So, you're braver than I thought! Well, you've come this far, you may as well read on!

Just a note before you start, in verse 7 read "treeline" for "near the end of the tree". Hope you enjoy it!

                   The Long Range Hike of the 42nd St. John's Pathfinders

                            A wilderness hike late in July, 
                            No way to spend a vacation,
                            Nine people astray, to wander all day,
                            An escape from daily frustration.

                            An idea born in Wendy's sharp mind, 
                            It was fed by Jim's sense of adventure,
                            And Jackie came too, with help for the crew,
                            Then Pathfinders joined in the venture.

                            On July 23, they set out to drive 
                            To Gros Morne, the Park that is western,
                            With mountains so tall, and rivers not small,
                            The challenge would be a good test for them.

                            The first day it rained, so not to sit tight, 
                            They drove for eight hours to visit
                            Lance-aux-Meadows, up north, an old Viking hearth,
                            The Grease songs helped everyone do it.

                            Next day in the sun the boat ride they took, 
                            To the head of Western Brook Pond,
                            And as they got off, the captain did scoff, 
                            "I think they will not be too long!"

                            After lunch on the dock the spirits were high; 
                            Eight others were willing to go;
                            They started up hill, along a steep trail;
                            They decided to walk very slow.

                            After hours of walk and flies and wet shirts, 
                            They arrived 'near the end of the tree',
                            "Where did the trail go?" leaders wanted to know, 
                            The flagging was nowhere to see.

                            The trail was quite crude, not easy to find, 
                            The muscles, legs and backs, were quite tired,
                            But onward they went, with energy spent, 
                            They had hoped to o'erlook the fjord.

                            They camped on the edge of the mountain so high, 
                            Asleep before dark of the night,
                            But at 6, in the morn', they had vented their scorn, 
                            And quite ready to climb the full height.

                            Four hours to reach the first camp on the trail, 
                            They had lunch on that friendly ground,
                            Then onward they tore for 5 kilos more, 
                            'Til fog covered hills all around.

                            "Let's camp here tonight," the hike leader said, 
                            He wanted to be sure he was there,
                            That night they shared ground with caribou all around;
                            'Twas morning when Wendy cried, "Bear!"

                            Few were awake to hear the loud scream, 
                            And fewer still came to look 'bout,
                            Sleepy faces did frown but snuggling down, 
                            Was far better than chasing a rout.

                            By 10 they had reached their planned second stop, 
                            The Park cabin on old Harding's Pond,
                            But the resting was quick, the flies were quite thick;
                            Now the leader's direction was gone.

                            They were lost on the hill, it wasn't a thrill, 
                            "Where's the trail?" the hike leader did say,
                            He convinced them he knew what he had to do, 
                            To lead them back to the right way.

                            Well, find it he did, and they went to the ponds
                            Between which they had to pass, too,
                            Then up the next hill, the walking went well,
                            "What's this! I'm soaked through and through!"

                            The rain thundered down, as they put up the tents,
                            They tried hard to keep everything dry,
                            In anguish that night, in their sleeping bags tight,
                            Each asked the same question, "Oh, Why?"

                            Next morn' in the sun, they packed and were gone
                            By 8, right on time for these guys,
                            But the fog came again and covered them in;
                            How they wished they were rid of the flies.

                            The skies soon were blue as the fog moved away,
                            The hikers were back on the trail,
                            "Have a river to cross!", "Make up time that is lost!"
                            "Ah, this is no place for the frail!"

                            That evening at 6, they had reached the far side, 
                            Looking down from the cliff with a frown,
                            From the edge of the world, said each hiking girl,
                            "Not another damn hill to climb down!"

                            They had reached the good trail that led from Gros Morne,
                            It was only 6 K to the road,
                            Everyone had a fear that darkness was near,
                            "Can we make it and carry this load?"

                            Well, make it they did, that brave little crew,
                            Having conquered the mountains of Morne,
                            They had said that they would, they had proven they could,
                            They had one thing to say, "Let's go home!"

                                                                  Jim Butler     
                                                                  August 11, 1994


                                          Things I Remember From The Hike ...

                                                                               Flies,
                                                                            The hill,
                                                                        Grease songs,
                                                                   Lance-aux-Meadows,
                                                            Cathy's torn splashpants,
                                                     Jillian losing her water bottle,
                                                  Paula's many trips to the bathroom,
                                           Michelle quietly tolerating all the flies,
                                         The kind lady who drove us to Rocky Harbour,
                                     Patricia's difficult struggle up the first hill,
                                The fear on Jennifer's face as she crossed the river,
                             Jackie's carefree attitude and helpfulness at all times,
                          Wendy's persistence and determination to complete the hike,
                        The "penguin walk" we all did the night we finished the trek,
                      But, mainly, the monumental task we all took on, and completed!

© James Butler, 1994


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