Sunday, June 28, 2009

not since moses

road warrior 2 is in the herald today, exploring tatamagouche.

it's been an exhilarating, exhausting weekend, and it's still sunday! last night i was so tired my brain ached. on friday, i got my long-sought tour of the diefenbunker near truro. i started out just trying to get inside the decommissioned cold war nuclear fallout shelter and spent a few weeks chasing names on phones and emails before finally reaching the new owner. exploring dank concrete halls deep beneath the earth in pursuit of a mysterious, cigar-smoking man with a plan for revolution was worth the effort in tracking him down. i've started writing it for next sunday's column - it's been the most fun to write so far.

yesterday was the amazing not since moses run/walk. not since moses has the sea parted to allow hundreds of pilgrims to pass: in this case, the sea was the bay of fundy, aided by the highest tides in the world. a few hundred adventurers gathered at the shore in five islands and awaited the departure of the tide. when it was gone - or gone enough - we started the 90-minute trek across the sea bed to the awaiting islands.

i had my official moses shoes on - the same pair of sneaker-sandals i sported when i climbed mt sinai in egypt last year. they were the perfect choice, as the terrain ranges from 8 inches of mud to 3 feet of water to stone and sand. i have no idea how the runners managed to not perish on such a rough road. my group had a strict no-trotting policy: our goal was to walk as slowly as the tide would allow. i mean, how often are you able to stroll the bottom of the sea? what's the big rush to finish? crabs scuttle about, shells are everywhere. take a moment to enjoy it!

a handy tip: walk behind someone you don't know. several times we had to ford an outflowing pocket of tide and after the hour mark, we were quite confident. the man in front of us strode into another pocket and plunged in up to his waist. we politely detoured around his flailing self.

the route ends at long island. for the 10k runners, this is via a spectacular route around 2 outer islands (so i was told), for 5k runners/walkers, it's a pretty straight hike. there, race organizer dick lemon has a few amazing properties. i gather he rents them out - including a lighthouse overlooking the tidal basins - and he was kind enough to let us explore while we awaited the tide. after a few hours, enough water has returned to facilitate the boat lift. as one woman said, it was like a pleasant dunkirk as a few hundred people basked in the sun in a little cove, smelling of mud and happiness.

in fact as we were sitting there, one of my group told a tale about a relative who had been manning the binoculars on the titanic, and whose life had been ruined by the guilt of surviving - until dunkirk. on that disastrous WW2 debacle, he powered a boat over to france and rescued many british soldiers, redeeming himself to himself.

not since moses is an annual event and it books up fast - mark it in your calender now.
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