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Date: 5/12/2019
Subject: May 2019 e-Newsletter
From: Lambton Outdoor Club

Lambton Outdoor Club
  May 2019 e-Newsletter

President’s Message

I’m pleased to summarize several of the many topics recently discussed at your Council’s regularly scheduled meeting. First of all, we plan to hold our Annual General Meeting once again in the meeting room at Tourism Sarnia Lambton on Venetian Blvd. on the evening of Tuesday, October 8, 2019. More details will be provided later but please mark the date and plan to attend if possible.


In order to promote our Club for potential new members, Mike Tanner has arranged for a graphic artist to help us develop a brochure and business card as well as to update our logo to make it more adaptable for use in various media. Since we don’t currently have a central location in order to store and easily access various supplies and small equipment (projector, etc.), we are actively seeking alternative low/no cost storage possibilities (e.g. 4’x6’ room/closet) and would appreciate suggestions from any of our members.


Many of our members have indicated willingness to lead certain cycling/hiking/paddling events if provided with basic training. Therefore, a training session has been scheduled for Monday, September 30 at 6:30 pm. More details will be forthcoming.


While it happens only occasionally, any children under the age of 18 attending one of our outdoor events must be accompanied by his/her parent or legal guardian. Any other adult (e.g. grandparent) accompanying the child must present a written note of authorization from the respective parent or legal guardian.


Most people renew their membership on time conveniently using our website. If after reminder notices have been received and an individual has still not renewed after three months, his/her name will be dropped from our membership list. A new online membership application would then be required resulting in a new annual renewal date (i.e. no backdating).


Finally, I am very pleased to announce that our long-standing vacant executive position of Vice-President has finally been filled by active member, Nico Van Dyl.


Les McDermott

  Paddling Film Festival

The 2019 Paddling World Tour Film Festival arrived in Sarnia  to rapturous approval from the hundred plus audience packed into the boutique “Theatre 42”, located curiously in the former home of Unifor. Those expecting a testosterone raging epic of white water, death defying descents, stunning scenery and inspirational adventure were not disappointed, but the festival was so much more. The organizing committee curated a thoughtful mix for their audience. “How not to capture the Grand Canyon” was a rafting trip by a photographer/artist, who lost all his cameras yet captured the magnificent scenery, sky and action on his sketch pad. Humbling. An adventurer father took his 7-year-old son on a paddle boarding journey down the remote Kamali river in western Nepal in “Big World”. Astounding. We think of paddles as factory made equipment, but in “Junk Paddle”, the Australian narrator collects pieces of scrap wood on his commute to work and creates a splendidly crafted paddle in just a few hours. Funny and Insightful. Within Ontario, canoeists and guides Hap and Andrea Wilson takes us through the last stands of old growth in “Wild Temagami”, and ode to the savage fight to protect what is precious. Sobering. Likewise, Jay Gustafson took a two-year hiatus in “Waterway Jay” to paddle, record and lobby on his 4,300 mile paddle through the waterways of Minnesota. Remarkable. My favourite was “The Passage”, a thoughtfully crafted film about two brothers who paddled the Inside passage in 1974, in homemade cedar strip canoes, then finished the journey 40 years later with their sons. “Life is not recorded as pages in an album, more like branches on a tree; we build on what has gone before”. Emerging into the chill evening, I thought not of paddling so much as the inspiring spirit of so many ordinary people striving to push their boundaries.


Thanks to the paddling committee inspired by Judy Mahoney, Joe Burley and Brian Seabrook and others who had the idea, curated the films and organized a splendid evening which was attended equally by LOC members and the public. This was a first for our club, and its success will hopefully set the scene for future events and inspire new paddlers to join our adventures.


Mike Tanner

Sarnia was one of over 100 locations world wide to host the Paddling world tour Film Festival.

Basic Map Reading & Navigation Skills Course

The first LOC Basic Map Reading & Navigation Skills Course for 21st April was advertised on the LOC website and was filled within two days, so I decided to offer another course on 28th April and it filled within a week.


Both the Sunday's turned out to be really nice days so it was a high sacrifice for true outdoors persons to give up the chance of being outside to take the LOC Basic Map Reading & Navigation Skills Course indoors at the Lochiel Kiwanis Community Center. They had come to learn how to read topographical maps, explore contour lines, unlock the mysteries of Latitude and Longitude and to become familiar with the Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) Grid Coordinate System.  Once those mysteries were solved we went on to learn how to use map scales, the difference between True North vs. Magnetic North and how to confidently take Compass Bearings. This was all topped off by plotting the route for a wilderness canoe trip.


I think everyone enjoyed the course and will feel a lot more confident when out in the wilderness armed only with a map and compass. (And perhaps a can of bear spray)A few of the participants suggested that it would be a good idea to have a hands on follow up session, maybe in Canatara Park, to review and practice the taking of bearings and navigating with map and compass.


I have devised a session to do just that, using compass dead reckoning and following a route using only map bearings. I am offering two sessions, each one about two hours long in Canatara Park on 19th May and 9th June.

You do not need to have attended the previous courses in order to sign up for either of these practice sessions.

See LOC website for more details and to register.


Submitted by...Tony Arnold

Cyclists on Everest


What happens when two avid cyclists receive an unexpected invitation to trek on the other side of the world...specifically in the Himalayas, the world’s highest mountains? They ask a few basic questions, say “YES!” and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.  For purposes of perspective as you read on, know that the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson, is 3954 m high. 

Our trek started at Lukla, elevation 2829 m, and went to Everest Base Camp, elevation 5364 m.

It turns out that the particular cyclists involved, the same ones who in October discovered they liked riding in mountains, also like hiking for hours and hours, day after day, in mountains.  It’s a good thing hiking was the option because it would be nigh on impossible to cycle where their feet took them.  In fact we saw nary a wheeled vehicle during our dozen days in the mountains: not a car, not a truck, not an ATV; neither a bike nor a wheelbarrow; not a scooter; not even a baby buggy.

From Lukla where our trek began, feet are what get people and things where they need to go.  The paths vary.  Good ones are 10’ wide and solid, but more often they’re uneven rock and considerably narrower. It was a treat on the rare occasions when they were packed dirt, it’s easier on the feet.  By the end we had had enough stairs to last us a lifetime.  It was challenging enough that the only flat bits were the narrow bridges suspended high above cascading ice water, so turning slopes into stairways seemed mean.  In reality it was practical as the unholy gradient made erosion a constant theme.

There were the small challenges of coldness (below freezing nights in unheated accommodations built of plywood and stone), wetness (just one really damp day of snow and fog), steepness (virtually endless) and monotonous food choices, but they were unimportant inconveniences offset by the stunning scenery (mountain and valley vistas, cascading waterways and a wide variety of vegetation) constantly being modified (by ever changing light, shadow and shifting cloud) and cultural proximity (villagers, tradesmen, families, entrepreneurs and our own guides and porters, as well as their donkeys, ponies, yaks and yows) making this trip jaw-droppingly wonderful on a daily basis.

Nepal is a place of beautiful scenery, beautiful people and a colourful history.  We couldn’t be happier that we had an opportunity to visit and trek there with club members and associates, forming new friendships and memories.  If you are interested in more of my stories go to you can read more:


Submitted by Sharon Crowe

Editors Note:
LOC had 5 parties who adventured this year in the Nepal/Himalayas area. This is just one account; we are preparing a full feature on the website. Coming soon!


Cycling Survey

What do cyclists want? The cycling committee put that question out there in the form of a survey back in January, and we  received 40 responses. Opinions varied, but one trend stood out; members are happy with the work of the committee, but individual preferences are coloured by the ability of the cyclist, and their availability. Not exactly rocket science. We have three distinct groups, Hares, easy Riders and Slow Spokes, and each prefer riding at their own pace and distance. Because so many are post work, weekday outings are popular, as well as weekend. Some prefer the earlier cool mornings, whilst others want a more leisurely start to the day. Virtually all use the website and intend to sign up for the forum meet ups. There was agreement that we stop for coffee. People are willing to drive an hour or two to destinations, if the ride is justified, and multi day rides had considerable support. Many people indicated a willingness to lead rides or join the committee.


This information is very useful to plan our program and recognize the abilities and desires of our cycling fraternity. For more information, a summary of the survey data, and the many comments you submitted can be found on the website under News/In the News/Cycling/Great participation/Survey. Thanks to all who responded, cycling chair Cynthia will be following up with those who indicated a willingness to be more involved.


Mike Tanner

Finding My Way

I would like to thank Tony Arnold for offering this course the last two Sundays of April. Useful material was presented in a very interesting way and will be put to good use, I am sure. Topographic maps were clearly presented and used to show where the flat areas and areas of greatest slope are found. This is useful for finding the easiest route in a hike. The Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) System was explained. This allows a person to give the exact location of a point in terms of longitude and latitude. Maps were used to find distances between points, using the map scale.


Maps were also used to determine the bearing of a certain point from a given location, taking into account the magnetic declination. Then we practiced heading in various directions specified by the given bearing. Now I feel much more confident using maps and compass and will be able to avoid getting lost in the woods.


Submitted by Stan Martin

Howard Watson Trail Cleanup

On Saturday April 27 Lambton Outdoor Club members volunteered to clean up the  Howard Watson Trail from Exmouth to Telfer Side Rd, in conjunction with the Sarnia Parks city wide initiative. A raw north wind greeted the 15 garbage gatherers wearing parkas and toques who stooped to collect the fast food detritus casually discarded by the well-used trail. Actually,the easterly sections backing on to residential subdivisions were in remarkably good shape. The urban city section fronting schools, apartments and stores was a different story. The guys dragged a couch out of the ditch, plus a varied assortment of containers, old clothes and junk. Whether it is plastic waste in the ocean, toxic landfills or polluted air, our planet is sending a message to the human race. Clean up after yourself. It was a small thing, but today we put a tiny dent in a huge problem. Thanks to Stan Martin who coordinated the effort this year, and those who answered the call.


Mike Tanner

If a picture is worth a thousand words....
Thanks to all on the Clean Up crew

                                                                 Hiking in Hawaii

In March of this year, I had the opportunity to visit the Hawaiian island of Kauai, along with my youngest son, Steve, and his family. What a wonderful island this is! There are miles and miles of beautiful beaches, some with gentle waves, good for kids, and others with large waves, good for surfing. The interior is vary mountainous since the whole island was formed by volcanic eruption. I felt quite safe however, as there has not been volcanic activity for a long, long time.


A most memorable experience was an excursion to Secret Falls on the Wailua River, the largest river on the island. We kayaked several miles up the river, which is very easy – calm water and very little current. Then we disembarked and hiked beside the river over a decent path. After a short while, we waded across the river and continued the hike on the other side. We met people returning from the falls who were covered with mud. I soon knew why. The trail got VERY muddy and VERY slippery – the most slippery mud I have ever experienced! I was wearing crocks with little tread, so it was not the best choice for footwear. On a downward slope, I lost my footing, fell on my back, and got very muddy. Steve carried his 2 year old on his back, and the other kids, aged 3 and 5 fended for themselves. Everyone else managed to stay on their feet in spite of the slippery mud and ponds of water. Quite a challenge! After a mile of this, we finally reached our destination – Secret Falls, all splashed with mud. We enjoyed lunch on the rocks and then swimming in the pond beneath the falls. Sure felt good to get the mud washed off and get pounded by water falling on my head. Exhilarating! Great memories!


Stan Martin

Hike, Paddle, Ride... Smile!

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