Renaissance Award Winners complete the Trail
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Two 4th year McMaster University students completed a 3 1/2 week through-hike on the East Coast Trail recently as part of a life enrichment experience.
Anthony D’Ambrosio and Andrew Case, 21, winners of the Drs. Jolie Ringash and Glen Bandiera Renaissance Award, had proposed to step back from the urban academic setting to live in the
outdoors, simply, and in tune with nature. They chose a familiar landscape Andrew has family in Newfoundland remaining in Canada but far from their homes in Ontario.
The scholarship also funded their Advanced Wilderness First Aid certification and a survival training course where they learned to build a primitive shelter.
On June 19, 2014, Andrew and Anthony launched their coastal wilderness hike at Cape St. Francis. No phone, no watches. They could figure out the time roughly by the sun, but
did not always remember what day it was! In preparation, they read Thoreau, and Emerson, and brought along, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
Keeping a journal they plan to post a blog on their return. They carried a camera and took a modest number of photos. A GPS spot tracker allowed their families
knowledge of their whereabouts.
Did they enjoy the Trail? Suffer any hardships?
Only a few blisters, says Anthony, who loved the icebergs, the rugged scenery, the whales, the caplin rolling, and the good air.
People were so friendly, explained Andrew, especially on the southern shore. The boys took up offers of cups of tea, fried caplin, cod tongues, moose sausages,…. and cold beer!
The Spout was also a favourite spot, one they might even revisit before flying back to Hamilton.
The experience of hiking the developed coastal wilderness trail from Cape St. Francis to Cappahayden will probably grow and mature in the memories of these thoughtful lads who came to taste
the flavour and culture of the East Coast Trail and our environment.
Story and photo by J. Van Houwelingen
Andrew Case (L) and Anthony D’Ambrosio (R)