After completing the Kissing Bridge Trail (which is one section of the larger Guelph to Goderich trail), Matthew wanted to do something more challenging. As he lives in Woolwich Township, doing a trail that finishes basically at his door step seemed like a great idea. And, in Matthew’s words, “I also liked the idea of earning a badge, if I’m honest. I am a Cub Scout leader, so badges are part of my fun!”
Walking solo, Matthew started the trail on November 7th, 2017 and completed it on February 4th, 2018. He did it in 6 sections, averaging about 18km a hike. He encountered bitterly cold weather (-18C with the wind chill one day) and some knee-level snow which made for difficult walking. Fortunately, Matthew enjoys hiking in the snow and, being properly dressed, he was well prepared.
Matthew’s favourite section overall was from 60.7km to 78.7km – “lots of trail, little road, great scenery.” One highlight included having 5 deer run not more than 30 yards in front of him. A happy memory will be how fantastic it was sitting on a log in a quiet and beautiful forest, enjoying his quinoa and salmon lunch.
Transportation was a challenge he faced as a solo hiker. On the first hike he had driven to the start and then, at the end of that section, waited over an hour in the middle of nowhere for a cab to take him back to his car. After that, he left his car at the end point and his wife drove him to the starting point. “I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I did if it hadn’t been for the wonderful support of my wife,” said Matthew.
After finishing the End-to-End trail on Super Bowl Sunday, Matthew went to a friend’s charity Super Bowl party feeling like he had earned the chicken wings and liquid refreshment. The best part was that the beer on hand was from the new “Trail’s End Brewing Co.” He commented, “Couldn’t have been a more perfect beer for me there if someone tried!”
Matthew also completed the Stratford and Sandhills Side Trails, the latter accompanied by his wife and kids. He acknowledged the work of all the volunteers who maintain the trail and said, “It was a great experience and I highly recommend it.” Matthew is considering hiking the Grand Valley Trail next.
Congratulations Matthew for completing the Avon Trail from End-to-End!