Hiker found by Rangers

  • Sep. 14, 2012 1:00 p.m.

A young adventurer was picked up by Canadian Rangers in Armentieres Channel this Sunday, after spending nine days in the bush.Simon Tourigny, 21, originally from southwest England, has been travelling with his backpack and his dog Paddy for two years. He describes his goal as “just to live in the wild places in the world.” He arrived on Haida Gwaii three weeks ago with a plan to hike to the west coast. He left Alliford Bay on Sept. 1 and walked on Deena West Main until it turned south and he went off the road west using a compass for navigation. Things did not turn out as he expected, however.”I think I started further north than I thought,” he said, “and I was up on a ridge top and it was misty I didn’t know where I was exactly.” At one point the route was so difficult he estimates that he was only travelling 250 metres an hour.He said getting lost definitely made the trip longer than he expected. “I started out in a different place then I thought and so I wouldn’t have gone up there, because I would be climbing up this mountain and there would be cliff faces and I’d look down and think, ‘this wasn’t on my map’.”The young man explained that he must have crossed over Armentieres Channel without realising it when the tide was low, and it wasn’t until he was on top of the ridges of Chaatl Island that he realized he was not where he thought he was. From the ridges he could see down to the water.”I couldn’t understand why there were channels on either side,” he said. After using his map to determine he was on Chaatl he continued his hike to the coast and then returned to Armentieres Channel and chanced across the Canadian Rangers, who were doing an exercise in the area.He was quick to point out that he didn’t need to be rescued, he just needed a ride.”This was the plan to go from here to there and back again, I had enough food for two weeks,” he said. ” I was tired, sure, but this is what the plan was.”Sandspit Canadian Ranger Patrol Commander Peter Grundmann, who was leading the training exercise, agreed that it wasn’t a rescue, as Mr. Tourigny was not lost when he ran into the patrol.”His life wasn’t in danger,” said Mr. Grundmann, “but he said he was nine days in to the hike and he started with two-weeks-worth of food. I’m sure he could have walked out, but he would have been down almost no food at that point, so we were happy to help.””He might have underestimated the terrain,” said Mr. Grundmann, who explained that it’s easy to do on Haida Gwaii, as overland routes are often very difficult. “What looks passable on a map often is not passable, or passable with great difficulty and risk. It sounds like he was taking it slow and easy and it’s really quite amazing how far he did make it.”Mr. Grundmann described the hiker as “level-headed” and said it seemed like he knew what he was doing. “He was in good shape and in good spirits, and we wish him all the best in any further hikes he does.”Mr. Tourigny said he would like to settle in Canada eventually but in the meantime he hopes to travel and explore more, as well as possibly taking a course in wilderness guiding.”This is what I like to do, this is what I want to do, I’d like to get better at it,” he said.

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