50 KM Hike
(Rangers and Pathfinders for Duke of Edinburgh Award)

Suzanne Wiley
1st Royal City Rangers
Guelph, Ontario<

Wow, we did it, a 50 plus km hike!

We (three Rangers in my unit) started out Thursday afternoon and ended Sunday, just after noon. I figure we probably did about 54 km. We were hiking the Cataract Trail from Forks of the Credit Provincial Park to Elora. We were actually doing it as a Silver Duke of Ed expedition. The three of us stayed in Erin the first night (at what we are calling a "Youth Hostel" which is really my friend's grandmother's house), on a farm close to the trail the second night and at the Belwood lake Sailing Club the third night.

The mosquitoes were terrible and the sun was really hot (except for Friday when it rained), the stove was being *very* temperamental but everything turned out fine. We met Pathfinders from Elora Saturday morning and we hiked the last half of the trail with them. We found it harder when we were with them because it was their first time backpacking (for most of them).

We didn't mind helping them fix their packs and such because we realize that that's part of learning how to backpack and we felt we were capable of helping them but they didn't know hiker etiquette. The group became very spread out so the people at the front would stop for the others to catch up so they would have plenty of time to rest. By the time those at the back caught up the first ones were ready to leave before the last got the rest that they probably needed more than the others. We tried to tell them about what they were doing but they never really listened to what we said.

I think it's funny how after all of the talk we had about how the GIC for adventure camps has to have a CLC that for the first two days of our hike we didn't have a GIC with us. We did check in with her every night (the first night we called from where we were staying--her mother in law's house, and she visited us the second night). We all have our first aid although because I was the only "adult" I was our first-aider. Our camp advisor was fully aware of how we were running the hike and she was actually one of the Guiders with the Pathfinders (and her Ranger daughter, part of another unit--not ours, who also joined the second day).

The Pathfinders found the hike a lot of work even though their packs were only about half the weight of ours (ours started at 40 kg and were around 37 after 2 days and theirs were about 26 when they started). I think it's great that they could do this as pathfinders. I know when I was a Pathfinder I never did anything like an adventure camp, not even winter camping. It was also a great opportunity to show them what Rangers can do, and do some bridging.

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