“I’m White Blaze Kookork!”

And with that, I met not only my first thruhiker, who is on his second Bruce Trail thruhike, but also someone whom I had met online, “Are you Bruce Traillium?”

One of the most useful learning tools in my preparation for this venture has been reading backpacking online forums. White Blaze is one of three I read, though it is generally oriented to the Appalachian Trail. Once I mentioned that I was planning to thruhike the Bruce Trail, ‘Kookork’ relied with excellent tips and an open offer to help. We corresponded several times but that was all. 

All set for breakfast!

So imagine my surprise while I was having breakfast at Swayze Falls when an obvious thruhiker came up to me. “I’m White Blaze Kookork! Are you the Bruce Traillium?”

Bruce Traillium and Kookork

Small world, eh? And couldn’t have come at a better time! He’s experienced, has very carefully thought his gear through, is traveling  far more lightweight than I’m packing, and is fascinating to chat with! 

a brilliant fresh Red Trillium, Trillium erectum

So I talk botany and ecology, and he talks about his thruhike, about Iran, about his gorgeous intelligent friendly and responsive Sheltie dog (also on his second thruhike in six years!), and about lightweight hiking. He ‘should’ be beginning his Pacific Coast Trail thruhike from Mexico up the costal mountains beginning in California and ending at the Canadian  border, but his visa has not come through. He’s re-thought his lightweight gear and is way down below what I’m lugging in my heavy pack. 

lightweight wood-burning stove

There’s so much timely stuff to act on to get me to carrying a more comfortable long-distance backpack. I’ve made some good choices; now to make tougher ones before getting to my niece’s in Hamilton. I’ll be filling a mailing envelope to send home … I’ll keep one headlamp instead of two, two hats (warm + brimmed) instead of four, probably send binoculars home (saving 455 grams alone! …); and many other things as well. “Ounces make pounds!”

goodnight from Ball’s Falls!

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