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Date: 3/13/2019
Subject: Newsletter March 2019
From: Lambton Outdoor Club

Lambton Outdoor Club
  March 2019 e-Newsletter

LOC Positions Filled

Your Club relies on volunteers to fill positions on committees and council, and it gives me great pleasure to announce that the following members have stepped up to continue this long tradition of Commitment and Service.


Social Committee Chair                                               Sharon Crowe

Hiking Committee Chair                                               Louise Gibson

Membership Chair Designate                                      Phil Vallance

Howard Watson Trail Cleanup Coordinator                 Stan Martin

Mike Tanner, Past President

          My First Mountain Ski Experience

As I had mentioned in last month’s newsletter, I recently decided to take up the sport of downhill skiing. After a few reasonably successful downhill runs last year near London and Collingwood, I decided in January to take advantage of a 3-day Ski & Stay package at Boyne Highlands in northern Michigan. Having enjoyed (and survived) those high hills, I felt ready to tackle the mountains.


So, I joined about 30 very experienced members of the Bluewater International Ski Club for their trip to the Panorama Ski Resort near Invermere, BC. Since we were flying WestJet from Hamilton to Calgary, my plan was to spend a few days upon returning from Panorama with my daughter who lives in Calgary. My most convenient return flight arrangement from Calgary was to go to London. Therefore, my challenge was how to coordinate my transportation to and from two separate airports. Fortunately, fellow LOC  and Ski Club member, Howie Boese, agreed to pick me up at the London airport where I would leave my vehicle and drive me to Hamilton. Problem solved. Thanks, Howie.


Upon arrival in Calgary, we all immediately loaded our luggage and ski equipment on a motor coach for the 4-hour drive to Panorama (after of course a mandatory stop at an Alberta liquor store). I have made this trip from Calgary to Banff on several occasions and am always excited and impressed with the approach of the snow-capped mountains. After an enjoyable scenic ride, our first stop was in Invermere where we overwhelmed their only grocery store when all aboard the bus raced through the store loading carts with the necessary provisions to stock our respective condo chalets for the week. I was extremely fortunate to be sharing a chalet with a couple who having done this all before had not only prepared a grocery shopping list for the three of us to purchase, but had also already planned to cook all the meals for the week. Just like home!


Panorama is a very beautiful place covered with lots of snow and nestled between several mountains. The chalets were very clean and comfortable and even included a very realistic and warm fireplace. That was extremely fortunate for me because on my very first day on the slopes, I had a little issue. What I didn’t realize was the significant difficulty rating difference between hills and mountains. A “green” slope is generally considered the easiest while a “blue” slope is considered to be more difficult. “Black diamond” slope are reserved for very experienced or even expert skiers. However, a “green” slope in the mountain is more like a “blue” slope back home. So, while I did reasonably well for the first hour or so on the “green” slopes, I somehow eventually lost an edge on my ski and slid sideways into a little bush on the side of the run which caught my ski and sort of twisted my right knee. My first thought was “Oh no, not on my first day”. It didn’t seem too bad but soon began to ache a little and so I decided not to aggravate it further by skiing any more that day.


Well, as it turned out, I spent the next day or so sharing the ice in the fridge between my knee and evening cocktails. The resort staff confirmed that there didn’t seem to be any serious damage but that it would be prudent to take it easy for a day or so.  While I did eventually get out again on some milder slopes just to check it out, most of my time was spent walking around exploring the immediate area and taking in all the scenery.


After returning by bus to the Calgary airport, my daughter promptly picked me up. Needless to say, I spent an enjoyable and long overdue three days with her before returning to the airport to catch my 10:00 am flight back to London. Didn’t even pass my mind to call WestJet to check on the schedule status and so was a little surprised when told that all flights had been cancelled that day to Ontario because of a major freezing rain event. Luckily, I was able to arrange for a very nice room at the Marriott attached to the terminal which made for a convenient departure the next day. Returned to London to find my vehicle encased in a coating of ice. Although my knee issue seemed to be improving quite nicely, I did book an appointment for physio just in case and once again was advised that there was no likely significant damage and that with a little exercise and time, it should resolve itself. As an aside, I had asked the attendant whether he had ever skied. He replied that he had only tried once and gave it up citing an interesting analogy “that it was like driving a car downhill without brakes”.


All in all, the entire experience, apart from my slight mishap, was quite enjoyable. However, while I had tentatively considered joining the Ski Club on their second BC trip in early March, I decided instead to book a week back in the Boyne Highlands area to hopefully restore both my competence and confidence in preparation for perhaps another mountain experience next year.


Submitted by Les McDermott

    The slopes look challenging from the lodge
                      Truly awesome country

Basic Map Reading & Navigation Skills Course

Back in April 2017 I ran a map course which was very well attended with 21 participants. As far as I know none of the participants have yet to get lost in the woods. Or perhaps they were just never found.

As we entered into 2019 I realized that the LOC has increased its membership quite a bit so there must be lots of nubies out there just waiting to take off into the wilderness. As LOC always puts safety first, I figured it was about time to offer the course again.

I offered the course on 21st April and was amazed when the course filled up in only two days. I received emails asking if the course was going to be offered again, so I decided to offer it again on the 28th April. At the time of writing there were only 4 slots left.

The course takes the participant through:

Exploring contour lines on topo maps.

Unlocking the mysteries of Latitude and Longitude.

Using the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) Grid Coordinate System.

Learning how to use map distance scales.

Measuring linear and non-linear distances on a map.

Greatly improving ones Navigational Skills.

Becoming confident in how to use a Compass.

Knowing the difference: True North vs. Magnetic North.

Answering the question: What is Declination? (Also called Variation.)

Learning how to take a Compass Bearing.

Having fun plotting the route for a wilderness canoe trip.


Above all: Learning how to know where you are in the wilderness and stay safe.


Submitted by Tony Arnold

Howard Watson Trail Clean Up Day

Saturday April 27

 LOC has a long tradition of helping to keep this wonderful linear trail free from garbage, by coordinating a clean up day. In recent years this has been coordinated with Sarnia Parks and Recreation as part of their city wide Community Parks Clean Up day.  Stan Martin has stepped up to coordinate our involvement, which takes a couple of hours to clean up the sections between Telfer Side Road and London Road. We meet where the trail intersects Modeland road at 9:00am, where garbage bags and work details will be assigned. Sign up on the website for further information. There is free BBQ in Canatara Park provided by Sarnia Parks and Rotary, for those who pre sign, or let Stan know at

Stan Martin, Mike Tanner

The Benefits of Forest Bathing

Members of LOC are well acquainted with the physical and social benefits of the great outdoors. Whether hiking, paddling or even cycling there is a sense that escaping from routine and enjoying nature brings significant mental and physical rewards. I was always struck by the different styles of outing between our club and Lambton Wildlife. Whereas hikers tend to concentrate on the Km’s, the latter focus on the biology and botany, dawdling all afternoon over a short woodland trail. I recently became aware of a third style of engagement with nature at a talk given by Bruce Porchuk at the Stratford Flower show. Describing himself as a “recovered scientist”, he spoke passionately about “Shinrin-yoki”, a Japanese term loosely translated as “Forest Bathing”. Nothing to do with stripping, washing or water, it can be described as immersing oneself in the natural world, and engaging person to plant. If this sounds like magical thinking, listen on. Bruce had a long pedigree as a plant and animal biologist, specializing in snakes and reptiles, until he found himself engaged with indigenous culture and being exposed to the medicinal and healing properties of plants; locally on the Aamjiwnaang reserve. Following visits to Japan, Korea and California he became an advocate of the practice and enthusiastically promotes lingering in the woods.


There is an increasing body of science that supports the hidden world of plants. Trees “talk” with each other and synergize through interconnected root systems. That much of our medicine comes from plants is a given. The soothing fractals observed in nature, the shades of light and dark, the subtle fragrances of the forest and the whisper of the wind play on our senses. Think this is the wacky fringe?

Ontario parks says otherwise:

Let’s take a walk in the woods.

With no specific destination in mind, we will wander, observe and immerse ourselves in nature. Allow our senses to guide us.

When was the last time you walked into the woods with no plans? No final destination? Without a species to ID, hill to climb, or lookout to conquer?

This is exactly the experience offered by a forest bathing session.


This does not sound like the description of your typical LOC outing, perhaps we are missing the boat, the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides offers sessions starting at $30. In Japan physicians write prescriptions for patients to walk in the woods. Next time you are dawdling at the tail end of a hike, instead of a lame excuse admit to Forest bathing, it might be good for your health.


Mike Tanner

April is LOC Education Month
LOC is promoting several courses next month as we firmly believe in promoting the safety and ongoing education of our members. See website for details.
Tony Arnold has offered to provide a Basic Map Reading and Navigation Skills course and after the first course quickly filled is offering a second. Members will purchase their own manual for the course and the club is covering the rental of the facility and refreshments.
As well club members Shaun and Tara Antle have offered to coordinate with an instructor offering a 2-day Wilderness First Aid course. This intensive course is $245 (plus $40 if registrant does not have current CPR) and for club members who will lead a hike or paddle, the club will subsidize $100/person.
Hike, Paddle, Ride... Smile!

Lambton Outdoor Club | P.O. Box 653 | Sarnia, Ontario, N7T 7J7