Manitoulin Island

Juhan Puhm Manitoulin Island Hike

Barrie resident hikes shoreline of Manitoulin
by Tom Sasvari

GORE BAY--With a hike of 170 kilometres across the shoreline from Wikwemikong to South Baymouth, Juhan Puhm has now hiked the entire shoreline of Manitoulin Island and the surrounding Islands.
"I don't think anyone else has done it before, and I don't know if anyone will ever try it again," said Mr. Puhm, of Barrie, who finished this years's hike over an eight day period in August. His hike across all the shorelines was completed in portions each year beginning in 1992.
Mr Puhm hiked the shorelines, "all of Manitoulin Island, including Burnt Island, Barrie Island, Lake Wosley, all five Duck Islands, Cockburn Island, Greene Island, and Steeven Island."
"Oh yeah, it was incredibly rough travel in some areas with rock and boulders," said Mr. Puhm. In total, he travelled about 800 kilometres. The trip started in 1992 on a "short hike" from South Baymouth to Providence Bay, the only year he travelled with a friend. "We did this hike before the Michael's Bay and Carter Bay developement and included Timber Bay," he said. The trip, 60 kilometres in length was done over three days.
In 1994, Mr Puhm hiked from Providence Bay to Murphy's Point, a four to five day trip, and then in 1995 he went, "on a long hike, 120 kilometres in six days, from Murphy's Point to Burnt Island and all the way around to Meldrum Bay, to complete the south shore area." Between 1996 and 1998, he travelled the Greene, Steeven, and Duck Islands, Great Duck Island (with his partner Jane), and Cockburn Island.
"In 1999, the treks started around the North Shore, from Meldrum Bay to Evansville," said Mr. Puhm. He explained, "I've been actually very fortunate that the water levels have been low. It would have been much more rugged if I had to hike over escarpment. If not for the low water levels some of the shoreline would have been almost impossible to do."
In 2000, Mr Puhm travelled to Evansville-Lake Wosley, Barrie Island and Gore Bay, travelling from Gore Bay to Little Current in 2001 and from there to Wiky in 2002. The North Shore of the Island hikes were about 100 kilometres each, he said.
The last leg of the trip Wikwemikong-South Baymouth, "had its treacherous areas, with the escarpment and bluffs, but there is certainly a real nice spirit to that end of the Island," said Mr Puhm.
"When I was nine, my father, brother and I hitchhiked on the Island and ended up in Poplar where we walked to Portage Beach a hike of six miles. In 1992 I decided to hike a little part of the shoreline, and since then I just kept going every year. After that I thought I might as well finish the entire Island and surrounding Islands. It wasn't really a goal to do all this, but through the process it was decided to just continue and finish."
Mr. Puhm acknowledged the help and people he met during the hikes over the years. "I want to thank everyone for their kind words, a shady spot to sit, a drink of water. The encouragement was nice. I want to say a special thanks to Chris and Elfie on the south shore as well as thanks to Brandon and his not so little friends for the hot-dogs they gave me to eat on my way on the last night of the hike over the shoreline. I certainly have a lot of interesting stories to tell from this experience. People will have to wait for the vignettes on my trip to appear in the Recorder for the stories to go with the people and the area that I saw on the trip," continued Mr. Puhm, who said, "next year we will be up here for two weeks of fun and canoeing and camping."
As Mr. Puhm had noted, he will be preparing a series of vignettes on his complete trip over the years, on a periodical basis beginning later this year.

The Manitoulin Expositor, October 8th 2003