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Event Director Bob Miller has unveiled the 2010 Wilderness Traverse race course and, as promised, it will take competitors on an epic journey through some of Haliburton’s wildest and most beautiful areas.
Racers will board buses at Sir Sam’s Ski & Summer Resort and travel west to the Poker Lakes Recreation Area parking lot on Hwy 118, more than 20 km west of Carnarvon. Teams will disperse from the start as they head north into the forest for a 10 to 13 km trek through a landscape scattered with lakes that will play a major factor in route choice. There are few trails in this area and virtually none that racers can rely on for navigation. The first CP is at a scenic canoe campsite at a point on Cinder Lake. Because Golden Horseshoe Orienteering generously lent Wilderness Traverse their SportIdent electronic timing system for the event, Miller was able to choose interesting, remote checkpoints without looking for volunteers to staff each one.
After CP1, racers will head north through an area of wetlands, beaver dams and small watercourses until they reach Pine Springs Road, a rugged dirt track that leads to CP2/TA1. Teams will portage their canoes down to Blueglass Lake where they will begin a 36 km paddling journey that follows a little-used canoe route for much of the way, exploring a series of small, remote lakes and travelling down the Black River. Teams will need to develop efficient portaging techniques as they will be doing close to twenty portages totalling about 6 km in length. Along the way, they will visit CP3 on Margaret Lake and CP4 on Red Chalk Lake. After portaging across Hwy 35 north of the Leslie Frost Centre, racers will make their way to CP5/TA2 at the south end of Nehemiah Lake.
The next long trek could be the crux of the race. Most teams will start this section before sunset but everyone can expect to do some of this challenging trek in darkness. Teams will travel 22 to 30 km through classic Canadian Shield terrain that offers many route choices due to its large, irregular lakes and steep, rocky slopes. Some teams may choose to swim or use pack rafts for parts of this trek, while others may feel their speed in the bush is fast enough that they will not gain any advantage by stopping to inflate pack rafts or swim in chilly water.
CP6 is at a canoe campsite on the south shore of Sherborne Lake. Its location on the sprawling lake offers so many different route choices that the course designer can’t wait to see which one proves most successful! The longest trekking leg of the race comes next as racers make their way cross-country to CP7 at the Red Pine Dam on the Kennisis River. From there, teams will head north to a snowmobile trail that will lead them to CP8/TA3 at the public boat launch at Kennisis Dam on the northwest corner of Kennisis Lake.
Racers will pick up their bikes here for a 70 to 76 km wild ride on gravel roads, single track, snowmobile trails and a long powerline trail – classic adventure race riding. The race course takes advantage of the excellent – and gnarly - trail system in the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve which weaves its way through hills, lakes, rocks and wetlands. It will still be dark when the top teams start riding but most competitors are expected to finish the trek after sunrise. Navigation on these trails can be tricky and racers will be fatigued, so they will need good focus to get through this section successfully. Teams on the full course will ride to CPs 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 along trails before hitting the pavement for the final few kilometers to the finish line at Sir Sam’s Resort.
Gallery Photos on this page by Luis Moreira
Check out addtional photos in the Flickr Photostream or the Wilderness Traverse Facebook Page