Boot(less) on the Bruce
Mountain Life Georgian Bay Fall 2009
There’s a world record for just about anything these days: Most t-shirts worn at one time (155) Longest lawn mower ride (23,487.5km) or the most books typed backwards (67) are just a few examples. Sometimes you can’t help but think to yourself Why didn’t I think of that? Well here’s your chance. No one, yet at least has managed to hike the entire 885 kilometres of the Bruce Trail barefoot. But someone is working on it.
Wolf Starchild (yes, that is his real name) aka Wolfmaan started his shoeless assault on the trail in June with a 60-day leave of absence from his job. He set off strong covering over 100km in the first week, and just under 100 the second week. Then due to poor weather and lack of campsites on the trail, he spent his third week home in Niagara-on-the-lake.
“I really don’t want to be forced to break the law to complete the expedition” he says in a press release, explaining how he couldn’t get permission to camp along the trail.
Weeks four, five and six saw him cover about another 244km (he was going home on weekends to dry out his gear from the wet summer) but it was on week seven that his through-hike came to an end. After drinking some contaminated water he felt a little light-headed and ill, fearing what could happen if he passed out on the trail he requested extraction, according to his blog. A family member picked him up somewhere on the Dufferin Hi-Lands section of the trail.
Growing up in the country, Starchild explains that he has always hiked barefoot. But when he joined a hiking club in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area, the club said he couldn’t come with them without shoes. He was a liability. It was then that Starchild came up with the plan to complete the entire Bruce Trail Barefoot.
“I didn’t ever mean to be out to set a world record by hiking the Bruce Trail barefoot”, he states on his blog “It’s just who I am”
With no injuries to report so far, Starchild says the most challenging parts of the trail are the road sections – especially the gravel sections which are particularly hard on his feet.
Now returning on weekends to wherever he left off, Starchild is continuing his expedition. As we go to print, Starchild is only just at the half way point and admits he won’t hike barefoot in temperatures below 10 Degrees. Which suggest that perhaps he won’t complete the trail until spring or summer 2010. Starchild is the first person to complete the Niagara, Iroquoia, Toronto, Caledon Hills and Dufferin Hi-Lands sections of the Bruce Trail Barefoot. Will he be the first to complete the entire trail? That depends on whether you think your feet are up to the challenge.
Learn more about Starchild on our online exclusive page at mountainlifemag.ca
Wolfmaan Note: I did complete the entire Bruce Trail by the end of Summer 2009, after this article went to press