Archive for August, 2011


Jack Layton

   Posted by: Andrew    in News, Quest

At approximately 4:45am, August 22nd 2011, The Honourable Jack Layton passed away, surrounded by loved ones.

This is the ending to a long story of an incredibly strong man battling with cancer, and it’s one that – publicity aside – is all too common in our lives.

Jack Layton came from a long line of politicians, and – regardless of personal views about his beliefs – was very clearly willing to fight for what he thought was right. He was a strong leader; the New Democratic Party (NDP) had 19 seats during his first election in 2004, and 103 seats in 2011, becoming the Official Opposition party for the first time in the party’s history.

He was also a cancer survivor, in every sense of the term. He announced in early February 2010 that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, vowing to overcome it and declaring that it would not stop him in his fight – that it would not affect his duties as a Member of Parliament or as leader of the NDP. His father was also a cancer survivor, having survived a bout with prostate cancer in 2003. His wife, Olivia Chow, had fought thyroid cancer.

On July 25th of this year, he announced that he had been diagnosed with a new, unspecified type of cancer, and he decided to take a leave of absence, expecting to return in September when Parliament reconvenes. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to act as Opposition Leader.

This particular story is very much in the public eye, and very rightly so, but it’s not unique, or even uncommon. Very few of us can say that we don’t personally know someone who has fought with cancer, and most people could name two or three. Unfortunately, a cure for cancer is not as simple as a cure for other diseases; this is why we’re Questing for the Cure. Millions of Canadians are grieving today for Jack Layton, of all political stripes.

Next fall, I’m sure that he will be on our minds as we set out. Rest in Peace, Jack Layton.

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Walking Scotland Legally Part 1.

   Posted by: Drew    in Research

The path we’d take during this walk was something that we mulled over and altered a few times.  Admittedly planning a walking trip across a landmass you’ve yet to even visit is tricky at best.  In truth, it had been our hope to across cross much of Ireland in our pursuit of the cure.  However a small amount of research proved that camping on foot across Ireland would be difficult, for the same reason that it would be in many countries.  That reason being the illegality of wild camping.  If we were bringing vehicles or simply backpacking, this might not have been a concern.  However planning to travel from one legal campsite to the next on foot seemed a lot less practical, or at the very least logistically a lot more difficult.

Wild camping in Scotland however seemed to be a different story.  At least the The Land Reform Act 2003 has lead me to believe so.  One of my primary concerns with our trip was the extent of which we could stuck to our fantasy/medieval theme, while still being both ethical and law abiding campers.  As such, my next few series of posts will be dedicated to answering questions such as the following:

-Do wild camping laws apply to tourists?
-Where can we construct fires?
-Can we carry torches or oil lamps?
-Bow hunting is illegal, however do such laws apply to crossbows?
-If crossbow hunting is legal, what kind of license would we need?
-What can we hunt?
-How can we obtain fishing licenses?
-What of our equipment might not be legal to bring across the boarder?
-How easily can we stay to our theme, while still adhering to proper camping etiquette?  This question primarily referring to camp construction, fire building, and of course toiletries.

This list is likely to expand as research is preformed. However this remains for now our starting point.

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These Shoes Were Made For Walkin’

   Posted by: Dan    in Research

Last week I realized that I needed new shoes.

My running shoes I got very gently-used second-hand back in August. They lasted a surprisingly long time – the extra weight on my frame tends to wreak havoc on my poor footwear and it almost never lasts this long. They’re even still good, if slowly degrading; I can feel my feet aching a little more on longer walks than they used to, and on one of my long walks in July I hurt the arch of my right foot.

Looking through dozens of articles on marathon running and walking online in the days leading up to a Payless sale that Andrew told me about, I found some great points that I thought it would be relevant to share here.

First and foremost, how a shoe is actually supposed to fit. Half an inch of room in the toe. Snug enough that the heel doesn’t slide around and cause blisters. Things that I knew on some level but didn’t pay enough conscious attention to when shoe-shopping before.

I also learned that walking shoes and running shoes are made differently. Walking shoes have softer heels, usually even curved upwards, because walking is a very different motion than running and you usually step down on your heel first, unlike in running where the balls of your feet are the highest-impact areas.

But the thing that made the most impact (ba-dum ching!) was a simple number that I read on several websites: that the lifespan of a pair of good shoes tends to be between 300 and 500 miles of walking. They’ll stay together after that, but that’s when they start degrading.

To me that’s a hell of a sign. But it also means that the shoes I bought last week will only last me about half of the year between now and the Quest, and that’s if I don’t walk quite as much as I want to… but I’m going to keep a tally of how many kilometres I walk in this pair and see how it goes.

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