Thursday, November 03, 2005

More than a midnight walk

On a mild October night, Andrea and I decided to do an all-night walk. Since we like taking walks so much and being outside, we decided to make this an ultra-long walk. We decided to take the last bus going to Sherbrooke, and then we would take the entire night walking back home.

At around six o'clock that evening, we went to the Esso and stocked up on Red Bull drinks, chocolate, and a City of Sherbrooke map. When we got home, we packed some food and some hot chocolate. When we got to the bus depo at around eleven o'clock that night, we bought candy and coke. We were all set to go.

We sat on the side of the curb, outside the dépanneur, contemplating our plan of action. Which way should we go? Though I tend to like going East, I was more comfortable going West in this situation because the East seemed still very unknown to me. Besides, I figure that our walk would be better if we started at the Sherbrooke mall (Carrefour), which was in the west end.

I mapped out our route; we would start at the mall, take the Jacques Cartier bridge, walk to the University, then come back home going through country roads.

At the mall, we were in high spirits. It was a cool and beautiful night. The walk from the mall to the bridge was on a busy enough street, but there were sidewalks, and the streets which ran perpendicular to the busy one (Portland) were pretty enough and were mostly residential streets.

Right before we hit the bridge, we drank our energy drinks. PAFF! A surge of energy welled up from inside my stomach and shot through all of my limbs. The foul-tasting drink actually worked!

Since we were in very high and, of course, energetic spirits, we talked vividly and practically skipped along for the next hour or so of our walk. Right before getting onto the brige, we spotted a quaint little bistro that we said we would go to one day.
The walk across the bridge was beautiful; the trees and the lights of the town reflected softly in the water, and we both confessed that we had a secret urge to jump off the bridge into the water. Then we got to thinking as to how high the bridge was and how much it would hurt once we would hit the water. I remembered jumping off platforms at the University of Ottawa's pool, and the highest one I jumped off was around 7-8 metres high. That was definitely high enough.

A little later on (we weren't quite sure as to how much later, as I refused to look at my watch for the entirety of the trip), we arrived at the Université de Sherbrooke. This is where the walk got a little confusing, as the sidewalks completely disappeared, though we were still on the busy road. Not wanting to be with the traffic, we walked on the grass, still following the road. Sherbrooke University, no matter how prestigious it may be, is pretty ugly. Concrete slabs that they pull of as "buildings" really don't do it for me.

We got to Rue Dunant after getting past the University. It was suddenly very dark, as we were now on country roads. We panicked a little, as disturbing thoughts entered our minds, but we pushed the thoughts away, keeping in mind that there would actually be less traffic on Rue Dunant. After a brief bathroom break on the side of the road, we started walking again.

We finally could enjoy the stars. After walking under city lights for the majority of our trip, this was a refreshing change. We were also waiting for the sky to light up; we were hoping it would be close to sunrise by now.

"Andrea, I think the sky is lighting up, look!"

"No, Miranda, those are just the glow of the city lights."

False hopes.

At the intersection of Belvédère and Belvidere (us living on Belvidere), we celebrated our near-end of walk with our thermos of hot chocolate. After feeling warm and sweetened, we continued our walk. I could feel the pull on my legs at this point.

We arrived home and before crawling into our beds, I checked my watch. It was 3:15 am. We were disappointed, as we had hopped that our trip would take us at least six hours, instead of merely four. I wagered that we walked just over 20 kilometres. We cursed our own curses and vowed that next time we would make it a longer trip.

"We have to come back when it is light outside," stated Andrea. I agreed.

Next time, we would be starting in the East end. We were ready for it.

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