Written by Don Alexander
We had everyone packed and left right on schedule. The drive up was great. The scenery was amazing as the fall colours at one point turned just right with all shades of green, red, orange and yellow. The highway started getting rocky at the sides and we started to notice some interesting rock formations at the tops of some of them. They were little inukshuks, few were just piles but many had a great form of the traditional inukshuk like a human. Perhaps they were there to mark an accident or something that happened there but most likely they were just to show friendship from the region. We had wanted to try to build our own but also wanted to get to the camp before dark. We continued on.
With only one stop at the Timmie’s in Perry Sound we made the trip in record time. We got a kick out of the Ministry of Transports road side warning stating the obvious. As we neared Sudbury these warning signs went from all English, to some English, some French and then finally all the blue signs were in French only. That was quite a transition and really shows how much the language of the locals in the area seems to change as we went along. Arriving in Sudbury we decided to check out the big nickel, some of us not having seen it since we were wee ones. We looked it up on the web and found it was supposed to be at Science North. We arrived there and couldn’t seem to find it. Reading closer on the web page it mentioned that it was there temporarily until 2003 until it was to be returned to its original place of rest. Where was that? Keith found it shortly thereafter when searching for caches and found “le gros 5 cents”. It would have to wait until the return journey as we were heading in the wrong direction.
Then we came to our only traffic jam of the trip up. There was some sort of accident on the main road and traffic was stopped. We used the “detour” option and took a side street. As we went along we caught sight of the car, not good as part of the van was quite flat. Ignoring the lovely voice from Tomtom and the beeps from the Colorado we continued as far as we could go and then turned back to the main road.
From there it was smooth sailing. We made it to the logging road turnoff and bombed down it. That was fun, so much fun that I almost missed looking at the gas gauge. When I did notice it we were about 20k in and stopped to contemplate if the less than 1/4 tank would be enough to get us the rest of the way in and back out to civilization. Nope, we couldn’t chance it and turned around and found a gas station in Capreol. On a side note, gas there was the same price as it was in Toronto that same morning. Tank full, we headed back to have some more fun on the logging road.
Well, I had fun. My apologies to my passengers, most of whom went the whole way with their eyes wide shut (or maybe wired would be a better term). At the speeds I was going it was just like driving in the winter snow with the back end giving you a little bit of a sliding feeling. It was good practice for the coming season. After about 3/4 of the way the roads started to narrow to a single lane (See Ralph’s picture with the hill and a red flag at the bottom). You really couldn’t go that fast down there as you’d come around corners or over hills with no room for cars coming the other way. You’d get to the top of that hill and your neck would stretch as high as you could get it and you’d be up from your seat to see if there was anything coming towards you over the top, slowing to an almost standstill.
Thanks to Roglatour, Kayn_os, SimplyRed and KodakCacher for the recon work leading up to the event. With their help we were able to drive all the way up to the Sturgeon River. We arrived in good time, a relief for some, with some daylight left to setup our tents. It was this trip up that coined the fraise “The Fababoo Express” and it appears to have a life of its own now, just 2 weeks later.
Roglatour and his girlfriend had setup a nice spot in a flat gravel pit with a roaring fire, a grill and lots of firewood for us when we arrived. Along with the wood Res2100 brought it was enough to last the whole event. We had a great time chatting with everyone that had arrived before us while preparing and enjoying the wonderful chili that Keith had brought. Cisco was a pleasure to have around too with his little bell tinkling as he moved around. While not everyone had the Pineapple pie, I made sure I had some. You don’t want to be around me when I’ve had chili without pineapple. ;)
Just after dark Team Goju and Jefftrex arrived and treated us to stories of their adventures that day. These guys are the toughest cachers I have ever met or heard of. They left at 1am that morning, skipping sleep in favour of picking up no less that 3 FTF on tough, out of the way caches that day. If I had done that I’d have doubts that I’d have survived the hike the next day.
Next was a treat from one of the local cachers. Kayn_os went through what it was he does for a living and gave us a little sample of something that I’ll treasure. It will be going into a little collection I have of similar things. Being interested in Geology it was a fascinating discussion and made the trip up that much more special. Thanks!
We didn’t stay up too late and it was determined that we would start to get up around 5:30am so that we could be out on the trail just after 6am.