I don’t think I could have picked two better people to hike with on St. Paddy’s Day. In addition to loving beer, Kate and Andre are both bundles of positive energy with a strong dose of youthful exuberance – or in plain English, they are fun!
Andre and Kate welcomed me with open arms when I joined ING DIRECT a year ago. On my first day at work, I was paraded around the office with a group of new hires. We stopped on the sixth floor and our tour guide paused by Kate’s desk. “You two will be working together,” she said. “A lot.”
Kate flashed her trademark smile and excitedly started talking to me about social business and how we’d be launching some companywide blah, blah, blah. She was so excited to share info on the project with me. I was trying to hang on for dear life as the tour started to pull away and move on to its next stop. That’s Kate and that’s why we enjoy working together – if something needs to get done, we both jump in with both feet and don’t stop.
The first time I met Andre was on a Monday afternoon at staff hockey. Granted, he’d been Tweeting at me for at least week, so when we met face to face, it felt like we were buddies reuniting after years apart. To Andre’s surprise, I was much younger in person than my “old man” Twitter picture had indicated (I have since changed it thanks to his feedback).
Andre is also one half of the work crew that introduced me to the craft beer scene back in December. My taste buds thank him daily, but my #Climb4Cord training regimen despises him.
The three of us congregated at Creekside Ranch (a.k.a. Kate’s house) just before 9am. Once we ensured that the post-hike beer was on ice (Beau’s Strong Patrick Irish Red Ale for St. Paddy’s Day), we proceeded north to the York Regional Forest to start our hike.
We decided to navigate the Eldred King Woodlands, which provided a nice array of up and down trails situated in a forest.
The path was snow covered with some hard pack, but it also featured some icy spots. Andre was the only person to slip and fall, but he will dispute this fact until the day he dies. Unfortunately, he lost on a 2-1 split decision from the judges.
Sunday was cold, but not too cold. The moments in the sun were especially pleasant. The best part of hiking north of the city was how fresh the air was when we were deep in the trees. There was likely no better place to be in the G.T.A. on this day.
I was test-driving a new First Ascent baselayer from Eddie Bauer that was recommended to me by a climbing expert. The midweight 1/4-Zip baselayer did its job, keeping me warm and dry beneath my Arc’teryx shell. This will likely be the combo I will use for hiking in temperatures of +10 degrees to -10 degrees on Mt Kilimanjaro. Anything colder than -10 degrees and I will likely add a thin fleece to provide some warmth.
I don’t like feeling too constricted and I warm up easily, so I’m trying to keep the layers of clothing to a minimum.
We didn’t have a specific trail to follow this week; instead we looked for tree markings and relied on Kate’s extraordinary sense of direction to keep us on the right path. Sadly, we never made it to the pond she was supposed to take us to.
I’m not sure the total distance of our hike because I had some issues with Run Keeper, but it was somewhere between 7-8km, which was right on target.
We had no shortage of things to chat about during the hike, but with our combined attention spans equalling that of a gnat, most conversations were truncated as we jumped from one topic to the next. It only took me an hour and a half to finally finish the story of how I will be able to share social media updates during the climb via satellite.
SOCIAL MEDIA AT 19,341 FEET
This past week I had an outstanding meeting with Roadpost Inc. They are the official communications provider for the #Climb4Cord and will be outfitting me and the team with some pretty cool gear. One of my duties during the climb will be providing updates and media from the trail back to Canada to be shared with the communications teams for each climber. This is clearly a major challenge, but it will be much easier thanks to Roadpost.
Roadpost is providing me with a DeLorme inReach, which will allow our team to leave digital “breadcrumbs” that can be tracked on an interactive map available on any web browser. Followers back in Canada will be able to send us messages through this interactive map. The inReach device will also sync up with my iPhone and allow me to send updates directly to Twitter and Facebook.
Roadpost is also providing me with an Iridium Satellite Phone and an Iridium AxcessPoint which will allow me to send blog posts and photos back to Canada to be shared on various social networks and company blogs.
This will definitely be a change – and a challenge – from posting updates from a comfortable desk in the heart of Canada’s largest city.
One of our tasks during my contract with the Canadian Forces was to create daily television news stories from a simulated battle zone in Wainwright, AB. This often involved spontaneity and creativity – like recording a voiceover with a cardboard box over my head to block out the noise from idling tanks or negotiating to have our tape sent back to the newsroom via helicopter because we were stuck out in the field. We never did miss a deadline!
Another challenge that I’m working on solving is how to keep my iPhone powered up over nine days on the mountain. I think I have found my portable power solution in the HyperJuice Plug 15,600mAh, which should be able to fully recharge an iPhone up to 11 times.
Don’t forget to sign up and join me for a hike. Weekends are filling up fast, but you can always join other people who have already signed up. There are also hikes scheduled for Victoria and Vancouver in May if you are on the west coast and want to meet up.
If you want to lend your support, but don’t want to hike, we have #BeerHikeTO (a pub crawl) coming up on Saturday, April 6th in Toronto. You can also make a donation to the #Climb4Cord via my personal donation page. I have raised just over $9,000 in donations towards my overall goal of $12,000.
This coming Sunday I will be in Vancouver and I will be hiking in the Pacific Spirit Regional Park with my mom. It will be nice to hike on some solid ground and be rid of the snow and ice for at least a week!
The #Climb4Cord features a group of business leaders who will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in August 2013 with the hopes of raising $750,000 for the campaign For All Canadians, which is dedicated to building Canada’s new national public cord blood bank. Click here to donate to my personal page or for more information on the campaign please visit: http://campaignforcanadians.ca/