It’s one of the most challenging adventure races in Canada.

The Wilderness Traverse sees teams of up to four try to cover a 140 km course by foot, mountain bike and canoe over challenging terrain.  It’s happening in the Parry Sound area this weekend.

Paddling can be cold this time of year. (Wilderness Traverse Photo)

This year’s race will be at Grand Tappattoo Resort in Seguin. One of the quirks of the race is that the course is not revealed until Friday night at 8:00pm. 12 hours later the teams are on their way trying to find checkpoints on an unmarked course until they reach the finish line. It is a pretty tall challenge for the teams says Assistant Race Director Barb Campbell.

“They navigate entirely with map and compass, nothing is marked,” explains Campbell. “But we do tell them which checkpoints to visit which could be a campsite on a lake or a road junction.”

Campbell admits that not showing the course until the last minute gets people who want to follow the race online a bit confused.

“That is one of the reasons that we like to get the word out to the local media because we have often had a lot of interest from residents who are watching it online,” she explains. “Right now on our website, there are not too many details on there because the course is secret until Friday night.”

While it is a lot of fun and a physical challenge for the participants, the race has a secondary benefit of fundraising for Outward Bound.  Outward Bound is a non-profit organization that seeks to help develop young people through outdoor activities. 

“We feel it is wonderful for people to get outdoors and enjoy this adventure but we know there are people less fortunate and we want to do something for them as well,” says Campbell.

While most races of this type rely on extreme fitness to compete well, this event also relies on teamwork and navigation skills along with some well-timed junk food.

This race has been held in Muskoka and Haliburton in other years and garners a lot of interest online as racers each carry GPS trackers to allow people to follow their progress.

The teams will go all night and finish around 2:00pm Sunday.  You can follow the race by clicking here.