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Content SUMMER 2013 04 EDITOR’S NOTE 06 06 07 08 09

FIELD REPORT Fun Runs Meet the Reebok ATV19+ On the Road with the Otesha Project Get Glamping! New Roofed Accommodations at Ontario Parks North Grenville Connects the Spots


Our contributor’s longest-ever run up to this point in his life had been just over seven hours at the Jay Mountain Marathon last year. He was about to surpass that record and enter uncharted territory, and he wasn’t even a third of the way done. What the hell was he thinking when he signed up for an attempt to run for 24 hours, non-stop?

10  DAYTRIPPER 12  “TWENTY-FOUR HOURS TO GO, I WANNA BE SEDATED” I would comfortably bet my life that no member of the Ramones ever took part in an ultramarathon, but their lyrics could not have been more appropriate. 14  THE LAST GREAT ADVENTURE: PADDLING THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE Far beyond the treeline, amid Arctic islands that few Canadians could name, the temperature is so cold that the sea freezes. It’s an unforgiving and inhospitable environment, nearly devoid of human life 16 WEEKEND GETAWAY Alive in Cape Croker 18  DISCOVERING CANADA’S PAST IN OUR PARKS 22 GLOBETROTTER Nepal’s Whitewater Side Strapped into a whitewater kayak on a swift descent of the Bhote Koshi River, stopping is a luxury. Down here, the river moves whether your sense of balance can keep up or not. I cut through a standing wave and fight to maintain a straight course through the churning water. GEAR 24 Lighten Up! 26 Tents: Double Occupancy MIND & BODY 28 TOP CHEF: NALGENE Here are four useful camp recipes that, thanks to a few plastic bottles, will make a delicious and practical addition to your next backcountry trip.

© Forest Woodward

30 LAST CALL summer 2013 3



link-up of Watkins, El Capitan and Half Dome (“solo” meaning climbing without a rope!). During the screening, the crowd responded with a bloodcurdling sound to that particular section of the movie. But in subsequent interviews, Honnold has said he doesn’t even recall that precise moment during his climb, saying in his nonchalant way that he had one good

strong current. By the time rescuers arrived, it was too late. She died at the hospital, after a fight for her life that lasted over two hours. The tree had been reported to municipal authorities, so they could have addressed the problem before the accident, but cutting a tree in Montreal is more complicated than you might think. Roxane should not have

© Arnon Polin

Drawing the line on your own tempting personal adventures might be as tough as the decision she faced on the riverbank: You might not realize you need to pull back.

We take life for granted. I use “we” because I tend to do that myself – I always expect things will go just fine when

I step out my front door for the commute, a weekend trip or an expedition. I simply assume that we’ll get back home without any big bruises. But as I was hiking Mount Lafayette in New Hampshire with a group of students planning to climb Kilimanjaro next year, the potential dangers all of a sudden seemed so real: What if one of these 14-year-old kids fell over a ledge and died? Who would take the blame? The school? Their teacher? Me? I asked my group of four to take a water break and reassure me that they would be extra careful when they were close to a cliff. Just in case… When you get off the beaten path to chase a mountaintop or catch a big wave, you expose yourself to the elements. And when a tragic accident happens, people die “doing the one thing they loved the most.” Right? Or maybe they just went one step too far. Ueli Steck, the renowned climber known as “The Swiss Machine,” was saying exactly this in a recent YouTube video. He doesn’t know where his personal limits are in his adventures, because he never gets past them: “I’ll never know until it is too late!” During the recent Reel Rock Tour 7, the trailer of the film Honnold 3.0 showed Alex Honnold slipping on a climbing route on Yosemite’s Mount Watkins during the first-ever solo 4 summer 2013

solid grip on his right hand and it “wasn’t a big deal.” Some people push the limits to the extreme like this because they can’t live without the risks. That works for them. Others might die because they are unlucky or don’t know what they are doing. That’s even scarier! Recently, on the south shore of Montreal, 23-year-old Roxane was surfing the St. Lawrence River, her local surf spot. Her leash got stuck in a branch sticking out from a tree – it had fallen in the water earlier that week – and made her lose her balance. She got stuck between the tree and her board for several minutes, unable to free herself from the

been on the water at all on that fatal day: It was simply too dangerous with that tree blocking the escape route. But the lure of getting up on her board was just too strong. Drawing the line on your own tempting personal adventures might be as tough as the decision that Roxane faced on the riverbank: You might not realize you need to pull back. And the risk is that you might go one step too far. Get out this summer. Explore. But please be safe. As one of my friends says, “Active people should not die!” He is so right! Chris Levesque, Editor @chrislevesque

Summer 2013 :: Vol. 5 :: No. 2 PUBLISHER: Stéphane Corbeil ( EDITOR: Chris Levesque ( SENIOR EDITOR: Stephania Varalli | CONTRIBUTORS: Matt Colautti, Peter Dobos, Bryen Dunn, Patrice Halley, Sally Heath, Ilona Kauremszky, Éric Marchand, Kristy Strauss.

PROOFREADER: Christopher Korchin TRANSLATOR: Christine Laroche COVER PHOTO: Cindy, a kayak instructor, paddles toward a dawn sunrise in a yellow and orange kayak on Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA. © Nick Hall / Aurora Photos

ADVERTISING: Jean-François Vedeboncoeur, Sales Manager / 514-277-3477, ext.27 Jon Marcotte, Account Executive / 514-277-3477, ext. 26 David Mene, Account Executive / 514-277-3477, ext. 28 Joanne Bond, Sales Assistant / 514-277-3477, ext. 30

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EDITORIAL DEPARTMENT: 514-277-3477 / MAILING ADDRESS: Groupe Espaces Inc 911 Jean Talon St. E., Suite 205 Montreal (Quebec) H2R 1V5

CIRCULATION: 60,000 copies distributed to outdoor enthusiasts everywhere. ADVENTURA is published four times a year by Groupe Espaces Inc., a division of Gesca Publishing Inc.

ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS: ADVENTURA welcomes editorial and photo submissions,

which must be sent by e-mail only. Contact the Editor to discuss. ADVENTURA is not responsible for articles, photographs or any other material sent to its attention. If you do not keep a copy of ADVENTURA magazine for your personal archives, please give it to a friend or recycle it.The opinions expressed are those of the authors and are not necessarily shared by Groupe Espaces Inc. Some of the activities reported on in ADVENTURA could entail injury risks for anyone engaging in them. ADVENTURA and its reporters, contributors, photographers and other staff members do not recommend the practice of these activities by anyone who does not have the required skills and technique. ADVENTURA is not responsible for the information contained in advertisements. Any reproduction of material published in ADVENTURA is prohibited without the expressed consent of Groupe Espaces Inc.

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COLOR ME RAD This colourful race will make you enjoy the art of running. Expect blobs of paint to start flying at you at the beginning, and again every five minutes during this 5K race. Runners are encouraged to come out in their whitest, cleanest attire to endure this colour war – but also to stay safe by wearing goggles and glasses. • $50 • June 9 in Montreal, June 22 and 23 in Toronto, July 6 in Quebec City

© Remus Eserblom

MUD HERO Embrace the mud and muck in this race. Expect crazy new summits, and fun with your friends, as you glide across the finish line. The 6K event has more than 15 obstacles to get your adrenaline pumping, and the event finishes off with a post-race party that features a BBQ, drinks and live music. This event is great for those training for more extreme events, or if you’re looking for something new to do with your friends. • $70 • June 1 in Ottawa, June 15 in Montreal, August 24 in Toronto

Dodge reams of colourful paint. Run against time to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Get down and dirty in mud as you run 6K. Standard race courses are being replaced with muddy terrain, and the typical running gear is being exchanged for themed costumes. Here’s a sneak peak at some races that add the fun to your run. BEAT BEETHOVEN Kingston and Ottawa will host this musical race, where runners are challenged to finish an 8K (or 4K) race by the time Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is finished. Beat Beethoven Kingston usually has a live symphony that plays during the race – and some runners have even spotted Beethoven’s ghost. Ottawa’s fall race is a 4K, 8K and 21K that supports Harvest House. • $40 for 8K, $35 for 4K • June 2 in Kingston, October 27 in Ottawa 6 summer 2013

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S RUN This Shakespearean-themed Toronto run draws people from all over Ontario, who are encouraged to run in costume. The 30K run, 15K run/walk and 5K run all raise money for the SickKids Foundation, and organizers say it’s all as “swift as a shadow, short as any dream.” With a 5:30 p.m. start, the charming backdrop is set as runners “flutter their wings and wave their wands.” • $65 until July 31 for the 30K run, 15K run and 15K walk, $50 until July 31 for the 5K run/walk, and $100 for the family 5K • August 17 TREK OR TREAT Bring a flashlight to this ghoulish fall race designed for the whole family. Trek or Treat is a 5K run/walk trail race that takes place on crushed gravel and paths. The race is great for runners of all levels, but if you can finish in under 24 minutes, you should register for the 5K race event. Otherwise, register for the 5K run/walk. The trails are dark, so runners must carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp to participate. • $45 adults, $30 teens • October 18 in Oakville, October 19 in Collingwood

THE NEWLY RELEASED REEBOK ATV19+ RUNNING SHOE IS SAID TO OFFER AGILITY AND TRACTION ON ANY TERRAIN. BUT LET’S BE HONEST: IT ALSO LOOKS FLAT-OUT WEIRD. THIS I HAD TO TRY. Initial Reaction: The 19 gigantic lugs made the shoes appear like they were soled with a bunch of lime-green marshmallows. I couldn’t imagine walking in them, let alone running. It would take a certain amount of chutzpa to be seen wearing them in public (probably not a concern for the guy they were designed for, MMA fighting hall-of-famer Quinton “Rampage” Jackson). Once I slipped them on my feet, however, they felt surprisingly normal. If I walked around with my eyes closed, most of the time I couldn’t tell them apart from more conventionally soled shoes. The Ride: They did okay on the pavement, but they felt even more stable once I got onto soft and irregular surfaces. They were grippy and comfortable on trails, and I was particularly impressed with the traction when the route was muddy or snowy. The Bottom Line: I wouldn’t use this shoe to run road or track, nor would I use it for off-trail bushwhacking. However, despite their outrageous look, they actually feel right at home once you get off the road. They’re not a minimalist trail racing shoe, but would work as a solid trail trainer. If you are a trail runner, or if you do mud-runs/obstacle races, then these might be worth trying on. Reebok ATV19+ | $150 | | Available at select Foot Locker locations



in Centre-du-Québec! © Otesha Project

A 350-km route in 4 days

Every year, groups of inspired volunteers pile all their gear onto bikes and set off on a tour of the Canadian heartland. They stop at communities and schools the way, performing and teaching their message of sustainability. They are representatives of the Otesha Project, the Ottawa-based charity devoted to teaching how small lifestyle changes can minimize our impact on the Earth. Part cycle tour, part social community, Otesha specializes in reaching out directly to Canadians, one kilometre at a time. Sustainability remains central to all aspects of the tours. Groups create their own “Food Mandate,” which includes careful monitoring of their consumables. Some groups have even gone so far as to carry all their waste until the end of the ride (to encourage conservation). Others have monitored their daily water and food intake. That’s not to say that the groups go hungry. “We are eating continuously,” recalls Otesha alumna Kira Burger. In 2008, Burger completed her first tour, a two-month ride from Ottawa through Algonquin Park and the Bruce Peninsula to Sudbury. “On another tour we did everything from visit wineries, to goat farms, to abattoirs, to large-scale industrial mushroom operations, to small-scale organic farms,” she explains, before rhyming off a mouth-watering list of sustainably developed menus. Of course, sustainability is more than just food and travel – it’s also about people and relationships. A natural friendship develops on the road, where challenges serve to only make the team stronger. After all, the most widely regaled cycle tour stories are the ones that happen when things go wrong.

from the St. Lawrence river to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains! “We weren’t extremely lost, but we were confused by our directions,” begins Kira, recounting the sandy, hilly road that was the site of one of her best tour memories. “It was one of those days where we were asking ourselves, ‘Is this a joke?’ Every time we would manage to push the bike trailers up the hill we would have this big celebration, high-five, coast down the hill and then do it all over again. You can take it as a tough experience, or you can make a really great time out of it.” Whatever challenges they encounter, Otesha volunteers arrive nearly every day at a new community with energy left to perform. A decade of performances has reached over 150,000 Canadians, and a network of 500 alumni continue to spread the message. “It’s really hard to quantify all the ripple effects,” says Kira, “but we’ve seen some pretty incredible things come out of this.” For anyone who has ever wanted their adventures to have a larger impact, the Otesha Project promises to be a great ride. This season’s tours will explore aboriginal nations in the Thousand Islands, local food in the GTA, and the epic British Columbia coast. Applications, training, and planning are already under way. And the open road is waiting.


CAN CYCLING $per479.50 person, double occ.


3-days package available.

In cooperation with:

Information / Reservations 1-888-816-4007, ext. 300

INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE OTESHA PROJECT? To learn more about joining a ride, or to make a donation, check out summer 2013 7

4795-Publicite_Adventure_Rev2.indd 1

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New Roofed Accommodations at Ontario Parks

13015 GP_Demsis_Aventura_camp_E.pdf



© Photos: Ontario Tourism


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A recent report released by the Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation

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looked at how Ontario Parks could increase visitation, and introduce or reintroduce users to the park network. As it turns out, a lot more people would be willing to head out into the woods if they could dial up the luxury a bit. Forget sleeping on the cold, hard ground: One of the key findings was that over 30 percent of Ontarians would camp if basic cabins or deluxe tents were available. In an effort to try to capture this segment of new or lapsed users, new roofed accommodations were introduced last year as a pilot project in three specific parks: Pinery Provincial Park on Lake Huron, Arrowhead Provincial Park near Huntsville, and Murphys Point Provincial Park on the historic Rideau Waterway. All three now offer Camp Cabins and permanent Deluxe Tents, available for those first-timers or non-campers who want an alternative to resting their heads on the ground beneath the stars. Each unit comes with a screened porch, barbecue, utensils, mini-fridge, mattresses and even a coffee maker. The Tent has two queen beds, and rents for $91.50 per night, while the Cabin is $113.00 per night for one queen bed and one double with a single bunk. Murphy’s Point offers tours of a restored mica mine, and trails to sawmill ruins and pioneer homesteads. Arrowhead offers hiking and biking on trails that wander through maple forests and past waterfalls, beaver ponds and homesteaders’ farms. Pinery has the largest oak savanna woodlands remaining in North America, filled with rare and unique butterflies, songbirds and reptiles, as well as endless sandy beaches. Reserve online at or by calling 1-88 ONT-PARK

8 summer 2013


Connects the Spots BY KRISTY STRAUSS



@ LifesizeImages


This amazing destination currently has 150 km of separated trails where hikers, runners and cyclists can pick and choose where they would like to travel along. The community has been working on a strategy that will link together these hot spots, including trails, waterways and rural and urban roads, in the next few years. The initiative – the Integrated Community Trail Strategy – started in 2007, the year North Grenville’s town of Kemptville celebrated its 150th anniversary. “[Trails have] become a big selling feature,” says Mark Guy, director of parks, recreation and culture with North Grenville. Located along the area’s vast creeks and forests, there are many spots that will be included in the strategy – and that you can get a head start on exploring. One of the trails is part of the Ferguson Forest Centre, located in the town of Kemptville. Visitors can learn about tree species as they travel from the forest centre through downtown Kemptville to the town’s University of Guelph campus – which includes a trip through a scenic maple orchard on the way to the Agroforestry Centre. The centre comprises 136 hectares of maple sugar bush, red and white pine stands, wetlands and a sand dune. While travelling west from Kemptville, visitors can also trek along the Rideau Canal on River Road. This road leads to the historic town of Burritts Rapids. The trail is called the Tip to Tip Trail, and takes about an hour to finish. It has four kilometres of markers that explain how the trail’s features are related to the Rideau Canal construction. For example, hikers will discover a canal channel that was created during the construction. Just south of Burritts Rapids, near Bishop’s Mills, you’ll find trails running throughout Limerick Forest. In the 5,782-hectare forest, you’ll see red, jack and white pines, white spruce and wetlands. Mark Guy feels North Grenville sees the value in integrating these trail systems, and that the community and visitors can benefit. “Really, we’re trying to make North Grenville walkable,” he says. “We think trails are the most popular, and an important part of, recreation infrastructure.”

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Plunge yourself into a whole new world – only 30 minutes outside of Ottawa – as you explore mysteries deep within the greenish-blue waters of Morrison’s Quarry. At this spot in Wakefield, Quebec, quarry divers can expect a unique underwater experience. Throughout the journey down, you’ll be greeted by a number of interesting sights – like cars, a tugboat and an airplane – that have been submerged in the water over the years. Divers must keep in mind there is no safety supervision at this private site, but you’ll need to register, so make sure to have your PADI diver ID number and FQAS Quebec Diving Permit handy. Visibility is about eight metres in the summer, when the water temperature is most pleasant. But no matter


how hot it gets outside, the temperature at the bottom (maximum depth is about 42 metres) always stays between four and five degrees Celsius. If you are just looking to relax after you’ve made it back to the surface, bring a picnic and enjoy the sandy beach and campsite. If you’d rather continue to live life on the edge, the on-site Great Canadian Bungee offers jumps from 60 metres, as well as a 310-metre zipline named RIPRIDE, where visitors are attached to a cable and fly 60 metres above the water. Activity: Scuba diving Level: Advanced; you must have your FQAS Quebec Diving Permit


Season: Summer, spring and fall Getting there: From Autoroute 50, take exit 135 to merge onto Autoroute 5 N toward Maniwaki. Turn left onto Route 105 N to Morrison’s Quarry. You’ll know you’re close when you see the white rock and the Great Canadian Bungee jump tower. Cost: $10, which is paid to Mrs. Morrison or one of her sons when you arrive. Parking is included in the cost. Other activities: Great Canadian Bungee and RIPRIDE zipline For more:,


If you are not familiar with the concept of waterboarding – also known as hydrospeed in Europe, whitewater sledging in New Zealand or riverboarding in North America – you should know that once you are at water level, big waves look even bigger. This is not an activity for the faint of heart. This coming summer, to celebrate their 20th anniversary, Rafting Montreal is introducing the activity to Montreal’s seven-km section of the Lachine Rapids. How does it work? The luge, or board, is your main flotation device, and has two handles to grab onto. You’ll also be outfitted with a wet suit, fins, gloves and a helmet (forget the mask and snorkel, you don’t have time to look for fishies). The goal is to “connect” your body with your life buoy – if you are doing it right, you’ll feel like you are riding the river following your own giant plastic nose. After a safety briefing, Class II and IV rapids will be awaiting you. Get ready to plunge head first into the St. Lawrence, following your guide and five other mates. The water’s playful currents will be taking you on a dynamic ride, and if you are not water-savvy when you get in, you will be by the end of the drift. And don’t worry if you panic at the sight of Outétoucos, Louis Leap or Big John – whitewater rafts will be nearby to give you a rest, or a rescue.



Activity: Waterboarding Level: Intermediate to advanced; strong swimming skills required Season: June 15 to August 31 Getting there: By car, take Highway 20 West, followed by Exit 63: Mercier Bridge, and finally take Exit 2: Clément, turning left at the next intersection and following the signs for Rafting sur le Saint-Laurent. Parking is free. You can also get there from Angrignon metro station with the 110 bus, and La Route Verte and Montreal Cycling Network allow you to access the site by bike if you wish. Cost: $69 Other activities: Whitewater rafting, jet boating For more:


If you’re looking for a weekend stroll with several distance options just outside of the city, check out the hidden gem that is Seaton Trail, only a half-hour from Toronto. Built in the 1970s, Seaton Trail travels historical aboriginal fishing and hunting routes along the West Duffins Creek just outside of Pickering. The trail spans nearly 13 km from end to end, but you can easily customize both the length and the difficulty of your adventure. There are multiple entry points, as well as the choice to start high or low (the trail loses considerable elevation in the north to south direction). Although it traverses the waterway, flat sections at Seaton are few and far between, so be prepared for some challenging climbs along the way on technical trail sections and stairs. The calf-burning is worth it, though, as you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the 10 summer 2013

river from flat open plains up top, beautiful sections of cedar-laced singletrack that wind their way up and down along either side of the water, and a short section through the 19th-century hamlet of Whitevale. The main trail is well marked with white metal blazes on trees. Older red and yellow trail markings indicate current or former side trails for those looking to add a bit more adventure to their day. If aiming to complete the full trail (nearly 26 km), allow for five to eight hours, depending on your pace and how many stops you plan on making. Activity: Hiking Level: Beginner to advanced Season: Accessible year-round, although recommended in summer or fall


Getting there: There are several trail access points and parking options, but if you want to hike the full trail, you can start at the north end (south side of Hwy. 7 at Green River, about eight km east of Markham) or the south end (take 401east to Brock Road North and turn west on the 3rd Concession). Look for the Seaton Hiking Trail signs at either location. Parking is also available in Whitevale Park. Cost: Free Gear: Water and food, hiking shoes, rain gear, bug spray, sunscreen Other activities: Photography, trail running For more: Information about the trail and its history, along with maps, can be found at

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I WOULD COMFORTABLY BET MY LIFE THAT NO MEMBER OF THE RAMONES EVER TOOK PART IN AN ULTRAMARATHON, BUT THEIR LYRICS COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE APPROPRIATE. APPROACHING HOUR EIGHT OF MY FIRST-EVER 24-HOUR RUN, WITH JOEY RAMONE AND COMPANY PUMPING OUT OF A BORROWED MP3 PLAYER, I WAS ABOUT READY FOR SOME SEDATION MYSELF. My longest-ever run up to this point in my life had been just over seven hours at the Jay Mountain Marathon last year. I was about to surpass that record and enter uncharted territory, and I wasn’t even a third of the way done. What the hell was I thinking when I signed myself up for this?

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Om tem

Let me be perfectly clear: I am not a runner. Never have been, never will be. The only reason I started running at all was to try to improve my adventure racing, and now I’m stuck in a vicious cycle of having to actually train in order to keep up with my teammates. So what form of lunacy would compel me to drive 10 hours down to Prince William Forest Park in Virginia to attempt to run for 24 hours, non-stop? The best answer I can offer is that I honestly didn’t know if I could do it. The task was simple yet daunting: Follow the marked eight-mile (12.9-kilometre) loop of single-track trail for as long as your mind and body held out, or 24 hours, whichever came first. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, for longer than I’d ever gone before. I was going way out of my 12 summer 2013

comfort zone – and in a masochistic sense, that was the appeal. Four of us drove down to Virginia for the event: Charlotte and I would be running, and Jamie and Lori came to help with driving and pacing. At only 29 years old, Charlotte Vasarhelyi was already a very accomplished ultra veteran, and I had tried to soak up every bit of advice and wisdom that she passed my way in the days leading up to the race. At the word “Go!” I ruthlessly squashed my testosteronelaced urges to race and pass other runners. I set a slow pace and walked anything that resembled an uphill, as per Char’s instructions. It surprised me how much discipline this took, especially since I was feeling good early on. I made sure I was drinking and eating regularly and that I was nipping any potential chafing and blister problems

the second I noticed them. I had also come up with a doping regime that would allow me to take in the maximum non-lethal dose of acetaminophen over the course of the next 24 hours. The forest was beautiful and green, and much of the trail ran alongside the south branch of Quantico Creek. The terrain was rolling hills, with some steep but short climbs and descents. Most of the trail was run-able, but there were some muddy and rocky technical sections to keep us on our toes (or catapult us onto our faces once darkness fell). There was a welcome aid station at mile four of each loop with water, Gatorade and some light snacks. The start/finish zone had food, drinks, washrooms, showers, the friendly faces of support crews and a large cabin with a roaring fire.

Alas, I wasn’t able to enjoy any of the aforementioned luxuries, as I had been told that the key to solo ultra-running is to just keep on moving. Between the slow pace, drugs, beautiful scenery, chatting with fellow racers and my collection of killer tunes, for the first five laps, moving felt surprisingly good. I spent only a few minutes restocking at the start/finish before heading out again. And then over the next 19 hours I developed a deep hatred for Char and her “no stopping” rule, a hatred that grew every time I turned away from the Cabin of Temptation and set out on yet another lap. After that fifth lap, pain and stiffness broke through my Zen-like focus and began seriously clamouring for my attention. It was time to deploy my secret weapon.

At the end of each loop there was an accessible rocky beach alongside the creek. I had scoped this out the night before, and now took full advantage of it. Starting on loop five and every loop thereafter, I would stop for a few minutes (Charlotte be damned), strip down to my undies, sit down in the creek and soak my legs in the icy-cold water. I’m convinced that this ice bath kept my legs functional long after they should have turned into useless but painful lumps of meat. That didn’t happen until my last lap. I had to pay closer attention to my footing after the sun went down, but otherwise it wasn’t much more difficult than running in daylight. The one thing I never got used to was the moving shadows caused by my bouncing headlamp. They always looked like

something big and dark tracking me through the woods, and would invariably startle me when I saw them out of the corner of my eye. In a way, that was a good thing: The regular jolts of adrenaline helped keep me awake and alert. As dawn approached, it struck me as literally being the light at the end of the tunnel. I had completed nine loops, getting progressively slower as the night wore on. The 10th loop was my Waterloo. I had been slow and very sore on loop nine, but could still muster a jog every now and then, and doing a brisk trek was still not too big a challenge. After this point, however, my body had had enough and packed it in completely. Every single step hurt. A lot. The final eight miles (12.9 km) took me over three and a half hours, and

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I was going as fast as I could. That’s a blistering 2.3 mph (3.7 km/h). I finished up with 80 miles (129 kilometres) under my belt in just over 23 hours of running. I call it “running,” although my gait toward the end was barely human. “Vaguely bipedal” is probably the kindest way to describe it. The euphoric joy and relief of being finished was soon tempered by the pain I was feeling from the waist down. Every single part of me – muscles, tendons, bones, skin, nerves, hair and blood vessels – felt like it was having a really bad migraine. It took me four days of non-stop ice baths, followed by some vicious and sadistic massage, before I was able to gloss over how badly it had hurt and start jogging again. Looking back, I am astonished by how far within


our comfort zones most of us exist. We have no idea of our limits, spending the vast majority of our lives safely below maximum. About five years before this adventure, I couldn’t run more than 20 minutes without hurting, and 10 kilometres was a lofty goal. Then that barrier sneaked up to 50 kilometres. I say “sneaked” because I had never once set a goal for my running. I never had the mindset of training for a specific distance. I progressed by occasionally going out on runs that were beyond my current limit, and my body and mind responded to the challenge. Twenty-four hours of running was at one time way beyond the scope of my experience and firmly in the realm of the impossible. It remained there, right up until I tried it.

Must-have Gear • Shoes that fit comfortably. They should not be brand new. If you can, bring a second, slightly larger pair of shoes, as your feet may swell. • A small pack or fuel belt to get you from one aid station to the next. They might be close together, but if you’re going less than three km/h, it could take a couple of hours. • Weather-appropriate clothing. Remember that if the race climbs up high, it gets colder with elevation. summer 2013 13






FAR BEYOND THE TREELINE, AMID ARCTIC ISLANDS THAT FEW CANADIANS COULD NAME, THE TEMPERATURE IS SO COLD THAT THE SEA FREEZES. IT’S AN UNFORGIVING AND INHOSPITABLE ENVIRONMENT, NEARLY DEVOID OF HUMAN LIFE. The summers are marred by thick cloud cover and an average high temperature of 10 degrees. The water is always freezing. The ice thins but never clears, and when the channels do open up they become a treacherous maze of frozen obstacles. And always present is the wind, pounding unimpeded across the tundra. Nations have been toiling here at the ends of the Earth for nearly 50 years, searching for the prized Northwest Passage that links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Even today, this is a final frontier in exploration, serving as the inspiration for the Mainstream Last First Expedition. This summer, a team of four men will attempt to row from Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, to Pond Inlet, Nunavut. If they succeed, they will become the first crew to navigate the Northwest Passage under human power alone, completing what they see as one of the last great expeditions on the planet. 14 summer 2013

It’s mid-April, and Kevin Vallely and the rest of the crew have assembled in his North Vancouver home. Despite cool and rainy weather for the past few weeks in Vancouver, Kevin and his team are managing to run almost every other day. Right now they are discussing filming equipment, one of many details to iron out before the July 1 departure date. In terms of Canadian adventurers, Vallely is surely one of the most capable. He’s skied the Iditarod Trail and biked 2,000 kilometres across Alaska in the middle of winter. In 2009, he set a world record for the fastest unsupported trek to the South Pole. An architect by trade, Vallely works as a home designer and public speaker. “It’s an idea that really happened 15 years ago,” Vallely recalls, “when a close friend and adventurer, Jerome Truran, mused on the idea that traversing the Northwest Passage under human power in a single season had never been done before.” At the time, the

waterway was choked with ice all year long and thus impassable. Since then, climate change has been rapidly transforming the nature of Arctic summers. In August 2007, for the first recorded time in history, the entire length of the Passage became navigable without the need of an icebreaker. For the past two years, Vallely and his team have been busy planning their expedition. Vallely is joined by Irish-born Paul Gleeson, a longdistance cyclist who rowed across the Atlantic in 2006, and by newcomer Denis Barnett. Rounding out their team is Frank Wolf, the award-winning Canadian filmmaker who most recently completed a 2,400-kilometre humanpowered journey along the proposed route of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. Together, the four men will row in two-person shifts, and where possible under the Midnight Sun, for 24 hours per day. Their hope is to complete the journey during the small window of time when the Passage is ice-free. Vallely estimates that the trip will take roughly 70 days, but he knows any timeline right now is an estimate at best. Their constant worry will be wind and ice, two powerful forces on the open water that could severely damage or impede their small boat. That same ice and wind have claimed the lives of many European explorers ever since the search for the Northwest Passage began in the late 15th century. Perhaps the most famous attempt is that of Sir John Franklin, who was tasked with exploring the last uncharted 500 kilometres of Northern Canadian coastline in 1845. Franklin commanded over 100 crew and two top-of-theline ships, outfitted with a thousand books and a three-year supply of food. None of it was enough to ensure the men’s survival. Remains of the expedition have been found near the middle of the Passage, including ominous evidence that the crew succumbed to lead poisoning, starvation and possibly cannibalism while waiting three years for the ice to melt. Parks Canada has declared the ships National Historic Sites, yet even after an extensive 2012 search expedition, they have never been found. The boat used by Vallely’s team will be significantly smaller. Custom-built and 27 feet long, the craft resembles a floating cork and is designed to withstand capsizing. It has a small sleeping compartment that can fit all four crew members, along with two outdoor rowing platforms. There isn’t much room on the fibreglass and Kevlar-lined boat for luxuries. “It’s kind of a round-the-clock deal,” Vallely points out about the expedition. “There really isn’t a lot of lounging time; you’re kind of going, and if you’re not going you’re resting.” There will, however, be significantly more advanced survival equipment on this boat than those of the ill-fated Franklin mission, including solar panels to power communication with the outside world and a desalinator to make the ocean water drinkable. The boat alone has a price tag of over $100,000. Just as the Northwest Passage is tied to our nation’s discovery and early exploration, so too is Canada’s future joined to the fate of the waterway. By controlling a route that saves supertankers the long detour around South America, Canada is poised to inherit a very powerful and lucrative position in world trade. That is, of course, if we are able to convince the world of our sovereignty over the land. It will be

a hard claim to assert: Fewer than 15,000 people live in the Arctic Archipelago, an area the size of Quebec.

History of the Northwest Passage

1535: Jacques Cartier names the rapids on the St. Lawrence River near Montreal “Lachine,” believing them to be the last obstacle in a passage through the continent to China. 1611: After a winter iced in on James Bay, Henry Hudson’s crew mutinies. 1728: Vitus Bering sails the west coast of Alaska and concludes that North America and Russia are separate land masses. 1776: Celebrated explorer Captain James Cook is promised £20,000 for finding the Northwest Passage. He is unsuccessful. 1847: Sir John Franklin’s infamous Arctic expedition becomes trapped in ice. No survivors. 1906: Roald Amundsen becomes the first European to navigate the Northwest Passage, though the ordeal takes three years. 1969: The supertanker SS Manhattan, with the assistance of icebreakers, navigates the Northwest Passage. The U.S. Government decides it is cheaper to build the Alaskan Pipeline than to ship oil by tanker. 2007: Sébastien Roubinet sails an ice catamaran from Alaska to Greenland, completing the first Northwest Passage voyage without an engine in a single season.

Patrolling the immense waterway is a very expensive undertaking. On more than one occasion, United States vessels have travelled in Canadian-claimed territory without asking permission, infuriating Ottawa. The Canadian government’s announcement of a deep-water port on Baffin Island and an army base at Resolute Bay confirm that it has no intention of stepping away from the issue. The theme in the North right now, after centuries of frozen stalemate, is change: change in climate, change in transportation, and change in politics. “The only reason we can even attempt this is because things are changing so much,” explains Vallely. The Northwest Passage has been completely free of ice for a brief period of each of the last six summers. In 2009, nine ships completed the transit; in 2011 that number rose to 22. Last year, a 40,000-ton cruise ship made the passage, a voyage that would have been unthinkable 15 years ago. For the Northwest Passage, the future looks warm. But for the moment, the crew is busy preparing for the expedition. The boat will be ready to test next week, giving the group a chance to get a feel for its “blister” points. They plan to row the craft from its build site on Vancouver Island to the mainland by the end of the month. In the weeks leading up to the trip to Tuktoyaktuk, Vallely and the group will increase their running and rowing training, but only to a certain point. Vallely, speaking with 20 years of adventuring experience, stresses the risk of overtraining and burning out halfway through an expedition: “It really comes down to mentality and a willingness to be out

there. To my mind, if you get your body ready for a few months before you go, then you just bloody well go and do it.” That determination stands in the face of the uncertainty inherent in any “first” expedition. Like Victorian-era Arctic explorers, Vallely and his crew are forging into new territory. If they succeed, they will write the latest entry in a centuries-old chronicle of the Arctic. The world has shrunk significantly since the days of wooden ships setting sail on grand voyages of discovery. With modern transport and GPS, there are very few places on the planet that are untouched and unmapped. Yet discovery remains in our nature. It continues today based not on where we go, but how we go. To explore, after all, is to move through a terrain, searching for knowledge. Vallely and his team will be out there searching this summer, as they try, in the words of Stan Rogers, “tracing one warm line through a land so wild and savage, and make a Northwest Passage to the sea.” Follow the team at

About the Boat

• Designed by Robin Thacker on Vancouver Island • A modified ocean-rowing craft • Built to withstand a capsize • 27 feet across, eight-foot beam • Cabin can accommodate all four crew • Features a desalinator and solar panels • Price tag of over $100,000

WEEKEND GATEWAY + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +


© Ontario Tourism


THE LAST WORDS I HEARD before my adrenaline-

inducing canoe moment were: “I can hear a falls up ahead.” Rule number one: Never tell a girl from Niagara Falls there’s a falls ahead because, let me tell you, that’s all she will envision. A massive, steady stream of fast-flowing, icy-cold water ready to sweep her over the brink. And along the Bruce Peninsula, where the rocky caverns and deep gullies stud and scar the ancient Niagara Escarpment, these natural falling waters are pretty common sights. They might not all be the size of the Horseshoe Falls, but Hamilton boasts over 120 of them, and Balls Falls in Niagara is still impressively big. This particular weekend getaway had taken me and my partner to Cape Croker Park in the northern peripheries of the Bruce, and it suddenly dawned on me as we were hitting the waves that maybe this spot had some epic waterfalls, too. After all, Cape Croker lies along the Niagara Escarpment, which runs from the Niagara Peninsula in the south to Manitoulin Island in the north. Now paddling hard in the middle of the bay, I could see the blue waters turning into a deep indigo hue, and the thundering echoes seemed to be growing louder as we plied our way across the water. That was mistake number two. We broke the cardinal rule: Follow the shoreline. Midway through our canoe adventure, we had decided to change our 16 summer 2013

course. The shoreline, with its soft-shouldered banks and gnarly vegetation scooping over the limestone bluffs, started to feel too familiar. Plus, we figured we could make it to the other side of the bay quicker if we gave up paddling by the water’s edge. So we took the bull by the horns and entered the deep-water zone. And here’s where the bull took us: thundering blasts intensifying by the nanosecond, and a wave of panic setting in. I sealed my eyes shut, and kept on paddling. “Hey, open your eyes!” Stephen yells. “It’s so loud I can’t.” “Just open them. See what’s ahead.” I pried my eyes slowly open, heart racing faster than a rabbit being chased by a bloodhound. I could see the water’s edge, lit up by the blazing earlyafternoon-in-summer sun. Where the tide was meeting up with a black-shale shoreline, smooth stones were being carried in by the water. My mighty falls were nothing more than pebbles drifting onto the lakefront – water kissing a hard rock surface. That was my intro to Cape Croker’s mysterious allure. I learned how the horizon can play tricks on you. It was my first dose of the magic of this remote area – a place with roots in prehistoric times – and I have never forgotten the misguided ordeal.

THE MAGIC CONTINUES For centuries this chunk of land overlooking Sydney Bay was used as a portage route by native hunters and fishermen. It was then developed into a First Nations settlement, with the Nawash Band from Owen Sound arriving at Cape Croker in the 1850s. The elders used to see the waters around Cape Croker as a place of healing. In 1992, the Indian reserve changed its name to Neyaashiinigmiing, meaning “a point of land surrounded by three sides of water.” The 520-acre park is still called Cape Croker, however, and this quiet oasis run by the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation might just be the Bruce Peninsula’s best-kept secret. I immediately took a liking to the park’s slower pace – there’s no rigorous daily schedule here – and there was always ample staff ready to help with tips if needed. The smaller Sydney Bay, which spills into the larger Georgian Bay, makes for an ideal starting point to experience the local area’s bounty. You have a choice of four camp areas at Cape Croker Park: the beach, the hydro area, maples, and the pavilion. We opted for a spot in the pavilion, considered the more rustic area of the park. It’s situated in a canopied mixed grove of white cedar, hemlock, ash and maple – the cathedral-like forest was an instant source of healing from the din of urban life. ON SOLID GROUND The Snake Trail Boardwalk starts by the canoe rental shop, and meanders for two kilometres through preserved wetlands, passing by a beaver dam. It was a nice walk (and a great opportunity to spot Canada’s mascot), but we were looking for something a bit more strenuous. Fortunately, the Bruce Trail cuts straight through the park. The white-blazed Ladder Trail had plenty of boulders that needed to be negotiated – enough scrambling to please any advanced trekker. After about 10 minutes of rigorous hiking, a bolted staircase appeared. The sweat equity needed to make it to the top, and stand on the limestone spine, was definitely worth it. The lookout atop Sydney Bay Bluff offers unparalleled views of the bay and the park. Many hikers swear this perch has the most scenic vistas of the entire Bruce Trail. I have to agree. Nowhere else can you see the strip of blue from Georgian Bay mesh magnificently with the vast open sky, and on the outer edge of this landscape portrait there’s a carpet of green treetops. The best part: There was not a soul around to disturb our savouring of the moment. I think the Group of Seven painters would have approved. WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO? If you can make it to Cape Croker Park in mid-August, there’s an annual powwow weekend showcasing First

Nation traditions. This summer, it’s happening August 17–18. The event attracts big crowds, and anyone is welcome to join in on the gathering and watch the grand spectacle. Bands lead lively dances with the beat of their drums, paying homage to grass dances from the early 1800s. Audience participation is encouraged, too. With serenity in mind, we decided to skip the powwow, and visit when the crowds were smaller. That weekend the city stresses were forgotten and replaced by pure bliss. How could it not be? There’s nothing quite like the sheer joy of summer, fuelled by hikes, canoe trips and brisk dips into a fresh lake. A traditional Canadian camping trip, immersed in the land of the First Nations, is simply magic for the soul.




PLAN YOUR GETAWAY Interested in enjoying the remote serenity that Cape Croker Park has to offer? Here’s what you need to know in order to plan your own weekend getaway to one of the Bruce Peninsula’s hidden gems: RESERVATIONS: While they are not required, they are recommended, and are a definite must on busy holiday weekends. The best way to reserve is by phone: 519-534-0571. RATES: There are 315 campsites available. Rates for basic sites are $28 a night, premium sites with hydro go up to $37.50 a night (depending on how many amps you require). Cabins are available for $65 a night. There are additional fees if you bring more than one vehicle. AMENITIES: Canoe and kayak rentals are available ($10 hourly, or full day for $30). There are full bathrooms in the park – but the timed showers accept loonies only. For incidentals and any camping necessities that you may have forgotten, check out Waukey’s Variety in the park. SEASON: Now through Thanksgiving GETTING THERE: Situated on the Bruce Peninsula, the park is just over three hours from Toronto, located near Wiarton, Ontario. Take Highway 10 N toward Owen Sound then Highway 6 N past Wiarton. Turn right onto Bruce 9 Rd. until you reach Purple Valley Rd. and turn right. Follow the signs to Cape Croker Park.


PARC NATIONAL D’AIGUEBELLE! • A wide range of activities (hiking, canoeing, kayaking, etc.)

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK! • Hiking trails • Cycling trails • Kayak and canoe routes

• Quality services (reception & information service, nautical circuits, Nature boutiques) • Many types of accommodation (camping, Huttopia, rustic camp or chalet)

• Camping sites • 22 000 lakes and rivers • An exceptional and preserved nature


© Marion Hink





Provincially operated parks are the gateway to exploring the vast wilderness that surrounds us, drawing thousands of visitors annually from near and far away. While many visit to enjoy camping in the great outdoors or take part in the numerous recreational adventures that abound, there’s a whole other reason to head out this summer: to discover Canada’s history. Here’s an overview of two parks that will take you back in time.


PARC NATIONAL DU LAC-TÉMISCOUATA officially opens this summer in Bas-Saint-Laurent, and will be Quebec’s second-largest park south of the St. Lawrence. It’s a fully protected area that encompasses some 30 native American archaeological sites associated with chert quarries and lithic formations dating back over 8,000 years, being among the oldest in Quebec. To make this discovery accessible, Sépaq has implemented infrastructures that will offer the public a unique experience infused with the spirit of the area. A symbolic arrangement of sculptures at the entrance of the Discovery Centre represents six main periods or characters: A Paleoindian woman with a fire (representing the first human on the territory), a Maliseet riding his canoe, a lumberjack, Joseph Viel (founder of the village), and noted writer Grey Owl. The last shape is a visitor who extends this great timeline, both becoming part of history and respecting nature. It’s impossible not to feel immersed in the past: Archaeological sites can be found around Touladi Lake and Touladi River, referred to as “river of memories,” and the outlet of Touladi Lake is where the “garden of memories” is located, a mix of vegetal and historical evocations. Various organized events will take place this season, including a research program in archaeology where participants can learn the skills of excavation. There will also be interpretive tours at both “gardens” and activities around the evolution of the landscape and vegetation linked to the human presence. According to Jean-Yves Pintal, an archaeologist who works on the park territory, “Certain sites delivered a quantity and a diversity of remarkable objects. Rare are the sectors in Témiscouata where you can get such a glimpse of the evolution of the modes of human occupation in this territory.” Notable author, lecturer and one of the most effective apostles of the wilderness, Grey Owl spent nearly three years in the area researching and writing. He was 18 summer 2013

considered a conservationist who through his experiences with the Ojibwe Indians learned aboriginal harvesting techniques, trapping and culture. Also of historical importance, Maliseet were among the first settlers in the area, and lumberjacks passed through here, working at now abandoned forestry mills. The Maliseet Journey on a Rabaska allows participants to experience the life of a Maliseet family and their relationship with nature. Make a fire with stone, learn the traditional uses of a bow or spear, discover plants used for food and medicine, and make a natural shelter. In terms of outdoor activities, there are several cycling paths that can be done, ranging from the 25-km ride around Lake Pohénagamook to the longer 135-km route around Lac Témiscouata, with a variety of accommodations available along the route. There’s also nearly 150 km of National Hiking Trails, and several municipal trails such as the Bootlegger, a 4.5-km journey along the same path that smugglers trekked across in years past. Four trails run entirely or partially through the park: CascadesSutherland (9.6 km), Mountain-of-Furnace (9.6 km), River-Touladi (5.8 km in the park) and Large-Bay (14.3 km). As for water activities, there are over 150 km of waterways among the more than 900 lakes and rivers that pass through biodiverse regions. With nearly 40 km of open still water, Lac Témiscouata is also a paradise for non-motorized watercraft enthusiasts of all levels. STAY: Anse-à-William Campground has 76 campsites, three-quarters of which have water and electricity, and 19 that are semi-serviced with a water access point, washroom facilities and showers nearby. They are set in a wooded area near the hiking trails, Lac Témiscouata and the Discovery Centre. There are also ready-to-camp Huttopia accommodations that provide most everything necessary for a more comfortable camping experience, and 10 country cottages located on the northeastern bank of Lac Témiscouata in a small bay. There’s also backcountry camping at Lacs Touladi Campground. From Petit Lac Touladi, it’s an eight-km canoe paddle to the shores of Grand Lac Touladi, where there are wooden platforms for freestanding tents. The Tranquility Canoe-Camping Package includes campsite, canoe rental and safety accessories, as well as firewood. Bikes and kayaks are also available for rent on site. The park is open year-round, and is about an hour’s drive from Edmunston and Rimouski, about three hours from Quebec City. F or more info to plan your own trip this summer: Ontario,,, Quebec,,

© Pierre-Emmanuel Chaillon/Sepaq



The Mattawa River in SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN PROVINCIAL PARK is a Canadian Heritage River that played a key role in the fur trade and the creation of Canada. The park is named after Samuel de Champlain, who paddled the Mattawa and chronicled his experiences. The newly refurbished Mattawa River Visitor Centre tells the stories of many river travellers, including other well-known explorers, missionaries, fur traders and voyageurs. “The Mattawa River is a key piece of Canada’s history, and was the second river in the country to be designated as part of the Canadian Heritage Rivers System. It was an ancient travel and trade route for aboriginal people, a vital economic and communications link for fur traders and the early colony of Canada, and an important natural corridor for plants and animals,” says Ontario Parks spokesperson Dave Sproule.


DO: Visitors can test their paddle power on replica north canoe tours guided by park staff throughout the summer. One-hour guided canoe tours are offered in the park’s campground area, or choose a half-day guided canoe trip to Talon Gorge. Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park also celebrates National Paddling Week in June with a variety of water-based activities and events, including the Reel Paddling Film Festival. And in July, the annual Mattawa River Canoe Race passes through, offering varying distances for different levels of paddler experience. Besides excellent paddling, Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park has three distinct trail systems for hikers, ranging from one to nine km in distance, and rated from moderate to strenuous. There’s also the Canadian Ecology Centre (CEC), a non-profit environmental science education and research facility, located within the park itself. Throughout the year the CEC offers many day and overnight programs related to environmental education, use of technology in the forest, and traditional outdoor skills and activities. Intensive full-day GPS/GIS training courses are also provided for individuals or groups working with spatial data. STAY: There are two separate campgrounds located within the park, with 215 campsites set in shady poplar and red and white pine woods. For those seeking something a bit more comfortable, the CEC has 32 cabins available for rent throughout the year that come equipped with bedding, washroom and shower, and access to the shared-use dining cabin. This cabin comes equipped with a guest fridge, stove, microwave, coffee maker, dishes and cooking supplies, as well as couches and satellite television. The Park is easy to get to from southern Ontario, located between North Bath and Ottawa in the Upper Ottawa Valley, one of the province’s most picturesque road-tripping destinations.





(semi-serviced site) Park entry fee and taxes not included.

7,400 camping sites

1,200 km of hiking trails

700 km


of cycling paths

lakes for fishing and watersports

(including 5,600 accessible for RVs)

Plan and book your stay now at

1 800 665-6527 .

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Run BaRefoot in 27 C wateR along 42 kM of white sandy BeaChes

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photo : Charles-david Robitaille

photo : Charles-david Robitaille

paRC national de la pointe-taillon

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photo : John sylvester

photo : Charles-david Robitaille

paRC national du fJoRd-du-saguenay

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© Photos: Matt Colautti



The whitecaps, mere specks when viewed from the sinuous road along the hillside, are the size of refrigerators up close. I feel the fear rising in my stomach. In any other sport I would stop for a second. I would assess the obstacles and collect my thoughts. But strapped into a whitewater kayak on a swift descent of the Bhote Koshi River, stopping is a luxury. Down here, the river moves whether your sense of balance can keep up or not. I cut through a standing wave and fight to maintain a straight course through the churning water. BY MATT COLAUTTI

“NICE WORK!” yells my ever-present guide, Manish, as I emerge onto a slow section of river. He gestures for me to join him in a sheltered eddy, then points across the water. Near the opposite shore, next to a small collection of houses, a man and two boys are setting up fishing lures. They wave at us curiously. Manish dips his paddle into the water and heads in their direction: “Time for a break.” Minutes later we are back on land, warming ourselves in the late-morning sun which has just crept over the valley walls. One of the boys runs up to us with steaming cups of chai, the ubiquitous beverage of the subcontinent. The boy examines my bright-yellow helmet. I show off my basic Nepali reading skills. In a quiet corner of rural Nepal, we are playing out the grand tableau of East meets West. When I signed up for a whitewater kayaking course in Nepal, I expected a week of water, waves, and sore arms. What I didn’t expect was the enduring friendliness of the Nepali people, and a glimpse of their lives alongside the rushing river. The first lesson at any kayak school is the selfrescue. In the crystal-clear waters of our swimming pool back at camp, Manish demonstrates the 22 summer 2013

procedure: a gentle roll of the boat upside-down, a slow, panic-free removal of the spray skirt, followed by a calm swim to the surface. It seems like an easy start. I begin my attempt in the centre of the pool. As my head hits the water I realize quite suddenly that I am going to be locked upside-down in the water. It’s too late to react. Water rushes into my nose and my head feels like it is being hit with a hammer. In a dizzying scramble I somehow pull off the spray skirt and escape to the surface, gasping for air.


“Good,” says Manish. I try to dislodge from my head what feels like litres of water. As Manish goes to assist Scott, the other student, I realize that this week might be more difficult than expected. My fake Merrell sandals, purchased for six dollars on the streets of Kathmandu days earlier, float to the surface at the opposite end of the pool. The glue and Velcro had come loose as soon as they hit the water. Nepal, a long-time centre for high-altitude trekking, is quickly cementing its reputation as an outdoor adventure hub in Asia. Mountain bikes ply the dirt

+ Rivers are highest and most demanding during spring runoff (May to June) and post-monsoon (September to mid-October). Avoid rafting during the monsoon (June to August) and in winter (December to February). + Most tours can be booked with minimal lead time in Kathmandu’s tourist district, Thamel. Try to book a course directly with the operator, instead of through one of the neighbourhood’s many commission-based travel agents. + Companies are changing all the time, but generally the Nepali-Western rafting school partnerships offer the best experience. + Before signing up, ask questions about transportation, food, level of English, and safety. + You’ll need good shoes that stay on your feet in the water, along with comfortable, light clothing. + A waterproof camera is a good idea, but guides are skilled enough to keep your electronics from getting wet if you do want some photos.

roads. Paragliders dot the clear skies above Pokhara. Glossy photos in the tourist district of Kathmandu show towering bungee jumps. And then there are the rivers. Passing from the high Himalayas to the Terai lowlands, the waterways in Nepal are bestowed with some of the most epic whitewater conditions in the world. Kayaking and rafting courses boast delicious food, comfortable accommodations, and knowledgeable staff, all at prices a fraction of what one would pay in Canada. Manish, like a father teaching his children to walk, leads me and Scott through our first day and a half in the pool. We brace, roll, paddle and practise the endless abdominal exercises that constitute whitewater training. Our goal is the Eskimo Roll, the efficient technique to right a flipped kayak without going for a swim. Manish stands in the water in between us, guiding our paddles and providing leverage for us to roll to the surface. I make dozens of attempts, each time being caught by Manish seconds before rolling back underwater. “More hip!” he shouts. It is late afternoon when I right myself, and look to see Manish at the other side of the pool. “Did you help me just now?” I ask. He shakes his head. I’m ready for the real thing. Dinner – a comforting warm soup, pasta and meat-sauce buffet – is served an hour later. Afterwards, Scott and I play pool with the other guests. Soon we are all losing to teams of expert Nepali guides. Manish, in excellent English, explains how he started working here as a bartender, but spent a lot of time practising and training in the pool. He hopes to one day accomplish the first descent of a Nepali river, which would slingshot him into the

world of international guiding. It’s a lofty goal, but out here under the stars at Sukute Beach, where you’re measured by what you can do on the water, anything seems possible. We depart from the beach on our first river attempt, a simple six-kilometre section that would hardly count as whitewater. Nonetheless, Scott and I teeter uncomfortably in the swifts. It’s a humbling experience, like learning to ride a bike for the first time. We come to a bend in the river, a memorable sight framed against the steep, green valley. I am struck for a moment by my own insignificance. At the same time, I struggle to keep my kayak steady. There is a yelp from beside me, and I turn to see Scott swimming and a guide chasing his kayak. A few seconds later I meet a similar fate. By the time we pull out of the river, we have flipped a half-dozen times. Scott has lost his glasses and a sandal, prompting us to christen one of the tiny rapids “Scott’s Glasses.” It still feels like an accomplishment. Back at camp, I can’t resist the temptation of a lounging hammock in the afternoon sun. I lie down for a minute, and wooed by the sounds of the river, fall into a deep, exhausted nap. There is a relaxed, daily routine to life at Sukute Beach, and the place becomes my home. The grounds are green and lush, punctuated with Buddhas and Tibetan prayer flags. One afternoon I spot Manish and another guide collecting fruit for lunch from a tree near the water. My canvas tent is spacious and comfortable, opening up to a magnificent view of the river. Every morning and afternoon we kayak down the valley. Slowly, we improve. Most days we emerge from the river at Dolalghat, a dusty town of cramped buildings with a lively bus stop. Manish dutifully seeks out his favourite street vendor and buys us a plate of delicious steamed dumplings called momos. Minutes later we load the kayaks onto the roof of a bus, and climb up to join them for the trip upstream. With a commanding view of our quiet little valley and the feeling of the wind rushing through our hair, it’s hard not to smile at the curiosity of this sport in Nepal. It is day six, and Manish has taken me to a more intense section of river. Here, for the first time, we stop and scout out the rapid. “You can see there is a big hole,” points Manish, describing the combination of directions I have to follow to safely navigate the rapid. I am nervous. “What exactly is a hole?” “It looks like the water disappears below you.” Manish’s answer doesn’t make much sense to me. Back in my kayak, there is little time to be apprehensive. I pass under a rope bridge and then round a large boulder. Suddenly I have entered the whitewater. I try to stay stable as the waves engulf me. Then I see the hole.


TRISHULI – A busy, accessible river that follows the Prithvi Highway, the road connecting Nepal’s two largest cities. SETI – A warmer, calmer river with easy access to the elephant and tiger safaris of Chitwan National Park. BHOTE KOSHI –The steepest commercially rafted river in Nepal, and site of many kayakingschool camps. KALI GANDAKI – A deep gorge with enormous hydroelectric potential that is also the holiest river in Nepal. SUN KOSHI – This river drains much of the high Himalaya, including Everest, and hosts long, nine-day river journeys to the Indian border. KARNALI – This immense river in the less developed western region of the country passes through mostly jungle terrain.

Directly in front of me is a van-sized vortex. From our vantage point it had looked benign, but up close it is an enormous, churning obstacle. I hesitate for a second, and lose two crucial strokes. Without the power to maintain forward momentum, I go straight into the maelstrom and disappear under the water. It is now clear to me what a hole looks like. The next morning, a new crew of students arrive. Watching them attempt their first self-rescues in the pool, I realize how much I have learned in a week. “C’mon man,” implores Manish with one of his favourite sayings. We have returned to the Class III rapid for one final attempt. He takes a photo of me next to the river that has been my home for the past week. I feel a sense of calm. Life in Nepal, like kayaking, is not simple, but it flows inexorably forward. If I have learned anything from the people here, it’s to smile and enjoy my place in this big world. With a calm and steady hand, I race toward the rapid, and prepare to push through. summer 2013 23


Shed some weight this summer – from the glut of gear weighing you down. Move faster and freer on your next outdoor adventure with these ultralight options good for nearly any situation.


Built for two people, this lightweight cook set saves you a ton of space. The nesting design allows all of the pieces – two double-wall insulated mugs and DeepDish bowls – to fit inside the 2L aluminum pot, complete with a BPA-free strainer lid. The system uses MSR’s most durable ceramic non-stick coating, and everything is PFOA- and PTFE-free. Plus, their folding utensils and MicroRocket stove (both sold separately) can also fit inside this clever package. $69.95 |


It’s tough to get excited about a water bottle, but this is perhaps the most versatile one we’ve come across. It combines a taste- and BPA-free polyethylene lining with a flexible layer overtop. The inner layer resists bacteria buildup and the outer layer provides protection, while allowing you to squeeze, roll and manipulate the bottle in almost any fashion that’s convenient for you. It’s a lot lighter than your regular bottle, and you can choose between a standard cap or their HyperFlow cap with bite valve. Available in 500 ml and 1 L formats. $8.95–$12.95 |


Things just got a little bit brighter. The ReVolt Headlamp has the ability to run off of Black Diamond’s rechargeable batteries, which are recharged via a USB cable, but it can also handle regular AAA batteries when an outlet isn’t available. While fairly simple, this flexibility makes the ReVolt infinitely more valuable, as you’re unlikely to ever be without light. It uses one TriplePower LED for distance mode, two SinglePower LEDs on power proximity, and two SinglePower red LEDs in night-vision mode. It’s so streamlined and sleek, you may forget it’s on your head. $65 |


North Face utilizes the lightest fabric to ever grace their Summit Series in this jacket. Specifically designed for climbing, the denier fabric is water- and wind-resistant, so it will never become a burden – whether you’re scaling a rock or not. When the shirt on your back is all you need, the jacket folds into its own pocket, becoming no larger than an energy bar, and its external stretch loop is made to slip into a carabiner. $130 |

24 summer 2013


This new line of Gregory backpacks – Contour for men, Cairn for women – perfectly combines practicality with a lightweight design. At four pounds, these packs can handle more than 10 times their own weight. The wire wishbone architecture transfers the pack’s load to your waist, so it’s not bearing down on your back throughout the day. The fitted design features Gregory’s Trail Smart Packing System, which uses three prioritized zones. The first is the closest to your back, for your heaviest items; the second is designed for articles you’ll grab a few times, such as food and rain gear; and the third is for stuff you’ll need on the go, accessible without needing to take off the pack. $300 |


Lock together Thermarest’s Antares three-season sleeping bag with their NeoAir XLite mattress, and you’ll create one of the lightest sleeps on the market. The 750-plus-fill goose down insulation is concentrated on the top and the sides of the Antares, where heat naturally escapes, while the insulation-less bottom produces a slim one-pound bag (the long version, for those six feet and taller, doubles to two pounds), with warmth down to -7oC. How does your bottom keep from freezing? The NeoAir XLite will provide more than enough warmth from below, and keeps things slim at only 350 g for the regular size. Antares $350 | NeoAir XLite $160 |


This little guy packs a punch. It boasts a 2.5-inch blade, is just less than six inches in overall length and comes in at a total weight of 81.6 g. But don’t let its stature fool you – it carries the same DNA as its big brothers. The ball-bearing pivot allows you to smoothly open it with one hand, and the rubberized coating on the handle keeps it there. It will tackle small jobs like slicing up lunch while in the woods, but can also cut and pry its way through the toughest situation you may find yourself in. $45 | summer 2013 25 Verve 9 1_3 H EN Aventura.indd 1

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MEC has added some European flare to their lineup. Tunnel tents are certainly more prevalent across the Atlantic, but their design makes them ideal no matter where you are. They are incredibly quick to set up, giving you more time to actually enjoy the outdoors. The Hangar’s near-vertical walls provide added room you wouldn’t find in freestanding tents. Beyond more headroom, it has a huge vestibule to keep all your stuff safe and dry. It also has two vents for airflow. Great for lightweight camping or paddling trips. $370 |


Marmot promises a confusion-free set-up with their Pulsar 2P. Of note, colour-coded corners and reflective cording take the guesswork out of connecting the fly to the tent body. Once it’s all set up, you will notice that the Pulsar has a unique curved spine pole running down the middle. This creates a vertical door on the sidewall, adding more legroom and height to the interior. Marmot ensures a cool, dry sleep with its waterproof floor, taped seams and mesh panel, which allows a ton of circulation throughout the tent. $350 |

26 summer 2013


Kick it old-school with Big Agnes’ Scout UL2. This is a new take on that A-frame wall tarp or tent that your parents used when they were young. This single-wall tent comes in at just two pounds when packed, and uses your trekking poles for support. You can place your pole inside or out – there are reinforcements on either side – and mesh vents line the perimeter to ensure ample ventilation. If you need a little more room for storage, you can grab the Gear Loft, which attaches to loops included in the tent. Scout UL2 $280 | Gear Loft $22 |


This tent is made with the backcountry in mind. It will fit the smaller spaces typical of these off-the-beaten-track sites (the floor area is 28 sq ft/2.6 sq m). Interior space isn’t compromised, though. Two people are able to sit up side by side, and toss and turn without bumping each other with every movement, so you don’t have to ditch your trekking partner when it’s time to sleep. If you want extra space, the Nook Gear Shed works in tandem with the Nook tent. It doubles your covered storage space, and its integrated floor provides another clean spot for your gear. Think of it as base camp in the backcountry. Nook $400 | Nook Gear Shed $170 |


Configure this tent any way you please. Mountain Hardware’s innovative DryPitch set-up gives you three ways to get the Lightwedge up and running: When it’s raining you can pitch the rainfly, providing shelter from the inclement weather, before you get the canopy hooked in; if you’re concerned about weight you can just bring the fly; and on warm, dry evenings, you can ditch the fly and just use the canopy for a cooler sleep. Expect a surprising amount of headroom, and to stay dry during a downpour thanks to its fully taped fly, perimeter seam and welded corners. $300 |


The Espri LE 2P is great for those just getting into backpacking, or as an addition for others who need something sized just right for two. The tent’s poling system creates near-vertical walls, providing ample living space and headroom, and allows for the standard vestibule to extend far out, preventing rain from rolling in the front of the tent. Its oversized door makes for easy ins and outs. And it has a high-cut fly that simultaneously protects you from wet weather and allows air to flow in from the lower side of the tent. If you feel like you need more room, you can get the trekking pole vestibule, made to fit specifically with this tent. As its name suggests, a trekking pole supports this larger storage area in the middle. Espri LE 2P $290 | Espri LE 2P Trekking Pole Vestibule $100 | summer 2013 27

© Danny Warren



If you’re like most outdoor adventure enthusiasts, there is a drawer in your kitchen filled with plastic water bottles. They’re rumoured to be unbreakable and come in all sorts of fun colours and designs. You’ve bought a few, lost a few, been given a few, and yet still have a hard time looking away when you see them in the store. Backpackers have dreamed up no shortage of alternative uses for their collection of bottles. Fill them with boiling water and use them to keep the foot of your sleeping bag warm at night. Use them as waterproof, floating storage for wallets, keys, matches and other valuables. Wrap layers of duct tape around the exterior to be used for quick backcountry fixes. Some outdoor stores even sell solar-powered LED caps to turn bottles into flashlights. It is the gourmet camping cook, however, who has the most to gain. Here are four useful camp recipes that, thanks to a few plastic bottles, will make a delicious and practical addition to your next backcountry trip. 28 summer 2013

BACKCOUNTRY PANCAKES INGREDIENTS: 2 eggs 1¼ cups almond milk 1½ cups flour ½ tsp salt 2½ tbsp sugar 1¾ tsp baking powder ¾ cup blueberries, bananas, apples, nuts and/or chocolate chips DIRECTIONS: 1. At home, mix the eggs and milk and store in a plastic bottle. 2. At home, sift the flour and mix with the other dry ingredients. Store in a large freezer bag or a plastic bottle. 3. On the trail, mix the wet and dry ingredients, along with blueberries or other toppings. 4. Cook the pancakes in a non-stick pan for approximately two minutes per side. Flip the pancakes when bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Serves 4. Keep the cracked eggs out of direct sunlight and cook within two days.

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INGREDIENTS: 1 box of JELL-O 1 litre of boiling water

INGREDIENTS: 1 cup couscous ½ cup dried cranberries ¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds 2 tsp chili 2 tsp paprika 1 cup water

DIRECTIONS: 1. Fill a one-litre plastic bottle with boiling water. 2. Add JELL-O powder and shake. 3. As an optional hot dessert, drink some of the mixture. 4. Allow JELL-O to thicken overnight. DIRECTIONS: 1. A  t home or at camp, mix the couscous, cranberries, Serves 4. Works best during cooler evenings. sunflower seeds and spices inside a plastic bottle. 2. On the trail, add cool water to the bottle. Seal tightly and let sit for 20 minutes before eating. For a hot lunch, use warm water instead. Serves 1.

WILDERNESS SPAGHETTI INGREDIENTS: 2 tbsp vegetable oil 2 onions, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced ½ green bell pepper, chopped ½ red bell pepper, chopped 1 stalk celery, chopped 2 carrots, diced ½ cup sliced mushrooms 1 can tomato sauce 2 cans diced tomatoes 1 can tomato paste 1 tbsp dried oregano 1 tbsp dried thyme 1 tsp dried basil 1 tsp ground black pepper 2 tsp salt 500 g spaghetti 1 dried sausage, sliced ½ cup parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS: 1. A  t home, fry onions and garlic in oil in a large pot. 2. When onions are golden, add bell peppers, celery and carrots. Cook until green bell peppers are bright green. 3. Add the mushrooms, tomato sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, basil and black pepper. Stir well. 4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for two hours. 5. A  llow to cool, then store spaghetti sauce in a plastic bottle. 6. On the trail, boil spaghetti in salted water for five to seven minutes. 7. M  ix dried sausage with spaghetti sauce and reheat. 8. S  erve spaghetti sauce over pasta. Garnish with Parmesan cheese. Serves 8.

WHAT TYPE OF PLASTIC IS MY WATER BOTTLE MADE OF? This backpacking essential began as humble lab equipment produced by the Nalge Company in Rochester, New York. In the 1970s, with the rise of the environmentalism movement and waste conservation, the company saw the market for selling their products directly to consumers. The outdoor “Nalgene” bottle that they sold for nearly three decades was made of polycarbonate, the strong, rigid material used to make bulletproof glass. Coloured plastic water bottles exploded into wilderness-chic stardom. In 2007, outdoor retailers began pulling Nalgene bottles off their shelves due to leaching of the allegedly carcinogenic compound bisphenol A (BPA), which was used to make the plastic. Shortly thereafter, Canada became the first country to designate BPA a toxic substance. Nalgene and other manufacturers redesigned their bottles to be BPA-free, using materials such as copolyester and HDPE (high-density polyethylene). Today, most bottles do not contain BPA, and are safe for use in the dishwasher, microwave and with boiling water.

◗ 80 km of hiking trails ◗ 32 km for cross-country mountain biking ◗ 6 refuges and campsites ◗ Luggage transportation service

Located in Ferme-Neuve 2h North of Gatineau • 3h North of Montreal 1-877-587-3882

So far, so good! ◗ Enjoy the beauty of 80 islands by canoe, kayak or from our 3 lookouts ◗ 30 campsites with reservation service, many of which are on islands ◗ 20 free-access campsites ◗ 2 prospector tents (Ready-to-Camp)

Located in Notre-Dame-du-Laus 1h30 North of Gatineau • 2h30 North of Montreal 819-767-2999

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Last fall, I was travelling through Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, near Victoriaville, an area considered to be Quebec’s cranberry capital. Fields were brimming with red fruit, harvest was in progress and the Indian summer was in full swing. With the farmer’s permission, both my agronomist colleague and my wife took to the cranberry bogs on their paddleboards. They described a unique sensation: like floating on a red carpet and paddling through cranberry juice. The contrasting colours, the sound of the boards hitting millions of berries and the random furrows left behind each board completely enchanted me. I couldn’t resist and also did a few laps around the fields: I just had to feel the magical and mystical sensation for myself! – Éric Marchand, photographer THE TOOLS: CANON EOS REBEL T4i, 10–20MM F/4 LENS, ISO 400, F/16, 1/200 SECOND 30 summer 2013



WAKEFIELD MILL HOTEL & SPA After a day of bungee jumping, mountain biking or hiking, come and relax at the Wakefield Mill. Located within the Gatineau Park, the Mill features 40 guestrooms in both the heritage mill and the LEED-registered Eco River Lodge, 2 restaurants, a casual bar lounge, a full-service spa, an outdoor pool and two hot tubs.


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Come and live exciting moments on treetops and have fun on our zip lines, suspended bridges, swings, nets and way more! Release your inner Tarzan while flying over a 168 meter lake on a giant zip line that will propel you 45km/h.


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Grab your family and friends and come rafting, kayaking and river boarding on the Ottawa river with Horizon X. • • • •

High quality, small groups, no compromise Fun for all, from young at heart to children 40 lbs and up Every 7th person rafts for free with group reservations Only Horizon X offers you free pictures, free wetsuits and no service charges.

The Laflèche Cave will teach you about more than 20, 000 years of history. Not only that, but you’ll find out about speleology – the study and science of cave exploration. Catch one of our exploring tours, either the discovering tour or the exploration tour that will take you in the depth of the cave.

You won’t want to miss this Canadian exclusive! Horizon X is excited to be the only company on the Ottawa River to offer Full Moon Rafting trips. Come rafting with us through up to Class Two rapids and experience the thrill of white water while rafting under the serenity of the moonlit sky. Safe, fun and innovative night rafting fits directly in Horizon X’s innovative approach to adventure. Book TODAY!

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Adventura - Summer 2013  

Adventura - Summer 2013

Adventura - Summer 2013  

Adventura - Summer 2013