Written by Don Alexander 

When Ralph bills something as a once in a lifetime experience he doesn’t kid around.  No matter how you tackled this ridge it was an unforgettable experience.  My apologies in advance for the blog style logs but I’ve a terrible memory and I like to get everything down before it goes “POOF”.  [:D]  There are 8 parts to this story.  I’ve added a PDF at the end In the event you’d like to print the entire log.

Part 1: Preparation

I really have to thank Ralph, not only for setting up the greatest shindigs I’ve ever experienced, but, perhaps unknowingly, preparing and conditioning me and possibly others to be able to make this journey with him.

For me it all started about a year and a half ago.  When I was a kid I went through Scouting right through to about 23 years old and one of the things I enjoyed the most in those days was hiking.  There was nothing I liked better than sneaking around in the woods day or night.  After that, life just seemed to get in the way.  It wasn’t until I caught sight of Ralph’s first BT Hike event that interest in the hiking aspect was sparked again.

I was in no shape to hike 15km let alone the ambitious 52km that they were doing that day but it was something that fed a longing in me that I’d forgotten was there.  I watched with great interest as the logs started rolling in amazed by the incredible achievement.  Ralph’s next BT Hike popped up a few months later and I decided to work towards making a showing and ramped up my caching in order to prepare.  That hike pushed me past limits I never knew I had. The last 15k was the most excruciatingly painful experience of my life.  I could barely walk for a week after.  6 moths later came the next hike.  ”It’s only 32k, the shortest of the planned hikes” Ralph says.  What he neglected to mention was that it was all up and down hills which made it much worse and equally as long and difficult as the last one.

By the time I was done that event I was not only sore and stiff, but a few hours late for picking up my wife and son to go to a show my mother was in.  Not good.  It was almost a geocaching career ending event and a lesson was learned.  Don’t plan anything else on a day of a caching event.  (I keep putting that in here and there just to remind me)  A short few weeks later I’d already forgotten this little lesson on a caching day that ended with a CITO in Brampton.  It was a rough time in Fababoo land.

By mid summer I’d patched things up slowly working my way back into the good books.  Then, this event and the next BT Hike were published.  Wow.  I really wanted to go but I didn’t seem to be in the good books as much as I thought and my wife really didn’t want to be alone with the kids for Thanksgiving.  Access denied.  A few weeks before the event I’d somehow managed to impress upon her how much the event would mean to me and I was in.  Ishpatina, here I come!

Now what? As much as flying in on a plane was very appealing to me, the chance at being one of the first to hike up and back in a day was something that I just couldn’t pass up.  I’d decided to do the 55.6k event 2 weeks later and the hike option would be something to help prepare for that event.  Its a 7+ hours drive away.  After checking around, it appeared that the only seat left would have been with the Goju’s and I couldn’t afford the extra day or two that they had planned.  It was suggested that there was at least one other that was looking for a seat up so I put out the offer.  I ended up with 2 seats full in advance with Keith Watson and Rainbow pumped and ready to go.  A few days before the event HikerT’s plans for the weekend changed and she was looking for a ride up.  Would we have enough room for all the gear?

I’d planned to take the afternoon off on Thursday to pack but the clients weren’t having any of it. I didn’t get away till 5pm.  It’s Thursday night, procrastination finally hit the fan and I started packing.  I heard that there was Chili for dinner Friday so I’d decided to make some pineapple pie for desert.  That took a few hours that I didn’t have but I so enjoy to bake when given the chance.

The next morning I made my rounds, dropping off the kids and my wife, filling up and making my way out to the west end of Toronto.  First stop was Keith’s and the first of my transposed numbers.  He came out of his house while I was ringing a doorbell a few doors down.  Luckily there wasn’t anyone home and I quickly transposed the car.  I inquired about the message I left on the answering machine and found my next set of transposed numbers.  Doh!  I must have been too excited to write things down properly.  With a brief packing job and wondering how we were going to fit in 2 more sets of gear, we were off to the Rainbows.  Keith had brought a TomTom with a lovely English ladies voice.  She must have been exited too and she wanted to go straight to Ishpatina and disagreed with me at every turn.  We made it to Rainbows and I knocked on the door to the trolls cave and out came Big Man On Compass and Rainbow with a bunch of stuff.  We fit in what we could and somehow a decision was made to leave one of 2 sleeping bags in the house.  We probably should have somehow packed it in as it was cold in the evenings.

From there we headed for my third set of number recording errors and looked for a Park and Pool at the 407 and Hurontario.  There isn’t one of course as we confirmed with HikerT that I’d done it again.  I guess as Penguins can’t add, Fababoos can’t type. On arriving at the PnP at the 401, HikerT was just pulling in and then Rainbow announced that she’d sprung a leak.  Apparently her nose decides to do that once in a while.  At this point I was thinking that we’d be having a very interesting trip indeed and we were just getting started.  Somehow we slowed the leak and crammed everything in to the car, filling up the trunk and every spare spot there was in the back seat.  Even though everyone packed as light as they could there was so much that you couldn’t leave behind.  Tents, sleeping bags, packs, clothing, extra shoes for water crossing and most importantly food were all necessities.

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