In the Adventure Stories series, we ask Wild Rock staff and contributors to share some of the most exciting outdoor experiences they've had lately.
Next up is Justin Ross, Wild Rock's Social Media Manager and also works in Hard Goods and Aerobic Sales. You'll find him in the office, on the retail floor, answering your questions on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and working the Wild Rock tent at our community events. He's also a dedicated purveyor of Type 2 fun!
In this post, Justin shares some anecdotes from a memorable weekend on Killarney's La Cloche Silhouette Trail.
WR: What adventure are you going to tell us about?
I'll tell you about the time Brayden and I fast-packed (a combo of trail running and ultra-light backpacking) the Silhouette Trail in Killarney Provincial Park, in 2 days. It was November, in the middle of a storm, everything was flooded and it was incredibly cold.
How did you fuel for your adventure?
Did you bring anything unusual with you?
What was the most memorable thing that happened?
The beauty of type two fun is that it’s all super memorable. The suffering makes the fun last a lifetime. It’s hard to pick one moment from this trip because it was a sh*t smear of suffering and extreme discomfort. I guess if I was to give someone an elevator pitch version of this trip, it would be waking up from our marginal amount of sleep (at least in my case). Our plan was to pack light and sleep on Mountain Lake. The weather for the two days was sh*t. For the entire first day it felt like we were stuck inside a washing machine. The level of rain was immeasurable, the wind was nonstop and the temps fluttered around zero celsius.
We arrived at our campsite in the dark, we stumbled around setting up our ultralight 2 person tent while simultaneously force feeding ourselves so we could get to sleep as quickly as possible. Now, I’d be lying if I said I was fully prepared and experienced enough for this type of adventure. My sleep system consisted of a borrowed ultralight sleeping pad, sleeping bag and an emergency blanket. My thought process was to go with a lighter weight sleeping bag and supplement it with the mylar blanket to try and cut weight and cram it into my 18L bag. What I didn’t think about was the breathability (or lack of) of the emergency blanket. I woke up at about 11:30pm soaking wet, borderline hypothermic and full of dread realizing that it was going to be the longest night of my life.
When we woke up, the rain had stopped and the wind had died down. It was below freezing and my hands were both completely numb - I had a reasonably mild case of maceration. It’s basically what happens to your skin when it becomes wet for prolonged amounts of time. If you have to google it, make sure you keep the image search off because it’s gross. It hurt like hell. Packing up our disheveled camp was like a double edged sword - I knew it would get better once we hit the trail, but putting away camp got in the way of that.
What advice do you have for someone thinking of trying a fastpacking trip?
Do it in the summer and bring body glide.
Do you have a dream destination for a future adventure (once travel is possible)?
I generally fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to any plans really. I think it would be fun to ride the tour divide which is a bike packing route from Banff to New Mexico, but who knows - I never plan that far ahead.
Do you have a goal that you are preparing/training for?
I am planning to complete the COLT (Central Ontario Loop Trail) in one push. It is a 460km bike packing route from Fenelon Falls to Port Hope, Trenton, Marmora, Bancroft, Kinmount and back to Fenelon Falls. The goal is to complete it in around 24hours. It’s a tall order but I recently learned that road bikes can give you the same sense of adventure as mountain biking, without destroying your knees… trust me when I say it’s a slippery slope.
You can check out the route here.