Team Stories – King & Clow

April 19, 2001

Turned Around (K.King, C.Clow)
4000 points
SAR-24 hour
Eco-Endurance Challenge 2001

First of all I would like to thank the organizing team for doing such a great job. Without their support and hard work this would not have been possible – and I would have not got to go play.

Start to point 1: Got off late. Half way to point 1 I realized we forgot our punch card back at the event centre. Ran back and retrieved punch card. Found teams standing around at point pondering the waist deep ice water while some partners ventured into the icy cold water. WET and COLD. Accepted that I was not going to stay dry and carried on. Is this what I heard the course team joking about? Walked off cold legs.

Point 1 to 14: Easy going along the road. Crowd of people in woods above road didn’t hurt.

Point 14 to 16: Followed road southwest to top of hill and proceeded west down hill towards the lake. Fairly easy going.

Point 16 to 15: This was typical of the area – thick black spruce. Good for rabbits but not people. Took a bit of time to push our way through. Managed to maintain a steady compass bearing and hit the point bang on. Point 15 to 17: Plotted a course over higher elevations to find dryer ground. Didn’t want to go through too many bogs that could otherwise be avoided. Easy going though well spaced woods allowed fast completion. Lucked out in finding a large windfall we used to cross the fast moving and cold stream. Followed power line to road and point 17 on Clay Lake. Teams are starting to spread out – only one or two teams met along the way.

Point 17 to 22: This was assumed to be easy – follow road and drop down to lake. Piece of cake. Dropped concentration and missed the ‘cart track’ off the main road – can remember now ignoring the road. We hit the stream and took a bearing to skip a swamp below a road we “believed” we were on. If a swamp showed up on the map I knew we should stay clear of it. Hit a larger swamp and cutting. We were not where we were supposed to be. Corrected bearing and hit cart track we were supposed to be on. Another team using GPS asked if point 22 was just around the corner – we knew we were close – maybe. Cut directly to lake and followed lakeshore to the point. Lost an hour on this point and a bit of energy.

Point 22 to 18: Followed a compass bearing to point 18 from 22. Hit an older clear-cut that was very difficulty to push through. Stumbled and fell as we pushed our way though the clear-cut. Took a bit out of us in the sun. Hindsight – should have followed shore. Saw a team walking a road – at least it looked like they were on a road by the ease of their walk. From the middle of the clear-cut we couldn’t see the unmarked road on the hillside above us.

Point 18 to 26 – easy trail run. Dropped our packs in the woods to shed a few pounds before hitting the trails for points 26, 29, 28 and 27. Hindsight – take more water. I ran out before point 28 and the evening sun and warm weather made me regret dropping the extra litre I had in my pack.

Point 26 to 29: Another easy trail run along shore and up ATV trail leading in the general direction of the point. Spent 20 minutes looking towards the east and the lake for the point when it was 1 minute to the west of the trail.

Point 29 to 28: Followed power line out to road and walked road to 28.

Point 28 to 27: An easy trail run. Opted for trails rather than 1/2 the distance through the woods which were partially cut.

Point 27 to 19: Easy trail run, no problems. Stopped and changed socks and topped up on water at safety checkpoint along road. Mistake – should have left the water inside my gortex socks – it was warm. Walked on frozen feet until the next morning.

Point 19 to 20: Easy trail run to power line. Took a few minutes to look on the hill just inside the woods before heading down to the lake. Getting quite dark now making everything slower. Wet, wet, wet. Partner gets this point while I watch him wade out.

Point 20 to 21: Easy on the map – up the power line and back down. This point took its toll on us. Hitting it at night with the three swamps really took time and energy. The swamp nearest the point was waist deep (or deeper). I managed to go only once to the waist. Getting a little tired at this point we struggled to get around it. Very difficult after dark. I’m not sure it was worth the 300 points. Perhaps we should have hit it after point 17. Clear and crisp night.

Point 21 to 10: Once we got out off the power line it was another easy trail run. Met a recreational team at the road at the power line. Warned them of the bogs. I don’t think they bothered with the point. However the mud took its toll on my partner’s knees. The speed is slowing considerably.

Skipped point 11 – partner’s knees went down hill after point 21 and the mud on 10. I took a look in and the snow on the ground was difficult. Snow hitting my headlamp as the ventures fire comes into sight. Opted for a hotbox supper at the ventures camp and my partner warmed his feet by the fire. I didn’t bother as my socks were wet and the only dry pair I had were being saved for later. Our challenge is over at midnight after the meal. We are going to try making it back to the event centre and keeping our points. Plotted the shortest route back to the event centre over the hill. Back tracked 500 meters and hit cart track over hill to Pockwock Lake road. I hoped it really existed. Never saw the cart tracks that were on the map jutting to the south during the night (or to the north for that matter). Several times we discussed crossing the woods and hitting the other roads but it was agreed the difficulty level might be more trouble than the distance of following the path we were on.

Point #13: Pushed an extra 1.5 km to pick up point 13 along the way. Great night for a walk – stars shining and cool crisp air. Heavy frost on everything and the puddles were all frozen over. Six hours later we arrive at base camp for daybreak. The warm food was welcome – the one sandwich I brought along and the small box lunch didn’t go far.

We hit all the points we attempted. Our complete route we hoped would have had us hit point 11, 9, 8, 6, 3 and 13 on the way out.

Kelvin King