Lambton Outdoor Club
March/April 2020 e-Newsletter
We are living through strange times, when our understanding changes by the day, and our responsibility to our community and to care for the health of others trumps our desire to explore the great outdoors. LOC’s activities are curtailed until this emergency is over, and the virus threat is manageable. That does not stop us dreaming of future outings, and planning for summer when life may resume a familiar normal. In this issue several members have shared their stories. Louise tells her experiences hiking in other cities, Chris talks about her nerve-wracking return from Arizona, Donna shares her enjoyment with an outdoor-themed life story and Sharon tells of the adventures of two ladies in BC. Phil outlines the way the LOC is mobilizing to help those members who may be in difficulty during the period of isolation. In short this is you telling your story.
If any of you have any experiences of this virus shutdown, or have outdoor adventure stories, please share. In the meantime, stay home, stay safe and be encouraged. Summer will come.
Mike Tanner, Editor
2020 was not supposed to be like this. LOC member Riky Muir was planning to remain at her winter place in Tucson until end of April and Rod and Chris Richmond were to be housesitting there until the end of March. Plans were for the three of us to get together for a hike or golf game, but things changed so rapidly that we started to panic about waiting until month end to fly home; as you know from beginning to mid-March things escalated very quickly.
I contacted Riky to tell her we would not be able to get together; Rod and I were trying to cancel our month-end flight and rent a car to drive as far as Detroit airport, then to figure out how to get to Sarnia from there. Riky said no problem, as she too had decided to return home immediately and was packing as we spoke. She was planning to drive back, on her own, and not wanting to stay at hotels on the way. We mentioned that if she did not mind company we’d pay for the gas and accompany her home. She agreed and a hasty plan was hatched.
The ride home was cozy with Riky's winter stuff coming back, our suitcases, backpacks, two golf bags, and one Trek bicycle in the van with us. Riky even thought to include a plastic gasoline container in case there were any gas shortages on the way. The road was full of trailers and motorhomes, not normally seen in the middle of the month; it was obvious many people were heading home, and the drive was eerie and kind of scary to me.
We took turns driving, several hours each at a stretch with one person resting in the back seat and another in the passenger seat engaging the driver in conversation to keep them awake. We stopped only for gas, bathroom breaks and the occasional snack. None of us wanted to stop at a hotel or even a restaurant; at that point they were still open. We washed our hands carefully after gassing up and bathroom breaks and motored on.
None of us really slept when not driving with the stress level and the adrenaline pumping. We did have some fog and drizzly rain, but thankfully there were no slowdowns due to traffic or construction. We made the trip in 36 straight hours driving overnight for two nights, arriving alone at the border at 3:30 am on the second night. Riky did the last four hour stretch under extremely tiring conditions and we arrived exhausted but happy to be back on home soil.
It took a couple days at least to recover from the lack of sleep, but under isolation what else are you going to do anyhow? We did not know Riky extremely well prior to this, but the bond we had via the LOC was strong and kept us going; a commitment to keep each other safe and do everything we could to advance us towards our goal. This is a trip we won’t soon forget!
Submitted by Chris Richmond
It is in challenging times like these that the power of community support plays a big role.
As an LOC community, we've put in place a support mechanism to aid those of us who might find ourselves unable to leave our homes to get supplies, and without nearby family or friends upon whom we could call for help. These people would be the "Friends in Need" in our LOC community.
In this circumstance, we've encouraged people to contact the Club Membership Chair with their needs. He'll then poll the membership to see if there's someone already going to the store who could pick up the supplies for our "Friend in Need". This volunteer would be the "Friend Indeed" in our program.
Privacy considerations must always be considered, and in this program, the name of the person needing assistance would not be shared by the coordinator. Rather, the coordinator would provide the name and contact info for the volunteer and forward it to the "Friend in Need", who would then make contact with the volunteer.
After the initial posting about this program via email and on the LOC website, many of you responded you'd be willing to volunteer. Many thanks for stepping up this way, but we're not maintaining a list of willing volunteers at this time. Instead, we’ll poll for a volunteer when we have someone requesting help.
I hope everyone is staying healthy through these difficult times, both physically and mentally.
All the best 'til we meet again face-to-face,
LOC Membership Chair
THE SALT PATH (Book Review)
In her book 'Wild', Cheryl Strayed takes on the daunting task of hiking the 'Pacific Coast Trail'" when her life hits rock bottom. With equal desperation, Raynor Winn and her husband decide to hike England's 'South West Coastal Path" when life's horrors take up residence in their lives.
The similarities of these individual stories end there however. Raynor and her husband Moth are in their fifties which provides a much more mature perspective. In this read we are challenged to take a good look at the definition of the true meaning of 'home", the value (or not ) of our possessions, the truth of living in what is often a judgmental world and of our own mortality.
If you view the outdoors as that which provides a sense of freedom this is a fabulous read. At a time in our lives when we are downsizing and being encouraged to follow the Marie Condo method of de-cluttering, their journey has the reader take a deeper look at what this all means.
The book creates pictures of the natural outdoors along this Southwestern tip of England. It will have you contemplating it's message long after you have turned the last page. And ends giving a new perspective on the saying " When we change the way we look at things, the way we look at things changes.
Submitted by Donna Suffield
Just an hour’s drive south of Whistler British Columbia, Squamish is an outdoor enthusiast’s Rocky Mountain paradise. Many newer homes in the community of 20,000 are mainly built with cement, including heated cement floors and no forced air gas furnaces to reduce heating costs, and with lots windows to be able to appreciate the panoramic vistas. Most of them have built in accommodations which can be rented out to offset the high cost of living there. But that wasn’t a factor for Lambton Outdoor Club members Doreen Schommer and Joanne Block who had an opportunity to house and dog-sit there for Joanne’s daughter and her husband who are wilderness guides.
Doreen was kind enough to share a little bit of what it was like. The word ‘beautiful’ came up repeatedly and she struggled to find enough superlatives to describe the experience.
Of particular interest to Doreen and Joanne was the abundance of cross country ski trails right nearby. Loops running through naturally hilly terrain are wide enough for skiers to travel two abreast in both directions...for miles. Meanwhile up at Whistler Mountain there are ski runs of every level, and heli-skiing is popular among the affluent. In the warmer seasons there are nearly endless hiking trails and wilderness exploring opportunities, as well as mountain biking and horseback riding. Among the treasures are beautiful works of art by indigenous people who continue to have a strong influence. Squamish is known as the eagle world capital and during the salmon run they can be seen fishing en masse. Bears can also be observed feasting during the salmon running season.
Doreen, a petit dynamo now in her eighth decade (she doesn’t look it and can’t believe it herself) was there to make the most of the opportunity to be with her friend on this adventure in nature. Unfortunately, she ‘overdid it’ on day two when she pulled a hamstring. They had to slow their pace a little, but they never ran out of ways to enjoy their visit. Even taking Ben Dog, the massive Portuguese water dog on gentler hikes and scenic tours was a delight. One unexpected highlight occurred while walking along the shores of Howe Sound at sunset when an amazing array of vibrant colours transformed from pale yellow and pink through to orange, red and finally deep purple as dark descended. It remains a souvenir imbedded clearly in her memory.
Thanks for sharing, Doreen. For those of us who may never get to Squamish, or even the Rockies, we appreciate being able to enjoy your experience vicariously.
Submitted by Sharon Crowe
Two large Ontario cities; two lovely hiking trails!
Trail was used by the indigenous population and then the early traders as the most efficient route to Toronto. Toronto comes from the Mohawk term Toron-ten which the internet tells me means ‘the place where the trees grow over the water.” Yes, there are lovely trees and yes the river is quite narrow – perhaps creekish. If one begins the hike at Bindertwine one can travel through to the Boyd Conservation Area – there and back is almost 14 km with several significant climbs while crossing back and forth over the Humber River.
The Humber River trail goes by/through the McMichael Canadian Art Collection property. I enjoy going to the McMichael which is on 100 acres in Kleinburg – or 14 kms from my son’s house. The McMichael’s property also has the cemetery for six members of the Group of Seven. The McMichael opened in 1966 with a mandate to focus on the Group of Seven, contemporary Canadian art and art from indigenous Canadians. They have some lovely Emily Carr paintings.
The Westminster Ponds / Pond Mills is an Environmentally Significant Area of approximately 200 hectares. It is designated as a Provincially Significant Wetland. These trails are adjacent to the Tourist Information Centre on Wellington Road south of Commissioners Road. There are 11 km of managed trails to explore. Most of these trails are gently rolling but there are a couple of significant climbs. Also, watch out for the tree roots which can cause trips!
I understand that this area has been the site of archaeological digs which has discovered artefacts from First Nations campsites dating back 4500 years. Also, in the park is a tree thought to be over 600 years old. This white oak is believed to have served as a meeting place during the mid 1800s for thousands of asylum seekers who escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad. I have learned that the province and the city of London recognized this tree as a heritage site in 2012.
While cities have much to offer in the way of shopping and theatre I prefer the natural outdoors. Therefore I am pleased to have discovered that these two large metropolitan areas, Vaughan and London, have lovely natural, ‘wild’ trails to hike! The next time you are tempted to shop in London I encourage you to stop at the Tourist Centre and venture into the Westminster Ponds trails. The next time you head north of Toronto on highway 400 towards Barrie I encourage you to exit at Teston – just after Canada’s Wonderland - and drive a short 14 km to Kleinburg to see the beauty of the Humber River Trail.
Submitted by Louise Gibson
| Humber River Path |
| A glade at Westminster Ponds |
|Hike, Paddle, Ride... Smile!
Lambton Outdoor Club | P.O. Box 653 | Sarnia, Ontario, N7T 7J7