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Event Director Bob Miller has revealed the 2011
Wilderness Traverse race course and, as promised,
it will provide competitors with physical and navigational
challenges as they travel point to point through some of
Haliburton’s wildest and most remote areas.
Racers will board buses at Stanhope Firefighters Community
Centre and ride 20 km to the end of Bingham road just north
of Minden. At 8 a.m. they will set off on a 35 km wilderness
trek through a vast expanse of Crown land, heading roughly
northwest. They will visit CPs at two remote hunt camps and a canoe campsite on Big East Lake. This area is sprinkled with rocky hills, small lakes and alder-filled swamps that may interfere with forward progress. The course will reward teams that stay in contact with their maps and choose their routes carefully rather than just following major ATV trails or bushwhacking on a bearing for long distances.
Racers may stumble onto minor hunting and ATV trails in addition to the major ones that have been mapped. The trails are faster than the bush but they seldom go in the right direction for long, so navigators will need to make tough decisions about when to abandon them and start bushwhacking. Much of the forest is fast and open but there are a few sections where it is thick with heavy deadfall. The first transition area is located where a major ATV trail crosses Hwy 118 south of Anson Lake.
This long trek is expected to take teams 6-12 hours. It is too early in the race for this leg to determine the winner but if a team has problems, it could certainly knock them out of contention.
Racers will transition to bikes and head north of Hwy 118 on ATV trails. At first, deep potholes, mud puddles and fallen branches will test the riders’ patience. But after a few kilometers, they will be rewarded with fast double track that leads north to CP5 at Pine Springs Road, then west toward the Black River.
Teams cross the river and head north through Bigwind Provincial Park on a hilly, rocky track that passes CP6 and leads out of the park, finishing at CP7 at Echo Lake. After a few kilometers of paved road, teams will turn southeast into a network of fast hilly logging roads and ATV trails and will finish with a few kilometers of rough snowmobile trail before Shoe Lake Road, then head down to the Raven Lake access point on Hwy 35.
This bike leg is 65-70 km long and will take teams 5-10 hours. There will be a domino effect for teams that had problems with the opening trek, as they will have more difficulty finding trail junctions in the dark.
At TA2, teams transition to canoes for a 35-40 km paddle and portage section through the Haliburton Highlands Waterways. Most teams will be paddling in the dark and many will fight the sleepmonsters and navigation issues that are common on the water at night. It will take 6-10 hours to make their way to CP9 at a canoe campsite on Sherborne Lake, then northwest to CP10 at Kennisis Dam before dropping their canoes at TA3 near the marina at Little Hawk Lake.
To get to Stanhope, racers will trek 10-12 km through the Algonquin Highlands trail system, tackling some steep slopes and picking up two CPs along the way to the finish line and a well-earned nap!
Team Shed Coffee Bar
Gallery Photos on this page by Luis Moreira
Check out addtional photos in the Flickr Photostream or the Wilderness Traverse Facebook Page