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Date: 12/8/2018
Subject: December 2018 e-Newsletter
From: Lambton Outdoor Club

Lambton Outdoor Club
  December 2018 e-Newsletter

2018 in the Rear-view

Johnny cash penned “I’ve Been Everywhere” on a road trip, and it’s sung as a fast-paced, breathless tune chronicling his road trip lifestyle.

"I've been everywhere, man
I've been everywhere, man
Crossed the deserts bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
Travel, I've had my share, man
I've been everywhere"

This came to mind when I ventured to put LOC’s 2018 in a perspective, because a lot has happened in the past 11 months. The year started in fine style with the New Years day hike and supper, with a special membership meeting to discuss changes to the Constitution. They passed. The buzz on Council was regarding the new website under construction by Chris Richmond and her team. It took an awful amount of detail work to compress our needs into the ClubExpress template, but the result was well worth the effort. The roll out in March went smoothly, with Chris managing affairs from the comfort of her condo in Arizona.  Other support activities included a First Aid Training day where we learned how to assist others in trouble, and a Bike Maintenance workshop where similar philosophy can be applied to your cycle (except mouth to mouth).

The winter enthusiasts chased the snow to Collingwood, and then to South River for a dogsledding overnight. Meanwhile closer to home, the cyclists held the second bike pub night to pump up the cycling crowd, and the Paddlers did likewise. We all gathered at the Legion for the Spring Social, and to enjoy a spirited account by Stan Martin of his bike adventures around the Rock. Spring also saw your leadership take up the cause of bike lanes in Sarnia and make a compelling argument for the adoption of lanes on Colborne Road. Council saw the wisdom and approved the measure.

The hiking group heeded the wish for local mid-week hikes, Brenda Lorenz and Greg Hogan pioneered the venture, and Tuesday hikes have been well supported, with Tony Arnold coordinating. We are all about getting outside, and each group has traveled far and wide in the great outdoors. Judy Mahoney has chronicled the paddling adventures with local outings on the Snye and Maitland Rivers, circumnavigating Stag Island and a Northern epic to the French River. The cyclists have ridden the Great Waterway Adventure, Gran Fondo, the annual ride across Iowa (RAGBRAI), Majorca, Germany, Ottawa and across Canada, in addition to the regular weekend and Thursday rides for Easy Riders/Hares and Wednesday for Slow Spokes.

Not to be outdone, Hikers have trod the Camino de Santiago, The Appalachian Trail, the Inca Trail, the Grand Canyon and the Bruce Trail in addition to the usual weekend outings. On the public-spirited front members helped clean up the Howard Watson Trail, maintain trails in the Port Franks area in conjunction with LSNT (Lambton Shores Nature Trails), and attended a Bike Friendly Communities workshop. The cycling group designed an eye-catching jersey which was eagerly snatched up by the Lycra crowd, and a healthy turn out at a revamped AGM voted in a number of changes to our constitution which will aid Council moving forward. Our finances are in good shape, and Treasurer Rod Richmond can now deposit the few cheques we receive by taking a picture. Amazing. Membership stays buoyant, new people are attracted by our activities, but stay because of the warmth of welcome and the engaging attitude of you all.

Unlike Johnny, we know there are new trails to explore, new roads to travel and waterways to paddle. As the year winds down, Christmas approaches and we make plans for 2019, we should be thankful for our heath and provision, for those who love us, and for those who have taken their last hike.

Best Wishes

Mike Tanner, Newsletter Editor

President’s Report


As I come to the close of the second month serving as President of our Club, as well as near the end of another busy year, I look back with satisfaction and ahead with anticipation. Much has been accomplished over the past eleven months highlighted by the development and launching of our amazing new website.

Most people think of websites today as generally static pages punctuated by location and contact information with perhaps a picture or two to hopefully create interest and action. Not so with our website. It is dynamic in every way. For one thing, it is constantly updated by posting new events and activities conveniently displayed on our online calendar. It then often provides us with a perpetual memory of the good times portrayed in living colour on its ever-expanding photo album.

Our website is certain to continue serving us well as we move forward into 2019 as each of our event committees gear up to bring us a full slate of outdoor activities. Just to make sure that our hiking, cycling, paddling and winter activity event coordinators will most easily and efficiently utilize all the website features for scheduling their various future activities, our Webmaster, Chris Richmond, recently invited them to her home for a chili lunch followed by an excellent PowerPoint presentation. Leaving nothing to chance, Chris has also just compiled a 60-page manual for publication and distribution to committee chairs and coordinators.

While most everything is in place to begin organizing our future activities, the one thing most urgently needed to ensure their ultimate success is for volunteers to sit in on committee discussions as well as to coordinate the individual events. Our Social Committee is especially in need of volunteers to assist with the traditional New Year’s Day Potluck Dinner and Urban Hike. Although it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort on each member's part, collectively it provides a huge benefit to the Club as a whole. Please consider taking part.

Les McDermott, President

Adventures on the Inca Trail - Peru

In July this year I set out on a once in a life time exciting adventure. My trip started out from Cuzco where I could rent a sleeping bag, air mattress and a hiking pole.  I also met up with the rest of the group of 13 who were from England, Ireland, Germany and Canada.

We had a hike leader and an assistant with 13 porters including cooks. Detailed instructions were given to us as to what to pack for the trip. The rest of our luggage was put into storage at the hotel in Cuzco. After a trip by bus to see the sights of the Sacred Valley, Weavery and Masonry (bricks made out mud and grass), we spent overnight in Ollantaytambo. Next morning, we went by bus to KM 82 ready to start out on the trail.

The Inca Trail is an amazing trail with breathtaking mountain scenery and lots of Inca history. There were some very steep sections and a real challenge starting at 2600 m. As you rise in elevation the lack of air starts to affect you and you have to go slow and stop often to catch your breath (and take pictures). The highest point was at 4215 m. The meals were great, porridge for breakfast and rice, noodles and fish for dinner. The Porters were amazing to have lunch ready at midday and the camp already set up with tents etc. at the end of each day. The sleeping bags were good on top of the air mattress in the tent when staying above the clouds. Only the facilities left something to be desired.
Peru winter days were short 6:00am till 5:45pm. Up at 5:30 after organizing breakfast, tea, warm water at our tents at wakeup call. Evening drinks at 5:30, supper at 6:30. Many evenings we played a game of Uno cards under the propane light.

As well as enjoying the scenery of the Andes we learned much about the life of the Incas in the 1500’s.  Lots of their buildings remain along the way. Machu Picchu was not discovered until 1911.
Last day we have to get up at 3:30 to leave by 4:00 and arrive at 6:30 to see Machu Picchu. It was a lot larger than I thought it would be with steep winding roads, grazing lamas, straw thatched roofs. Many tourists came here by bus. We did a 3 hr tour with our guide after 4 days and 3 nights in the Andes. The bus then took us down the mountain, 2700 m, to Aquas Calientes where we had lunch. From there we took a train ride for 2 hrs back to Ollantaytambo. There a bus was ready for the 2 hr trip back to Cuzco.

Submitted by: John DeVeer

John DeVeer with a mountain top experience at Machu Picchu

LOC Christmas Dinner

Christmas is often a time to pause and reflect. It is a season of goodwill and fellowship. It is a time to celebrate those people who make the world a wonderful place and make it feel like Christmas every day of the year! As Doug Wynch said in his blessing – “how blessed we are.” As many of us gathered to dine, the evening afforded us time to catch up with friends that we don’t see on a regular basis now that more wintery weather has arrived. It becomes more difficult to keep up with our “trail” friends - especially if paddling or biking are your key activities.

The social aspect of the LOC is a very important part. As we all know, the fellowship and banter along some of those long trails or rides makes any event endurable and even fun. The social part has enabled us to meet so many wonderful people and make friendships that last for many years. We did miss and think of many people who were unable to make the event. Mike – how unfortunate that you had to miss after all the work you did. We hope you are feeling better. It was a beautiful evening and a kick off for the Christmas season. 

The meal at Olives is ALWAYS great – excellent service for a great price. Everyone was generous and contributed to the 50/50 draw. People came up to buy tickets without even being asked!! Thank you!! We were able to make an $84 donation to the Hospice. 

Thank you to everyone who helped make the event so successful, the organizers, the volunteers, the wait staff and every single person who attended. I wish everyone a beautiful holiday season and a New Year filled with happiness, health and many GREAT adventures.

Submitted by: Lori Clancy

  Pam, Ted, Ati, Jeff enjoying the festivities
Liz, Bonnie and Doug enjoying a fine meal

The Year in Paddling

I have been asked to do a short overview of the Paddling season. At first, I thought, “why me? I hardly did any paddling this year” but actually when I started looking back, I had been on 6 of our adventures! Mother Nature was not our best friend especially in August and September where we had quite a few cancellations due to weather. Unfortunately, not much we can do about that when our adventures take place outdoors!!   

A small group of paddlers began the season with a trip to the Nith River near Kitchener in May. It was not only nice to get out in a canoe to start the season but also interesting to go to a place I hadn't been before. The river meandered through farmland which I thought might not be that interesting, but in fact it was beautiful. There were forested areas, lots of rocks, nice calm eddy areas that gave a rest from the swifter water we encountered. We basically had the place to ourselves with no other paddlers on the water and only a few folks on land. Even though it was overcast, there were many birds throughout the trip.  Everyone had a great time in spite of a bump on the head by one of the groups near the end of the paddle. 

Again, Mother Nature flexed her muscles by interfering with our “Monday Night paddles” leaving us with only one Monday Night to paddle. I guess we should have renamed it “The One and Only Monday Night Paddle”. We had about ten people come out and we paddled around Sarnia. Being out on the water gives a different perspective to all those familiar landscapes we normally see from the land. 

The Snye River paddle was made interesting this year thanks to the wet weather we have had. Normally the water is on the lower side, but this year found us on very high water! We turned the trip into a Limbo contest for the folks in kayaks as they went under the first bridge. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take part in the Limbo as I was in a canoe and let’s just say that wasn’t possible no matter how “low I could go”. I thought I was doing great with the portage until I ended up putting my foot through a dilapidated dock! Why can’t a canoe Limbo!?! No major damage at least to me (the dock got what it deserved). We all made it under the following two bridges with no problems. 

The next trip was the Maitland River and we had low water. We had no problems with the kayaks. The canoe on the other hand wasn’t in the same situation and Brian and another fellow had to get out to push it through the very low parts. There were a few swifts which were nice, but it was not complicated at all.  We saw a very large snapping turtle and although John went quite close to it, I am happy to report all made it through with all body parts intact.

Hank led us on his Water and Wings trip in Bright’s Grove. It was so much fun going from the big water of Lake Huron to very high water in Perch Creek. I have been to Perch Creek other times where you got stuck, but once again Mother Nature gave us a new experience with the high water…so much water! 

The trip to Stag Island gave much paddling diversity.  We started out on one side and the paddling was super calm and everyone was enjoying the nice easy paddle, enjoying the beautiful outdoors, then WHAMMO!!! …we came around the island and when we hit the other side WOW it was rough. I have to say that it was definitely a challenge with the wind and the rough water, but so much fun with the spray and the waves. We really had a bit of everything on this trip, which is good for working on different skills that make us better paddlers in the long run. I think the saying goes…”What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger”.   Well we are definitely stronger after this one (maybe a few sore muscles as well). 

There was a week-long trip to the French River in August, but unfortunately, I had to sit that one out as I pulled a muscle in my chest but I heard that it was awesome. I did recover in time to go on a non-Club canoe trip to Biscotasing in September where the weather was all over the map but a beautiful remote area to visit.

I hope that you enjoyed this little synopsis of our paddling for 2018 and that it will bring back good memories as you think back on those you participated in.  I know we will have even more excellent trips planned for 2019.


Submitted by: Judy Mahoney

   Sunset after a fine day
      LOC paddlers on the French River

Membership: Paper to Bytes

In March of this year an updated membership system was established in conjunction with the club’s new website. The old system involved paper application forms, data entry into an Access database, manually generated email notices, envelopes, and stamps.  It was labour intensive – when a new member joined over twenty different fields of information had to be entered into the database. The process was time consuming, mind numbing, and subject to errors.

The revised system allows new members to enter their own information. They simply click on a Join Now button on the website and they are walked through the process without having to print any forms. Payments for memberships are now much more efficient. The credit card payment option allows new and renewing members to pay without stamps, envelopes, and avoid the costs of a cheque.

The information for individuals who were members in March, including their expiry date, was transferred to the new system. The system has been programmed to send renewal notices automatically and it also prompts people about renewal when they log in. By simply clicking on the prompt members are taken through the renewal process.

Members can change their contact information by logging in, moving the cursor over their name in the upper right corner, clicking on Profile in the drop box, and then clicking on Contact Info on the left of the screen. Remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save. Alternatively, members can submit any changes by email to

To obtain a membership card you can click on your Profile as noted above, and then click on Download Membership Card. Our Webmaster Chris Richmond has prepared detailed instructions on membership cards and other topics in a set of tutorials. To access those, click on Documents, then on the left, click on Members Only folder to expand and view documents. The new system saves the club over $225 per year for cards, envelopes, and postage.

The new system appears to be working well. We have had over 60 new members and 100 renewals without any loss of blood. It is saving the club money, reducing the work required, and should reduce errors. It has dramatically reduced the time required and changed the role of the membership chair from data entry and envelope licking, to a coach for individuals who have problems or questions. My term as membership chair will expire at the next AGM. Anyone who is interested in the position, which now only involves a few hours per month, should contact our president Les McDermott at

Anyone who has any problems or questions relating to membership issues including renewals, membership cards, etc. can contact me at If we cannot resolve the issue by phone or email, we can sit in front of a computer at Tim Horton’s. I will buy the coffee.


Submitted by: Larry Suffield, Membership Chair


New Members

LOC is fortunate to have a steady influx of new members. I talked with four recent arrivals to discover how they landed on our trails. Ed Allison is an inveterate walker, and after retiring from NOVA, friend Jim Goodman introduced him to the club. He finds the Tuesday morning group welcoming and with a similar ethic, to get outside and enjoy life. Liz Bujaki is a retired school principal. Hiking with friends in the Bruce, she enjoyed it so much that she set out to discover like minded folk in Sarnia. She discovered that LOC is not just about the great outdoors, Liz and husband Steve’s first event was the Christmas Dinner, where they won the 50/50 draw. Monika Deleersynder enjoys the outdoors, she looks after the animal barn on the family farm. Her sister saw the LOC events in the paper and has enjoyed the local walks and the great welcome from fellow hikers. Ursula Gnass is a gardener and retired ESL teacher. She saw the walks in the paper and came along with a friend. The easy organization, the interesting local scenery she has discovered and the friendly companions have sold her on the club.

Submitted by: Mike Tanner, Newsletter Editor

Patagonia Trip

Patagonia is a region in the southern tip of South America. It spans both Chile and Argentina, and is home to fantastic mountain peaks, massive glaciers and pristine rivers. A group of 18 from Sarnia went on an 11-day hike arranged by Sarnia Big Brothers Big Sisters. The tour operator was Bike Hike.  It was spring – warm weather with flowers blooming everywhere.

A few of us did pre and post excursions. Gerry and Lori Clancy and I flew to Santiago, Chile and toured the historic city, visited a few wineries (there are hundreds to choose from). A few days later, we flew to Mendoza, Argentina. Crossing the Andes in a small plane afforded amazing views – the mountains were so close, it felt like you could reach and touch them. Mendoza is a picturesque town in the foothills of the Andes.  It is in a desert, but because of the elaborate Inca irrigation system that diverts glacier water to the city (and the wineries), it is like being in a tropical oasis.  All of the trees have been brought to the region from Buenos Aires hundreds of years ago.  We were told that the wineries started in order to create a supply for the Jesuits and their masses. The flora and fauna were spectacular.  Exotic birds and plants everywhere!

We then travelled to Puntas Arenas to meet up with the group.  We experienced many flight delays on this trip and my luggage was lost, but luckily, I followed the golden rule – I took my hiking boots and other essential stuff for a few days in my hand luggage. At 6 a.m. we headed out on  a boat tour to Magdelena Island to a penguin colony. Amazing – thousands of penguins walking around in grassy fields.  The tour was cut short because of the notoriously high winds (over 100 km) in the straights of Magellan. Of course, it was memorable return boat ride with six feet waves going over the covered small zodiac boat. Puntas Arenas looked to be a very interesting city – on the list to go back.

Finally, we headed off for the climb starting with Torres del Paine. On the drive we enjoyed the mostly unpopulated landscape and saw guanacos, large rabbits, condors, rheas, flamingos etc. and also many vast sheep farms. We did spectacular hikes for three days staying in amazing accommodations -solar geodomes and cabins.  The stars were spectacular. We got to see the Southern Cross constellation.  Four seasons in a day – we would be hiking in short sleeves while witnessing an avalanche across a pass.  Then rain and double or triple rainbows.

We travelled by bus and crossed into Argentina to begin hiking another four days. We stayed a couple of nights at Rio Blanco base camp - beautiful cabins. There was even a wood fired hot tub!! The food everywhere was amazing despite our location - in the remote camps or the cities - lamb barbecues, steaks, empanadas, and matte tea. There were people kayaking in a river to a pass with downhill skis.  They hike up, ski the glacier, rest and do it again. At the bottom, it was warm enough for shorts and t- shirts. 

After being spoiled for two nights, it was time to tackle Mount Fitz Roy. A new weather system - very windy with some rain. We woke to a blizzard. 100 Km/Hr winds caused the cancellation of the steep ascent to get a close up view of Mount Fitz Roy.  There was always Plan B.  For the most part, the weather was good with day time temperatures from 1 to 12C and moderate rain.

On one trek, the wind blew one of the hikers off a plank bridge into a stream. Fortunately, only his boots got soaked.  We rarely had to carry big volumes of water – we could always drink the water directly from the glacial streams. We were afforded absolutely amazing views of the glaciers – often in sharp contrast to spring like conditions. 

It was a once in a life time, memorable trip. I learned about culture and history of Chile, Argentina, had lots of wine, meat and of course days of amazing hike and scenery in Patagonia. So much more to tell but…

Submitted by: Winston Ramharry

Winston at the snow line
Lori and Gerry against the wind

                A Word from Your Interim Social Convener

The long-standing tradition of the LOC Christmas Dinner was held without a hitch, and in the absence of a formal Social Committee. This would seem to set the model for running events in the future. People are reluctant to sit on formal committees but are willing to help (if asked) for specific projects. I offered to convene the event, and Joanne, Sharon, Lori and Joan helped to run the evening in my absence. So, the system worked, and the next event will be the New Year’s Day Hike, Pot Luck and presentation.

The venue is booked (All Saints Anglican Church), I have two helpers, Sharon and Joan, and could use a couple more. We are taking the “Luck” out of Pot Luck by asking you to sign up for a dish when you register, I remember the year when everyone brought meatballs..... As always newcomers are welcome to share our feast, and if you are running late or forget, no problems - there always seems to be plenty of food.

Looking forward, we will have a Spring Social to kick off the warmer weather. Club members have some amazing adventures, and the presentations are welcome, fun and inspiring. Please consider sharing your journeys with others. This can only happen if members step forward and pitch in. You do not have to sit on a committee, simply help run one event. In this season of good will, festive cheer and helping others I hope this sits on your New Year’s resolution calendar.

Mike Tanner, Interim Social Convener

St Joseph’s Hospice Donation

Proceeds from the 50/50 draw at the Christmas Dinner were donated to St Joseph’s Hospice. Mike Tanner, LOC Past President, presented  a cheque for $84 to Maria Muscedere. Mike’s late wife, Dr Linda Bowring, was a pioneer in end of life care in Sarnia and headed up the Palliative Care unit at Bluewater Health and the initial Hospice on London Road.

The e-Newsletter

There are many advantages to the monthly e-newsletter format; it is timely, it is inexpensive, it is easy to set, and distribution is literally the press of a key. The cadre of contributors is growing, and your stories can be shared to encourage others.

Some though, chafe at the screen read format. The ClubExpress email system, although easy to navigate, does not allow attachments, so the version you see is electronic and not printer-friendly.  I understand that for some reading on a screen or tablet is tiresome, inconvenient or physically impossible. As we explore the capabilities of CE we are hoping to overcome these issues, but in the meantime I will generate a PDF Document which can be downloaded, printed and read at leisure with your coffee, or in bed, or wherever your lifestyle allows. This will also be stored on the website Under “Member Documents”. In the new year we will be exploring an e-news format with page breaks that that does not chop off articles when printing.

If you have any suggestions, ideas or critique of the content, please let me know. This is your newsletter, aiming to serve and inform LOC members about our great club.



Printable Version - December 2018 Newsletter 


Mike Tanner, Editor


Hike, Paddle, Ride... Smile!

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