All right finally: trip summary!
I had reasons to be nervous at the start of the trip, above the physical challenge. I planned out the route beforehand on Google maps (with some modifications) and took notes on all of the turns as I wouldn't have any other way to find out where I was after I left. I didn't bring a map; only these written instructions on when to turn. Also, when I called the only B&B anywhere near my route to book a room, the experience was very odd. First, the place was listed as permanently closed on Google, despite having a review only a week before. When I called to book a room, the lady who answered didn't even ask for my name, but just said that it was reserved for that date. I was less than certain that I would have a room when I arrived. Plus, the SIM for my phone had not yet arrived, so I would have no way to call for a ride home if the B&B flaked on me. Also, my son had decided to come along a few months before, so any mishap was doubly scary. However, we took the plunge and began! We had only one small bag with a change of shirt and underwear each, toiletries, phone, and three peanut butter and banana sandwiches (and a couple of small items). We each had a water bottle in each pocket of our jackets, which we tied around our waists. These were our "saddlebags" for the duration.
We left at 10 am. The walk started out very ordinary, as we followed the usual daily walking route from home and then the walking route to work. However, and the walking path, we turned left rather than right for the first time ever (on foot at least), and had a very cool LoTR "if I take one more step, I'll be farther from home than I've ever been" moment. The walk along this very straight, very long path took up most of the rest of the day. But that doesn't mean that it was boring! We saw SO MANY butterflies, as well as grasshoppers, frogs, chipmunks, squirrels, and a couple of tiny snakes. It was a beautiful warm day, but we were shaded by the trees, so we weren't hot at all. And there was almost no one else about, so we were alone with our thoughts as well as having some great conversations and being able to be silly in public.
Before leaving home, I had looked on Google Maps to figure out the approximate quarter, half, and three quarters marks of our first day, so that we could tell whether we were making decent time and predict a time of arrival. The quarter mark was G--- Road. We walked and walked, took several breaks, but hadn't reached G--- Road yet. I knew that a modification at the beginning of the route would have added an extra km, maybe 2, and I didn't know how long we had walked as I have a crap sense of time. So we were making bets on what time it would be when we arrived at the quarter mark. We felt like we were moving at a reasonable pace, the trip was great, and we weren't going to check the time till then. We finally arrived at G--- Road, sat down to rest, checked the time and... 3 pm. 5 hours to our quarter way mark. We were shocked dumb by that. It had to be wrong. Didn't it. How late were we going to arrive? What had we gotten ourselves into?
We cut our rest quite short after that, trying to convince ourselves that this had to be some horrible mistake. In about a hour we reached our "half way point" (it wasn't actually the right road, but we didn't find that out until later) and were both confused and relieved. After thinking back on it, I realized what had happened: when I picked out landmarks on the map, I found the halfway point first, then the quarter and three quarter from that. Except that I didn't. G--- Road was the halfway marker (except that it was more than halfway because of the route change at the beginning), but when I calculated the remaining two points, I somehow messed up and measured them as if G--- Road was the quarter marker. It scared us silly, and after realizing my error, it became a happy memorable moment of the trip.
The rest of the day was uneventful, though the trip up the road to the B&B was longer than I remembered. We were happy to arrive at 7:15, find out that we did indeed have a reservation (though this involved calling the lady I spoke to), and lying on our comfy, comfy beds. And as my son kept reminding me, to get here, all we had to do to get here was walk out our front door! I had only a tiny blister on one toe and a hot spot on the ball of my foot; my son was in perfect condition. Rinsing your feet in warm water after a long walk is bliss. Walking across the street to buy supper is not (though the food was good, and the family there was super nice). I sent a message to my mother to say that we hadn't been murdered en route using the WiFi connection I now had, and to come and pick us up at a pre-arranged point after the walk the next day between 8 and 8:30 pm, based on the time it took us that day.
After a pleasant breakfast, we left at 9:30 am and began the less familiar part of the walk. This was the part I was most nervous about as the Google Map was unclear. I had to get onto a local walking path and follow it around the correct side of a lake, and it seemed that you got to it by walking through a transit station and into a construction zone. Half of my written directions are basically how to get on and stay on the path. I needn't have worried; as long as I followed the basic "stay on the left side of the lake near the big road" it was easy to keep on the right route. At a later point in the path where I was unsure, there was a helpful map, and indeed I would find numerous helpful maps along the way as we travelled into more built up areas. It was much hotter Friday, but we had the sun at our backs the whole way as we were walking north. This made the unseasonable warmth bearable. There was much less nature on this pathway, but it was still beautiful. I would like to come back sometime and do the full circuit of the lake.
The paved road portion of the journey was not terribly exciting - basically, find a bridge and then walk north until you run into Parliament Hill. However, my son jazzed it up by finding a stick, which he thwacked on something and gave a lengthwise crack. His mission was to get the crack to run the entire length of the stick before getting to the Hill (he failed; that stick was sturdy). The stick became a feature of the trip. At around the same time, I noticed a tiny feather stuck to one of the band-aids preventing a hot spot. It stayed with me all the way home. and made me think of Sparky supporting me on my trip. We also saw lots of interesting shops on the road north - I even saw a small stone gargoyle outside an antique shop! We took a little detour to visit the dinos and mammoths outside the Museum of Nature before getting back on track.
We arrived at the Hill at 4:30. We were still feeling pretty good as we poked around the statues and walked around the building, but stairs were getting painful for me - the ball of my left foot was hurting some now. However, my son brought up a stretch goal that had now taken root with me: what if, after we got a photo of the giant spider at the National Gallery, we went over the bridge to Quebec so that we could say we had walked to another province? We were never going to get that opportunity again unless we repeated this walk. We had to do it. So we did. We made it to the Quebec side by 6:00, starting to suffer, but so happy to have done it. A guy with a rickshaw even approached us on the bridge, offering us a free ride to Quebec because he was on his last trip and was heading that way anyway. We were very tired but had to turn him down or fail our mission! On the way back, the stick rang out on the railing like the bells of the Peace Tower. Victory!
We were pretty slow walking back due to soreness (really, we were waddling, or at least I was), but we picked up some McDonalds (victory McDonalds!) and caught the bus to our meeting place. Apparently my son has only been on the bus a couple of times before; he was kind of excited about that, too. Got back to our meeting place at 8:20; right on time. However, there was no ride, and no way to call for one. We waited, used Walmart's WiFi to send another email after we used their bathroom, and waited some more. Ride finally arrived at 9 pm. The email with our plans never arrived, and after waiting, my mom remembered that I had said in the phone call the night before (when I borrowed the phone of the super nice restaurant people) that we would probably arrive around 8-8:30, so she came. Thank goodness I made that call!
My son is still totally unscathed, if achy. I however, have three blisters on my toes (which do not bother me at all), and one reasonably large one on the bottom of my left foot right below my second toe (which does). I'm stiff and sore today, but that's to be expected. I have a tiny feather as a souvenir, my son has a stick, and we both have good memories and something to brag to the grandkids about!