“I have a small smoothie for you,” announced the text that arrived from Laurie as I made my way across town to our meeting point near The Beach.
It was the sort of text you would receive from a best friend or family member. But here’s the catch; I had only met Laurie once prior to our #KiliHikeTO engagement. In fact, the meeting was so brief that neither of us could recall at which conference we met.
We share a mutual friend, Heidi, who is one of the more remarkable people you will encounter. Heidi sung high praise of Laurie, so I was eager for our walk through the Glen Stewart Ravine and along the boardwalk of Beaches Park.
Laurie is a bit of a social media rock star (she’ll never admit it) who can actually provide thoughts of substance in a field that adds self proclaimed ninjas at an exponential rate. As a result of our shared passion, the conversation flowed smoothly.
It is always nice to have a long, drawn out conversation with someone who gets social media. You don’t have to expend all your energy explaining why Twitter isn’t a place to talk about what you ate for breakfast. Even novices know Instagram is where food discussions belong! But I digress.
We chatted about social strategy and bounced complex issues off each other as if we’d been friends for decades. Our often scattered conversation leapt from topic to topic like a frog on a lily pad. It reflected the boundless energy that we both possess – even at 9 o’clock on a Sunday morning, pre double-tall soy latte.
Laurie asked plenty of questions about the #Climb4Cord. She was most fascinated by my Delorme inReach device which was tracking our every move and allowing me to send Tweets and Facebook posts via satellite. This will be useful for sharing updates from the remote locations on the trail up Mt. Kilimanjaro.
We also talked about the weather. Ah yes, every Canadian’s favourite topic. Only in our case, it took from KM 5 to KM 8 to finish the story because of our inability to stay focused for more than a couple of seconds.
The route itself was wonderful. I had hiked a similar route with Megan during the first week of March. Only this time it was about 20 degrees warmer. And we stopped for a coffee – a #KiliHikeTO first – but honestly, it was nice to find a bathroom on one of these hikes. Staying hydrated has its consequences.
Laurie was kind enough to take me on an off trail excursion as we ascended Glen Stewart Ravine to conclude our hike. After an up-down-up series on the 100+ stairs, we playfully navigated the ravine walls to wrap up the day.
This special route was technically against the rules posted by the City of Toronto, but as I’m sure you’ve guessed, neither Laurie nor I are ones for rules. In fact, this was a great opportunity to test out my new hiking boots on steep and unstable terrain. They passed the test.
What I failed to mention about Sunday’s hike is that I accomplished 10.14 km on less than six hours of sleep. Why? Because #BeerHikeTO was on Saturday night. You’d think that we would have planned that out a bit better!
Roughly 30 people made an appearance at one or more of the five bars on the #BeerHikeTO route that was meticulously curated by Chris Grimely. Many of the bars welcomed us with open arms. Special thanks to Beerbistro for the complimentary (and delicious) frites and to Joe at WVRST who provided safe passage to our group, despite the massive line.
In addition to catching up with tons of old friends and meeting some great new peeps, we were treated to some outstanding beer selections along the way. For you craft beer nuts, here was my roster of beers for the night. The beer list is courtesy of an app called Untappd:
- Al’s Cask Ale by C’est What
- Nut Brown Ale by Black Oak Brewing Company
- Pompous Ass EPA by Great Lakes Brewery
- Aphrodisiaque by Brasserie Dieu du Ciel
- Hennepin Farmhouse Saison by Brewery Ommegang
- Barn Raiser by Niagara Oast House Brewery
- Legendary Oddity by Muskoka Brewery
- 25th Anniversary Bourbon Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout by Great Lakes Brewery
For a more complete recap of #BeerHikeTO, make sure to check out the official Storify.
From a campaign standpoint, I continue to creep closer to my fundraising goal of $15,000. To date, I have been able to raise $12,624 thanks to the generosity of family, friends and strangers. Every dollar counts and takes us one step closer to realizing our goal of a national public umbilical cord blood bank.
Thanks for taking the time to read my latest update. As the weather warms up, consider joining me for a hike. I promise it will be the best thing you do before noon on a Sunday!
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/