This week I took my longest bike ride yet. According to my cycle computer I rode a total of 18 km. I started early in the morning after waking at 5:30, looking out the window, and seeing a clear sky after several rainy days. I dressed quickly, toasted a slice of multigrain bread, smeared it with peanut butter and strawberry jam, gobbled it down, grabbed my helmet, filled my water bottle, and started out.
The night before I’d thought of trying my first ride to Jack Darling Park and the Rattray Marsh, just to the west of Port Credit in Lorne Park, or maybe it’s Clarkson. The old townships in the southern end of Mississauga blend together without any distinct boundary markers. But when I started out from our driveway, I decided to ride straight down Hurontario to Lake Ontario and catch the Waterfront Trail going east.
I wanted to ride at least as far as the Adamson Estate and maybe as far as RK McMillan Park, the western edge of the Lakeshore Promenade series of parks. The Adamson Estate appeared before I even seem to get started. I stopped there a took a couple of early-morning shots of the estate. Then I headed for the Promenade.
There are some nice little bridges along the route, crossing streams and creeks, all flowing into Lake Ontario. I arrived at McMillan, the farthest east I’d been along the Mississauga lakeshore trail. The sun was rising and I headed for a spot I remembered might be good for photographing the light. I almost stopped there, but noticed a photographer already set up with camera on a tripod. I didn’t wish to disturb him, so I rode on. A photographer up at the crack of dawn, enjoying the solitude of nature, hoping to catch a great sunrise shot should not be disturbed.
Instead I kept on riding. Already I was into new territory. As the sun rose I found myself riding directly into it. I fiddled my sunglasses and got them on my face but still had to watch carefully. It was blinding at times. I followed the path as it wound through parks, then cut northward where it hugged Lakeshore Road. Passing over railway tracks and through an industrial area, the path veered south again, cutting into a wooded area. Along the way I’d been seeing lots of birds, including a green heron flying overhead and an excitable number of redwings. A mockingbird mimicked in full song.
As I emerged from the woodlot, into another park structure, I passed by some baby cottontails nibbling on plants. A vole scooted across the road in front of me. As I rounded a corner, I watched a doe walk casually from the parkland into the woods.
Soon I crossed another bridge, this time over a more substantial stream — almost a small river. I was in a very large park and when I rode down to the beach I saw a cannon sitting on the sand. I couldn’t tell if the Waterfront Trail continued at this point or not. The signage was poor. Besides, knowing I had to return, I figured for a cardio rehab patient I’d gone far enough for one outing.
I didn’t know what park I was in, but I guessed that the large stream was Etobicoke Creek. Later, at home, I studied an Internet map and confirmed that my guess was correct. It was indeed Etobicoke Creek and I had been in Marie Curtis Park.
The trip back was pleasant, especially since I no longer had to face directly into the sun. I felt like celebrating so when I arrived back in Port Credit, I rode to the harbour and across the bridge to Starbucks where I had a Tall Bold and a big glass of water. Then home, where everyone was still asleep.