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Date: 7/16/2019
Subject: July 2019 e-Newsletter
From: Lambton Outdoor Club

Lambton Outdoor Club
  July 2019 e-Newsletter

Cycling “Island Time” on Manitoulin

Having never experienced a ride on the largest freshwater island in the world, I signed up for the 5-day, 4-night Alvar Cycling Tour around Manitoulin Island during the last week of June. After having walked my bike onto the M.S. Chi-Cheemanun Ferry from Tobermory at 7am on a Monday morning, I was greeted along with five other enthusiasts about 2 hours later in South Baymouth by Guy, our guide for the event.

Guy handed us our map and turn by turn directions for the next 50km, and then followed us every step of the way as we headed out on our adventure on some very scenic and often quite hilly roads. After a brief stop  for refreshments at the Kicking Mule Ranch, we ventured on to visit the old original ferry and lighthouse in Manitowaning, before striking out for our first lakeside lodge overnight stay overlooking Lake Manitou. Our timing, however, was less than perfect as we arrived totally drenched by an incessant downpour. This matter was soon forgotten as we were later treated to a nice dinner in the Lodge dining room.

The second day the weather treated us much better as we set out in the early morning along our new 60km route to visit a number of interesting sites including a Soap factory and the Centennial Museum of Sheguiandan. As was the practice during our entire week, Guy would show up ahead of us at several of our stops to set up a portable picnic table with a variety of refreshments as well as to arrange for an enjoyable lunch at one of the local eateries.  By mid-afternoon we arrived at our lakeside cottages in Mindemoya which would be our base accommodations for the next three days. We were later treated to a nice and very unique homemade dinner by Guy and his wife, Maja, in their beautiful back yard garden area.

Our third day was quite busy as we covered about 80km visiting the Ojibwe Pow Wow Grounds and Craft Shop, the Kagawong Waterfront, the Old Mill Heritage Centre, the Neon Raven Gallery, Bridal Falls, and an amazing Alpaca Farm. Our day four 60km itinerary included a visit to an impressive war memorial site, an introduction to the unique Alvar stones in the area, two beautiful Galleries, and a walk on the beach and boardwalk in Providence Bay. After returning to our cottages for a shower and refreshments, Guy and Maja arrived with food for a lakeside BBQ followed by a campfire.

While the focus of our final day was the 50km return to the Ferry, we stopped to view many of the local attractions as well as another waterside picnic break – this time somewhat shortened by the incessant black flies – before arriving back in South Baymouth for lunch and return by Ferry to Tobermory. In summary, while I have been on several organized and supported cycling trips, this Alvar Cycle Tour is unique in many ways including the very personalized attention to our well-being and enjoyment. I would recommend this event to anybody wanting to not only enjoy the scenery but also to learn more about the culture and attractions on the island.

Submitted by Les McDermott

Long roads on Manitoulin
Les and his cycling friends

Historical Hikes

The Lambton Outdoor Club hiking committee have organized three historical/ heritage type walks this summer.

We begin in Sarnia on Tuesday, July 16.  Come and enjoy this lovely Tuesday evening walk led by Doug Winch as we discover the history of some of Sarnia's oldest homes. This experience helps us to understand just how people lived, worked, schooled their children and enjoyed life.

Join us by gathering at the flags at Centennial Park July 16 at 6:30 PM. for this two hour walk which usually ends with a beautiful sunset.

On Saturday July 27 @ 9:00 a.m. Ron Core will be leading us on the Oil Springs Museum tour.   The Oil Museum of Canada, in the Village of Oil Springs, preserves the site of the first commercial oil well in North America. Visitors come from around the world !

On this two hour hike you will see living history, hike along Gum Bed Line and north on Gypsie Flats Road passing several groupings of metal sculptures on Fairbank Oil property. Hike a suspension bridge over Black Creek and follow a nature path which makes a short circle thru a wooded area, to a still working oil field  which was once the most productive oil boom in the 1860's. (Optional Museum tour admission cost of $5.00 per person)

On Saturday August 17 @ 9:30 Jennifer Hill and Louise Gibson will be leading us on the Dresden Trillium Trail / Uncle Tom's Cabin in Dresden. The Trillium Trail was constructed by the Dresden and District Horticultural Society, with sponsorship from the Catherine McVean Chapter IODE, Dresden Rotary and the Trillium Foundation. Interested hikers will park at Dresden Rotary Park to begin the walk.  Hikers will stroll through the Mediaeval Garden, Tall Grass Prairie Garden , Dresden Conservation Area and Dresden's old Victorian neighbourhood.

Hikers will visit Uncle Tom's Cabin where those who wish may tour it. Uncle Tom's Cabin Historic Site commemorates the life of Rev. Josiah Henson (1796-1883) who is recognized for his contributions to the abolition of slavery movement and his work in the Underground Railroad.  (Optional Museum tour Admission cost of $5.50 per person). The hike will continue back into Dresden and follow the Trillium Trail through town to the Dresden Arboretum.  

Please visit the LOC website for more details and information about these and other hikes!

Submitted by Louise Gibson

 Notes from LOC July Council Meeting   

LOC Council meets about six times a year to guide the business of the club, President Les McDermott welcomed newcomers Nico Van Dyl (Vice President), and Phil Vallance (Membership).

These are not minutes of meeting, more a Coles notes version to keep members abreast of events.

The AGM has been set for Tuesday October 15, at the Tourism Sarnia-Lambton office on Venetian Boulevard. We will be following a similar format to last year’s successful meeting. The group that trekked to Everest Base Camp will present their adventure, courtesy of Sharon Crowe, and if that does not appeal, the subject of membership categories and structure will be on the agenda.

We are using the conference room of The Sarnia Foundation for our LOC Council meetings. The office coordinator, Jane Annema, made a presentation about the surprising amount of good work the Foundation supports in our community.

The new “business card” for members is available, as well as modern “rack” cards for display at businesses and associated organizations.

The last tranche of cycling jerseys were well received, and if there is interest more will be ordered.

Treasurer Rod Richmond presented a healthy report, income exceeded expenses.

Departing membership secretary, Larry Suffield, reported membership of 277, including 116 individuals 150 family memberships and 11 Honorary. We welcomed 11 new members in the past two months.


Mike Tanner, Newsletter Editor

Why I Love My Hammock Tent

A hammock tent has been my preferred outdoor accommodation for over 20 years.  Why?  Two reasons… a comfortable sleep, and a dry sleep.   Let me explain why and give you some of the plusses and minuses. 

I’ve never enjoyed sleeping on the hard ground, even with a sleeping mat under me.  Perhaps my joints are a little “bony” and need more cushioning.  Whatever the reason, I can manage in a conventional tent, but I find that I sleep much better in a hammock.

Many people think sleeping in a hammock means that your back is bent like a banana.  This would be true if you slept with your body aligned with the length of the hammock, but most are intended to be used with the body at an angle to the hammock.   By sleeping at an angle (about 30 degrees off the center line), you are almost completely flat.  There is no “banana” feel to the sleeping position, and I find it very comfortable on my back.  I can even sleep on my side if I choose, but usually find sleeping on my back the most comfortable.   In a normal bed, I never sleep on my back… but in my hammock, I enjoy that position.

You might worry about getting “seasick” in a hammock…  set your mind at ease!  Hammocks are stabilized by bungee cord pullouts that eliminate any ‘sway’, even in strong winds.

What about getting cold underneath?   There are several solutions to this.  Some people use a conventional camping mat under their sleeping bag inside the hammock.  Personally, I find these too narrow, and they can move around under you in the night.  A better solution is to replace your sleeping bag with two parts… an under quilt and a top quilt.  The under quilt is suspended snugly below the hammock.  Here, your weight does not compress the insulation.   I have an under quilt rated to -6C that I have used from -6C to +25C.  It serves me well for all temperatures.  

You can use a standard sleeping bag inside the hammock, or just a “top quilt” typically this uses materials like a sleeping bag, but is open like a quilted blanket except for a “footbox” to keep your tootsies toasty.   Using a top quilt vs a sleeping bag saves weight and bulk, but the combination of top plus bottom quilt will be a bit more weight than just an equivalently rated sleeping bag.

OK.  But why do I say a hammock offers a dry sleep?

Some years back, I did a 10-day kayak trip around the B.C. Gulf Islands.  I’d recently started using my first hammock tent, so that’s what I took with me for camping on the islands.  Being in coastal B.C., there was of course a lot of rain while on my trip.  For several days in a row, it was raining 24 hrs a day.  I made camp in the rain, slept in the rain, and broke camp in the rain.  With a ground tent, I would be packing a wet tent every night, and I would expect everything in my tent to get quite damp after several days. With my hammock tent, the first step in making camp was to set up the rain tarp that goes above the tent. Then the hammock is strung under the tarp.   To break camp, the hammock gets stowed first, then the tarp.  The hammock tent never touched the wet ground and was never exposed to the rain.  My bedding and I stayed nicely dry despite all the rain. 

I had a similar experience using the hammock on the Appalachian Trail.  There, even if there was room in the shelter on a rainy evening, I would sleep in the hammock… it was dry and so much more comfortable than sleeping in the shelter!  

If the weather is good, I sometimes set up my hammock without the tarp.  Then I can lay back and see the stars with nothing but the bug screen in between.  (If bugs are not a problem, I can zip that open and tie it off to the side for an even better view!),

Sounds ideal doesn’t it?  Well, to keep a sense of balance, there are some downsides.

There’s not a lot of space.  Your gear & shoes stay outside (often under the hammock to stay dry).  So it’s a bit more exposed.   And privacy….  Changing clothes inside a hammock can be done, but you’ll feel a bit like a contortionist.  The tarp gives you good privacy while you’re in the hammock, but with the tarp off there’s very little.  And if you change clothes outside the hammock…. Well, you’re on display.

Hammock camping systems (tarp + tent + sleeping insulation) are light but will generally weigh slightly more (10%?) than an equivalent ultralight tenting system.  However, setup is usually faster than for a tent.

While you don’t need to worry about finding dry flat ground (I’ve slept on 40 degree slopes), you do need to find two trees… and not just any two trees;  trees that are between 15 and 25 feet apart, and don’t have any large dead branches 30 ft above your precious head.   (I did recently buy a gizmo that is a hiking pole that can be converted to a guyed pole to hold up one end of the hammock… with this I only need one tree!  But these gizmos are not that common.)   If one day you are stuck needing to make camp where there are no trees, it is possible to set the hammock up on the ground, propping the ends up with sticks or standard hiking poles to keep the mesh off your face.  However, this will likely be neither comfortable nor dry in the rain.

And finally, during a thunderstorm, being tied to two tall wooden lightning rods doesn’t usually feel like a good idea.  When choosing my trees, I definitely try to avoid the tallest trees in the vicinity and prefer not to hang out in my hammock during a storm.  I’ll confess though, if a thunderstorm rolls through in the night, I usually just cross my fingers and hope to see the morning! 

All things considered, my hammock will continue to be my “go-to” accommodation, unless I am travelling where I know trees will not be available.


Submitted by Phil Vallance

The Hammock tent may not be for everyone

Columbia Employee Store Invitation
The Columbia Employee Store in London invites LOC members to shop from July 26th to Aug 18th. Members should log in to the website, access the event from the calendar and print the invitation from there. Full details available on the website. Happy Shopping!
Dick Carey

Last Call for Cycling Jerseys Order
The club jerseys are top-of-the-line quality, extremely comfortable and provide excellent visibility on the road.
As per detailed email note from Joan Elliott, please contact her if you would like to order an LOC cycling jersey.

Mark Your Calendar - Event Leader Training
LOC is planning to hold a training session for new and current event leaders (all activity groups) on the evening of September 30th. Mark your calendar and plan to attend this informative and interesting session.
Hike, Paddle, Ride... Smile!

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