if you had your phone/gps/mp3 player/photo album/internet/library with you?

  2. No, but I wouldn't have made it downtown trying to schlep all that stuff either.