Trekking race (Wilderness Travers) 18:12:00  37.0 km (29:31 / km)
shoes: NB MT1010 2nd pair
Gav was bit nervous about the swim as his hammy had completely cramped up last summer at Rockstar when in a similar state and doing the innertube CP. We knew we had more than one water crossing in our plans so agreed to test it out here close to civilization. Everything went well, our first AR swim was a "success". And that's when the real fun began....
We set a bearing to find the trail to the SE of where we crossed which was nowhere to be found. I then proceeded to question whether we had marked the right crossing point (bad, bad) so we took a few more cracks at it and wondered around generally south and east before realizing attempting to hit the end of a trail on a 25 yr old map may not have been the best idea in the first place. Trusting we did originally know where we crossed, we headed south and marked off of the lake that went E-W. Tracked west from there and found the trail heading south as per the map. Knowing we'd fumbled the first part a bit and with everyone in good shape we upped to a steady jog as we hit the T, turned east and took a bearing off of where the trail went north. As per plan we tracked the S edge of the peninsula and then up and over the tip for a second swim to the CP4. Hit CP just behind The Good, Tall, Hungry rookie team who had finished the bike just after us. Based on that, felt we had at least decently recovered from our nav mistakes after the first swim for a decent split.
We knew we both had similar nav strategies on the next leg but GTH took off slightly before us. I checked out a bit from nav as we marked for a trail which was not to be found. We soon met up with GTH at a lake side and went off on another bearing for attempt number 2. A random encounter with another team that had just come from "a lake" set us off in another direction (bad, bad again). More than a bit lost we ended up following a lake towards what we thought might be the trail. Gryphon saw some lights up ahead and sure enough it was a trail with yet another rookie team on it.
As we were all heading down the trail, it was dark and we were all rookies - we ended up staying together. At night the overgrown trail looked like a cave straight out of LOTR. A pain for Gryphon and Chris for sure. After a while, the trail turned north a petered out.
For the first time in a long time, I thought we actually knew where we were however the consensus was we should track all the way east to hit the shore of Timber Wolf Lake just to be sure. And so began "the march of the zombies" with 12 headlamps following a single file bushwhack. I was still in high energy mode and took the lead bearing east. Passed over a bunch of N-S rock berms until we hit the big one that dropped down to the lake.
Gaining confidence, I think I said to Chris "I'm done with traipsing around in the dark looking for trails. We're going south, then SE and hitting this lake. If we find a trail, bonus - we'll take it". Chris agreed, gave the distances and off we went. Going around the lake was a bit more than on the map, likely a beaver dam as evidenced by the big change in water level Accounting for this on the fly - we amazingly hit the trail about 10 ft after saying "if there is a trail, it should be right about here".
We headed left and hit the T junction about where it was on the map and as the trail looked to be substantial and we were in the middle of the night decided to follow it to see it it went around as per map. Sadly not as it ended in a hunt cabin with portage trail to Wasagami Lake. So, back down the trail to the T where moral seemed to be dropping. We rested at the T and this is where the call to G-Stix was put in. Gryphon and Gavin we're fighting severe sleepiness and Gavin was cold as well. I was wide awake and warm if I kept moving while Chris, in what was the theme the entire race - was a machine. The other two teams were bailing however after some debate we agreed we'd signed up for 30 hour adventure and that's what we would do.
Heading south from the T, the trail predictably ended up being a short portage so the bushwhacking resumed momentarily when Gryphon (our resident woodsman) spotted the old trail from the map. We headed straight south on the trail for as long as possible, almost losing it a few times. Bushwhacked along the edge of the lake and the were pushed back west a bit more than expected but then crossed what was seriously a 100 ft long beaver damn. Absolutely beautiful in the almost full moon.
From there it was to be a straight line to Horseshoe Lake and then CP5 but we happened upon a big marsh not so much on the map. I scouted a bit ahead and it was passable so we crossed the first bit, then some solid ground only to hit another arm of it. Had to jump muddy creek with at least one booter each. Gav actually lost his shoe which had to be dug out of the mud. It was some heavier up and down bushwacking from there with Gryphon leading the charge as he had for most of the time since we'd split from the other teams. How he can keep a bearing like he does without a compass is beyond me.
We hit CP 5 at around 6:00am, taking a total of 10 hrs from CP4 to CP5.
The crackers and cheese from Bent were really a dream come true. As Chris, Gryphon and I sat on the rocks prepping for the next leg Gav set up by the fire, ready to pit in a bit. After our recent performance we really didn't think we had much chance to hit the 12pm cut-off but Bent was very encouraging and said some team had done it in 4 hrs. We had a bit of a gut check there however convinced all parties to charge ahead and see how far we could make it.
Sticking to the shoreline we made excellent time, crossed at the first small beaver dam and Chris kept us on the far shore until climbing up the big ass rock partway down. From there he had us looking for a dry creakbed or something when I spotted a lake. This gave Chris a firm bearing and we set off toward the main road. Gryphon again in the lead found a logging road with marked trees. For the first time this gave us real hope and we headed mainly south and east. This trail T-eed into another at which point my brain decided red on my compass meant south (seriously, at this point in the race?). We only lost 15 minutes total as Chris caught it and Gryphon confirmed the grass / ferns had been trampled in the other direction. Back on track we wound or way to the main road and speed walked all the way to TA2. This was actually one of the most grueling parts for me as the shale / rocks were brutal on the feet.
CP 3/TA1 - 4:50pm (24th)
CP 4 - 7:56pm (23rd)
CP 5 - 6:00am (26th - yes, almost 10hrs)
CP6/TA2 - 11:02am (25th)