It was a fantastic weekend.
Six brave Gonzos had a tough choice. (Love these kind of weekends) Would
we go to Nictaux and do a marathon canoe race - 2 hours of agony( you
forget about the pain shortly after the event or a somewaht fun sounding
canoe orienteering type race in Pugwash. Well Pugwash won. Leaving the
marina at 0800 (Bernie was on time) we headed off to the nearestTim
Hortons for a coffee (we do have priorities) then to Pugwash. Beautiful
drive, Sun out, what more could we ask for? Getting to Pugwash we stop to
ask directions to the nearest Yacht club (Isn't it funny how women will
never stop to ask directions?) and the start of the event. We are faced
with 4 options
a) paddle to the island and find the control points amd
b) paddle to the left and find the 6
or 7 controls
c) Paddle to the right
and find the 6 or 7 controls or
the ultimate challenge do it all in a
very tight 3 hour time frame
Heck we ain't no sooks, we didn't drive 2 hours for a half meal deal, we
came for the full meal deal. THE ULTIMATE CHALLENGE Three Gonzo teams Imax
and The Sun God, Dipper and Sean( we do need a name for him), and Mountain
Goat and yours truly The Viking. We get our maps and now comes the
strategy. What is your plan? Mountain Goat and I decide to take "the path
less travelled" and head to the right. We also think there is a potential
portage point that will save a chunk of paddling. They are off.
immediately head to the right - opening up a short lead on a nice cedar
strip canoe with a mixed team in it and a team from Bridgewater. The other
13 boats have headed to the right. (Who would want to race 13 boats to a
check point anyway?) We pick up the first 3 controls rather easily, while
opening a bit more of a lead. We head to a point that has a control on it
and beach the canoe and nab that one, Then Mountain Goat heads across the
little spit of land to get the one on the other side. Only it is a little
farther away than that. Finally (getting a bit wet) he nabs it but the
mixed team seams to have cut into some of our lead. To the island, I drop
off Malcolm, Who is a runner, and head around to the right to pick him up.
I expect him to be about 15 minutes,so head back a bit on the trail(?) a
bit of bent grass to find #4 in order to show Malcolm where it is. 15
minutes, Here's Malcolm, "can't find two of the controls ( he is such a
good runner he runs right by them), I'm a much slower runner so I go back
and find them- One on wreck and one on foundation(?)
Back to Malcolm.
"The last one is right in line with canoe and the tripod in the water" Off
he goes. Meanwhile I have talked to the male half of the mixed team -Ian
Folkins who tells me that the the female who I at least recognize as an
athlete is in fact quite an athlete, She is Pam James, world class
orienteer, North American Champion etc Now coaching the Canadian Military
Team. Well by the time Malcolm returns our 5 minute lead (Based on
canoeing skills) is gone and we are behind about 5 minutes. Across the
bay, Strong wind at out side "Malcolm keep the paddle in the water"
"Can't, the water is too far away", there must be 3 foot waves we are
trying to get through. No "huts" here to change sides, we can hardly keep
from going sideways The arms are on fire but we finally make it to control
PORTAGE. Up the bank, along the old rail line back into the water.
Guess who's just in front of us Yes Ian and Pam. We have made uip the
difference Work Work Work. They cross the river and beach the canoe and
Pam runs back for one while Ian paddless to the next one. We stay right
and pick up the two that are on the left, then go down the river. On the
way back up river we pass Ian and Pam W must have a two or three minute
lead but we have to pick up two that they got on the way down. We get the
second one and still can't see them. Now back into the wind and the last
two points. Oops -at stapler ta the # 10, I see it in the water. Malcolm
reaches it without tipping us over and recovers it.
Punch, tie it up for
those that are behind us then to the last one and home. It was every bit
as tough as a marathon canoe race but a heck of a lot more fun. We
managed to beat Pam and Ian (who it turns out is a big cheese in
Orienteering Nova Scotia) by about 5 minutes. Not surprising,This is a
canoe event with a bit of map reading in it. It was a blast, Great
organization, good prizes, everybody went home with memories and an award.
You just can't beat that.
Thanks to Greg Nix, and extended family, and to
Orienteering Nova Scotia.