Peter Verbeek and His Wilderness Crossings

Peter was instrumental in laying down the initial route of the Wilderness section through the QEII Wildlands, and coached many hikers across it. He completed the entire Ganaraska Hiking Trail 5 or 6 times. He also served as Trail Director, Membership Director and Secretary for the Ganraska Hiking Trail Association Inc. Peter passed away in 2019. There is a memorial plaque for Peter in the Wilderness section of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail.

Frieda Baldwin

The Ganaraska Trail – Peter’s End-to-End

Some want to see rivers, some want to see fish.

Lakes, hillsides or forests are what others wish.

Whatever the wonderful pleasures you seek,

Follow the trail of Peter Verbeek.

In theory we start the Trail at Port Hope.

In practice we walked to the town down the slope.

Whatever direction it’s twentyfive k.

By anyone’s measure that’s quite a long way.

We stop along the way to rest.

Peter always has a jest.

Of bears that like pepper, bears that like bells.

This is the favourite whopper he tells.

In Lindsay we saw a fish get hooked.

Dad held it up while all his kids looked.

In Fenelon Falls the firemen play.

The hikers have to dodge the spray!

Beyond Burnt River the bugs do swarm

And wearing a bugnet can get rather warm.

But even though the bugs are biting,

Following a bear can be quite exciting.

The Wilderness part is the hardest by far.

For this is somewhere that you can’t go by car.

It’s tough but it’s lovely and well worth the pain.

You’d miss most of it if you went by float plane.

Of course, there is always much more I could say,

Of railtrails and forests and towns on the way.

But “Zoom, Zoom” I’m going, no more time I will take.

Unless we stop for a trivia break.

There’s a last stream to cross without getting wet.

Some think tree trunks, or bare feet, may be the best bet,

But Peter, our leader, has “water wings” brought

And we’re walking on water, with never a thought.

Our trail is completed at Wasaga Beach.

We all are delighted this target to reach.

A very fine welcome the Wasaga Club make,

With speeches and photos and even a cake.

Some want to see rivers, some want to see fish.

Lakes, hillsides or forests are what others wish.

Whatever the wonderful pleasures you seek,

Follow the trail of Peter Verbeek.

Poem by Wilf and Mary Bradnock from Ottawa

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