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Date: 12/31/2020
Subject: December 2020 Newsletter
From: Lambton Outdoor Club

Lambton Outdoor Club
December 2020 e-Newsletter

Greetings from your Council President

    As the year 2020 concludes, I wish to take this opportunity to say hello and thank you for your support and efforts to keep the club alive and well in a challenging and ever changing Covid-19 world. Everyone that has been with the club since its inception to the ones just joining has had to learn to adapt to new restrictions and protocols. We have certainly been blessed by the ability to enjoy our love for the outdoors that unites us in our continued pursuit of different ways to get together. After all, our club has a social aspect that appeals to our like-minded couples and singles.
   We have a lot of social media resources available to us, which has enabled us to continue with our council meetings September 14th and November 9th, as well as the Annual General Meeting on October 20th. Our committees and especially Tony’s Tuesday hikes and Kathy’s numerous cycle trips, have allowed our newer members to experience our club. With demand for outings increasing at the same time that restrictions were put in place as to social distancing, this became quite challenging. Again with the expertise of our more IT inclined members like Chris and Phil, and more volunteer leaders stepping forward, we are seeing more multiple events on the same day.
   Our council has a new vice-president, secretary, media chair, and of course myself. Most of us are fairly new to the club as well, but I quickly learned that so many of our past leaders are still very passionate about the L.O.C. and are very approachable in sharing their knowledge and expertise. With our continued online presence through our website and Facebook, there is continued work in training our membership and updating our database for archiving past documents. We are always open to new ideas and thoughts about what our membership wants to see in our club. As you know we are all volunteers and it is so satisfying to see the diversity of talent we all have. Each one of us can use our own special gifts to continue making this club thrive.

Submitted by Nico Van Dyl

Hiking First Aid Kits

A Necessary Item in Your Backpack

It is so scary when someone gets hurt. I recall a friend falling on a hike at the Lambton Heritage Forest. Unfortunately she punctured her hand with a branch. Blood, pain! Fortunately our hike leader had tweezers in his back pack. Quickly the splinters were removed and an alcohol wipe began the cleansing process. A bandage was applied and all was well.

Unfortunately, there have also been times when accidents happen and individuals require much more aid.  These are the times when we call on our first aid trained colleagues and /or call for Emergency Assistance. You may have experienced a hike leader asking for those with first aid or medical training to identify themselves. Also it is typical for a Lambton Outdoor Club hike leader to carry a First Aid Kit. A triangular bandage can help with an injured arm. A foil emergency blanket can keep an injured hiker warm and dry as well as help with shock.

Have you ever wondered what is in that small LOC first aid kit? They presently contain:
Antiseptic wipes, Alcohol cleaning towelettes, Hand cleaning towelettes, First Aid Iodine Ointment packs, Adhesive Bandages, Adhesive knuckle bandages, Gauze Pads, a Conforming Gauze bandages, Adhesive Tape Roll, Pair of Scissors, Pair of Tweezers, Examination Gloves, Instant cold pack, Burn Relief Gel Pack, Emergency Blanket, Triangular Bandages

LOC first aid kits Do Not contain over the counter medications such as benedryl or aspirin. Such medications are not recommended as part of a first aid kit; first aid providers are not authorized to dispense medication. You as a hiker are recommended to carry your own first aid supplies as well - Antiseptic wipes, Antibacterial ointment, Assorted bandages, Gauze pads, Mole skin for a blister, Medical tape, Tweezers as well as any medications you may need. You may further consider carrying items such as aspirin or an antihistamine such as benedryl for your personal use.
May we all always hike safely without injury!

Submitted by Louise Gibson, Hiking Chair

John DeVeer

There are several new faces on LOC Council this year, and I asked John DeVeer for a bio. John has been an LOC member since 2000 and been active hiking and cycling. He grew up cycling and  enjoying outdoor activities, so LOC seem like a perfect fit leading into retirement after spending 34 years as a process operator at Dow.
Bruce Trail hiking has been a favourite, the camaraderie, scenery and challenge of the exercise and the weather conditions make for a rewarding experience. Cycling trips along the river and many places are so enjoyable. LOC takes you to so many interesting places such as the “Strawberry Social” Harsen's Island. John wintered in South Texas for many years joining organized rides there as well. He also volunteers with the disaster response team at the Red Cross and has seen firsthand the devastation wrought by floods in Ottawa and catastrophic wildfires out West, and the consequent human misery. He has taken the role of Secretary on Council, and his lengthy outdoors experience will be a valuable asset.  He is looking forward to the day that we can share our LOC outings over a beer and continue activities like we did before.

Submitted by Mike Tanner
John DeVeer riding on his travels

New Winter Online Presentation Series Launched

Thanks to the chair and members of the LOC Social Committee the winter schedule is being developed and the first presentation took place Dec 8th. This group has been hard at work recruiting volunteers to present and setting up the calendar.

This time around we have expanded the subject matter from only travelogue topics to include other subjects: Technical presentations like how to use AllTrails app for hiking and other outdoor activities, Lifestyle presentations like how to get started with plant-based, whole foods eating, Educational presentations like Using the LOC Website, and our Move-It series with Bonnie Clarke leading us through gentle yoga stretches.

For our first experience, Phil Vallance gave us a very different perspective on hiking with his ‘Urban Camino in Ontario’ presentation. A 4-day walk on established paths and some sidewalks along the (mainly) waterfront from Hamilton to Pickering. A great adventure to take the place of the real Camino trip he had to cancel earlier this year. Following that Mario Aquilina gave us a great presentation on Malta, showcasing his superb photography skills and historical knowledge.

If you haven’t tried joining one of these online presentations, we encourage you to register some time. It is not necessary to install the Zoom software on your computer. All you need is the link we send and if you have never done a Zoom meeting before the first time only a small applet will install (takes just a few seconds) and then you’re all set. We also have people available to help in the unlikely chance you have trouble connecting.

The Social Committee is always on the lookout for new presenters. If you’ve been somewhere and have some photos and would like to share they’d like to hear from you. Some people create a PowerPoint presentation and others like me just played my photos in a slide show and narrated. For your first time, we’ll also do a trial run with you to test sound etc. and make sure you are comfortable with how to (very easily) share your screen with the audience.

Check the website calendar for upcoming presentations; we WILL get through this winter!!

Chris Richmond
Webmaster and Zoom Helper

Tales of an Urban Ramble

Some of you will know that I’ve enjoyed doing a longish trek annually in the spring for the past several years, but this spring with its pandemic concerns was an exception.  As the months rolled on, my longing to be “out walking” grew, and I decided to do a trek a little closer to home. On the popular Spanish Camino routes,  accommodation was readily available, and you could set out in the morning without a fixed destination in mind,  deciding mid-day how far you wanted to go, with the confidence that a bed could be found.  I liked that kind of travel freedom.
I decided that I could do much the same thing walking through the greater Toronto area.  Hotels are available in abundance, and these days, rooms are readily available as there are few travellers. So off I went!  Early on a Thursday morning, I drove to my sister’s home in Hamilton and left my car in her driveway.  After sharing a chat over coffee, I set out on foot, and that remained my only mode of transportation for the next few days.
Along the way, I mostly followed the roads and paths closest to the Lake Ontario waterfront.  There was a lot of “sidewalk” walking, given the built up nature of the area, but there is a substantial length of waterfront trails and parks along the way.  As expected, there was never a problem finding “room at the inn”, and hotels were readily found along my route for all nights but one.  Only in the Oakville area did I need to veer north from the lake (closer to the QEW) to find a hotel for one evening.  But the walk through the residential subdivisions and parks was still very enjoyable.  
Like any long walk, it is a marvellous journey of discovery, even for a city like Toronto that I know quite well.  On foot, you find many nooks and crannies and areas that you miss by any other mode of transportation.   It feels good for the soul to set out each day with only a direction, and not a destination in mind, enjoying the journey.  No news, no music, just the company of your own thoughts and the observations of life and the world around you.  It is calming & centering.
Late in the morning of my fifth day on the walk, I arrived at the GO Train station in Pickering, and that was the end of the walk for me.  The train I boarded stopped in downtown Toronto at Union Station, but continued on to Aldershot station just outside of Hamilton.  From there, another walk across town and up the escarpment took me back to my sister’s home and to my car.   I arrived home in Sarnia that night tired but with my wanderlust sated.
I’m good for the rest of this year, and already planning my walkabout for next year!

Submitted by Phil Vallance

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

What a year this has been… No one could have ever anticipated this playing out, so LOC was caught a little off-guard with organizing our events earlier this year. We cancelled all events early on to be cautious until public health guidelines started to describe safe practices for outdoor activities, and for a period of time provided online presentations or personal challenges to keep our members connected and engaged.

We waited until July to run some trial outdoor events to gauge interest, and monitor compliance of LOC Covid-19 guidelines. Kathy Furlotte stepped up to run a few weeks of test bike rides, as well as Phil Vallance who ran a couple test paddles, Les McDermott who led a few longer distance rides and John Timar and Les McDermott who lead some trial hikes.
These events were successful with numbers slowly picking up and members following necessary precautions, so we cautiously opened up activities again: Tony Arnold started back up the Tuesday Easy Hikes, Louise Gibson started back up the weekend hikes, and the cyclists organized some longer bike rides. Due to smaller group sizes being recommended we needed to call on extra volunteers to help out. This club did not disappoint. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who put their name forward to lead an event during this most unusual year, and hope I have not missed anyone.

Online Presentations: Stretch: Bonnie Clarke. Travel: Phil Vallance, Chris Richmond, Brenda Lorenz, Terry Syer, Donna Suffield, Bonnie Clark, Mario Aquilina, John De Veer, Gail Nawrock, Larry Suffield, Jack Beaton’s son Randy
Slow Spokes Rides: Kathy Furlotte, Rod Richmond, Dianne Polley, Trudy Vanoosten, Kathy Laudanyi, Wilma Zerko, Colette Korosec, Janice Harrison
Hares Rides: Les McDermott, John DeVeer, John Damoiseaux, Sharon Crowe
Tuesday Easy Hikes: Tony Arnold, Janet Chalmers, Sharon Crowe, Chris Richmond, Kathy Furlotte, Larry Suffield, Wilma Zerko, Maria Vanderbeld, Rod Richmond, Dianne Polley, Eileen Jackson, Barbara Auger, Colette Korosec
Weekend Hikes: John Timar, Les McDermott, Doug Winch, Mike Elliott, Louise Gibson, Bonnie Clark, John Lovegrove, Eileen Jackson
Paddling: Phil Vallance, Judy Mahoney - non-LOC outings
Special Challenges/Route Sharing: Chris Richmond, Sharon Crowe, Cynthia MacNeil, Les McDermott, Phil Vallance, Les Moir, Donna Suffield, Louise Gibson
Popup Events: Chris Richmond, Brenda Lorenz, Phil Vallance, Sharon Crowe

Again, a huge shout out to these individuals, without whom it would have been a real challenge to keep things going this most unusual year. Belonging to a club means more than paying your dues; these folks have embodied the spirit of LOC. Thank you!

Get outside – stay safe.
Chris Richmond

Great Social Distance for these Tuesday walkers

Goderich to Auburn Rail Trail plus Benmiller - Awesome Ride!

Tiger Dunlop Trail starts as a little path between the grain elevators and a small woodland just uphill from a popular Lake Huron beach.  After crossing rail tracks, a road and the picturesque Menesetung footbridge, it is much more, and you’re on your way. In former times this trail was developed for recreational snowmobiling and it didn’t get much summer maintenance, particularly at its east end where there were fewer users.  Fortunately, with the rise in popularity of cycling and the development of the Goderich to Guelph rail trail (G2G) the whole route is now excellent:  uniformly wide, flat and well maintained.  It’s hard packed dirt with a layer of fine stones.  There are no potholes or loose bits, and it is considerably nicer to ride than our own Howard Watson Trail, and in fact nicer than many of our local roads.

Add the good riding with the stunning scenery to a cool tomb, lots of opportunities to stop and gawk as well as to sit and rest, and it’s a lovely ride for any level of rider. Having said that, at 12 km each way the route, also known as Goderich to Auburn Rail Trail (GART) isn’t particularly long, so to add value to the hour and a half drive to Goderich we decided to create a loop and take in Benmiller and the lovely waterfalls at the Maitland Valley Conservation Area Morris Tract.  That put us on some county roads which were a little busy and had gravel shoulders, but drivers were respectful and the roads were excellent.  We got off the main roads for a few kilometers when I noticed the sign and turn in for Balls Bridge.  It looked intriguing, and it was.  That’s how we ended up going across a heritage bridge and taking the pastoral Balls Road.  It was dirt/gravel but it was still better than many of our local roads.  How is this possible?  Anyway, it was quiet and scenic and we loved it.
After Benmiller and the cool side trip into the conservation area we returned to the GART.  It’s amazing that the slope is so gentle that you don’t notice it heading out, but when you are returning and you’re tired it’s delightful to discover that it’s downhill all the way home.  Once back at our vehicle we decided to do a tour of the waterfront, only to discover that high water levels and strong winds have done serious erosion.  Some reparation work has been completed, but much of the extensive beach area was still closed and under reconstruction.

All in all we had a wonderful autumn bike ride.  Leaves were just turning colour, the sun was bright, and the temperature got up to a balmy 20 degrees Celsius.  We covered 53 km in four hours, including scenic stops and lunch.  This is a route made for soaking up atmosphere rather than blasting through and we did just that.  Oh, by the way, Goderich beach is a very busy place!  Families, dogs, cars, walkers, riders, seniors, juniors…everybody seemed to be heading there.  You should go too!

Submitted by Sharon Crowe

       Nice ride through the shade
      Dave explores the Falls

                                    Winston Ramharry

 One of the foundational ethics of LOC is the desire for challenge and the willingness to try something new, and few embody that quality more than Winston, our new Vice President. When he showed interest in riding Ragbrai (the crazy 7-day ride across Iowa) I assumed he was a seasoned cyclist. It transpired that he rode for fun on a clunker. Acquiring a road bike, he proved to be up to the challenge. He had never paddled, until he joined the group for an outing, and was hooked. Since then he has paddled to Port Lambton, and this summer the Rideau Canal, including one marathon forty-six Km day. Lest you think his achievements are limited to road and water, he has hiked sections of the Bruce Trail, climbed Kilimanjaro, trekked in Patagonia, and hiked the arduous trail to the Everest Base Camp. Not bad for the Engineer from Nova who only joined the club after retiring five years ago. A native of Trinidad, he has always believed in volunteering, from his early days in Scouting to more recently at the Restore, the idea of giving back brings its own reward. We welcome Winston’s energy and vision to LOC Council, perhaps he will encourage others to join in his latest passion, paddle boardin. 

Mike Tanner

Winston conquering Patagonia

Winter Activities

After talking with the winter committee, it was decided we would not be hosting any multi-day outings this winter. What we plan on doing is holding local activities. The past few winters have been terrible for winter sports but here's hoping this year is better. It will be difficult to plan outings very far in advance because of our climate so they will have to be planned a day or two in advance. We will post outings on the website and send out emails in advance. You will then sign up in the club's usual way.

You don't have to be a committee member to lead an event. If you feel confident enough to lead one, please let me know.

The City of Sarnia has free public skating Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena. There are two sessions. The first is Tuesdays: 12pm-1pm or 1pm-2pm
Thursdays: 12pm-1pm or 1pm-2pm. I've heard the second session isn't as busy as the first. You need to register online as there's a maximum of 25 participants. There's more information on the city's website. You can call or text me at 519-542-2015.
(Note: since the writing of this article, the province-wide shutdown has meant this skating program is on hold until Jan 23rd. Check the city website for future dates.)

Thank you.
Brian Seabrook, Winter Activities chair

Not recommended by the Hiking Committee
Wishing everyone a Happy and safe New Year
Hike, Paddle, Ride... Smile!

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