Wednesday, May 23, 2012

FFP 2012: The Hikers

I once again was privileged enough to be able to get out and hike the Fundy Footpath (FFP) this spring.  Many people have been asking "When are you going to post your pictures to Facebook?"  I'm going to resist that temptation and instead post my photos here in a manner which will hopefully show you various aspects of our trip and the scenic icons of the FFP.

Before I can discuss the trip though I need to introduce you to the hikers who completed the 50km, 4 day trip, with me.  This introduction is important because all of these people are important to me and they are all family.  I'm not sure if such records are kept on hikers of the FFP, but I'm sure the feat we completed is rare.  You see there were three generations of Whalens on this trip.  I'll introduce you to them from youngest to oldest but will not be using the youths names.

Our youngest hiker was 12 years old and despite being the youngest and shortest he likely hiked the fastest pace.  My nephew impressed all of us with his ability to keep walking even when missing home big time.  Never liking to smile, he struggled to hide his smile every time we came across waterfalls or shorelines.  His inquisitive mind peppered me with multiple questions about the trail, camp sites, and various other topics.  It was a treat to have him along and I hope to share many more backpacking adventures with him.

My oldest nephew was the tallest hiker with us yet he chose to lumber along at a leisurely pace but his long legs easily gobbled up the terrain.  He took in all that was around him and his 15year old perception missed little.  He absorbed the small things and stood in awe of the larger events such as Tweedle Dum Tweedle Dee Falls where he couldn't resist the urge to wade in and splash around in the pool at the bottom of the falls.



My sister Becki was also completing the FFP for the first time and hadn't hiked with me in over 15years, when we completed the Dobson Trail together.  As a single mother it was her determination and hard work ethic that pushed her through some blisters and getting stuck in mud during the Goose River tidal flat crossing.  "This is awesome!!" became her motto over the four days including after eating her 4th piece of cake at the opening weekend celebration of the Fundy Trail Parkway when we finished the hike.

Luke is my brother and being only a year younger than me, we have experienced many camping adventures together and know each other well.  He is strong, dependable, and resourceful.  With him along, I had no worries that his boys would be well looked after as would the rest of us.  He is not what you call a frequent flyer when it comes to backpacking but he spends a great deal of time outside in the woods and even though he seldom smiles he always enjoys it.


The oldest and most experienced hiker, outside of myself, on the trip was my father.  His Montreal Canadiens hockey jersey has seen every inch of the Fundy Footpath.  He has likely hiked the trail end to end more than half a dozen times.  His slow and steady pace allows him to see what others miss.  His pride in watching his kids and grand kids enjoy doing what he brought them up doing can easily be seen in his easy smile.  His role as mediator insured that even during the toughest day on the trail every one got along.  He could lighten a tense moment with a simple word or touch.


The last hiker was me.  I have hiked the FFP, end to end, more than 20 times including a couple of solo treks, not to mention a number of partial hikes along the trail.  I was organizing the hike this time and planned the hiking schedule and meals.  The goal was to keep a relaxed pace and make the best of the camping time. I was so proud to be a part of this team and my father at 62 easily reasserted himself as my hero.  I only hope that I can hike the trails with my son at 62.

Over the next few blog entries I hope to tell you about a few iconic locations along the trail and how three generations observed the many natural assets of this trail.
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