This past spring (2016) my wife Anna made me watch the movie “Wild” with Reese Witherspoon. This is the one where the girl with the crummy life decides to ditch everything and go on a 3-month long hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. The movie is like two hours, but the gist of it is she hurts her feet, cries a lot, and eventually rediscovers herself. It was meh. But somehow, when you watch it from a really comfortable bed in a nice air-conditioned condo, it actually seems like a good idea.
This was what ultimately happened with Anna, and what led to her moment of lunacy where she actually told me that she wanted to try something like this (although on a much shorter timescale, as our life isn’t crummy and she didn’t want to ditch it). Now with most husbands (and people in general) this wouldn’t have amounted to much of anything, but as you probably know if you’re reading this blog, I co-run a camping company! And if my wife tells me that she wants to go on a giant hike - even if it was only once and she took it back a minute later – well, we’re going on a hike!
For the next few days I did my homework, looked into what was possible with our one-week timeframe and budget, and finally booked us along the LaCloche Silhouette Trail in Killarney Provincial Park. Understandably, I didn’t tell Anna until it was booked.
Weeks later, when she was back to talking to me, we started prepping for the trip! I won’t go into the details of exactly what we brought, but we did our best to pack as light as possible, and for the most part we were successful. The goal was to bring only what we needed, and nothing more, but for any camping trip, you need to plan for the worst, and in the summer this includes rain and cold – which means fleeces, jackets, and tarps and extra rope. Still, the bags were relatively light until we got to the food. Having never done a hiking trip this long, we decided to bring extra so that we wouldn’t go hungry, and in order to cook it all, we brought 4 large fuel canisters. On our guided camping trips, we sometimes cook for 15 people, and we often need a lot of fuel. I should have known it was too much, but just like the food, it’s better to have extra than to run out. Then there was entertainment. You can’t go on a trip like this without a camera, a book, a Frisbee, and some cards. Oh, and a saw. And an axe. And some extra carabiners.
Needless to say, the bags were heavy.
When we arrived in Killarney it finally hit us how stupid this idea was. We were literally planning to walk an 85-kilometer circle, up and down a series of sharp rocky ridges, carrying bags that weighed more than we did, in 30-degree heat. Thankfully, no matter how bad it got, I could always blame Anna, since it was her idea. Somehow this made me feel a lot better.
With our water bottles full, and our Jeff’s Killarney Map in hand, we took our first of many many steps, and started the famous LaCloche Silhouette Trail – one of Ontario’s most beautiful hikes!