Media Coverage

Friday, 13 November 2009

Naked Feet - A way to improve the world?

A fascinating short video about a bloke who believes that the world would be a better place if we all went barefoot.

Cheers to you mate!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Boot(less) on the Bruce

Boot(less) on the Bruce
Collin Field
Mountain Life Georgian Bay Fall 2009

There's a world record for just about anything these days: Most t-shirts worn at one time (155) Longest lawn mower ride (23,487.5km) or the most books typed backwards (67) are just a few examples. Sometimes you can't help but think to yourself Why didn't I think of that? Well here's your chance. No one, yet at least has managed to hike the entire 885 kilometres of the Bruce Trail barefoot. But someone is working on it.

Wolf Starchild (yes, that is his real name) aka Wolfmaan started his shoeless assault on the trail in June with a 60-day leave of absence from his job. He set off strong covering over 100km in the first week, and just under 100 the second week. Then due to poor weather and lack of campsites on the trail, he spent his third week home in Niagara-on-the-lake.

“I really don't want to be forced to break the law to complete the expedition” he says in a press release, explaining how he couldn't get permission to camp along the trail.

Weeks four, five and six saw him cover about another 244km (he was going home on weekends to dry out his gear from the wet summer) but it was on week seven that his through-hike came to an end. After drinking some contaminated water he felt a little light-headed and ill, fearing what could happen if he passed out on the trail he requested extraction, according to his blog. A family member picked him up somewhere on the Dufferin Hi-Lands section of the trail.

Growing up in the country, Starchild explains that he has always hiked barefoot. But when he joined a hiking club in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area, the club said he couldn't come with them without shoes. He was a liability. It was then that Starchild came up with the plan to complete the entire Bruce Trail Barefoot.

“I didn't ever mean to be out to set a world record by hiking the Bruce Trail barefoot”, he states on his blog “It's just who I am”

With no injuries to report so far, Starchild says the most challenging parts of the trail are the road sections – especially the gravel sections which are particularly hard on his feet.

Now returning on weekends to wherever he left off, Starchild is continuing his expedition. As we go to print, Starchild is only just at the half way point and admits he won't hike barefoot in temperatures below 10 Degrees. Which suggest that perhaps he won't complete the trail until spring or summer 2010. Starchild is the first person to complete the Niagara, Iroquoia, Toronto, Caledon Hills and Dufferin Hi-Lands sections of the Bruce Trail Barefoot. Will he be the first to complete the entire trail? That depends on whether you think your feet are up to the challenge.

Learn more about Starchild on our online exclusive page at

Wolfmaan Note: I did complete the entire Bruce Trail by the end of Summer 2009, after this article went to press

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Bruce Trail Completed

Bruce Trail Completed – FINAL PRESS RELEASE
October 2009

After 8 weeks of thru-hiking, and several week-end hikes, barefoot adventurer Wolf Starchild aka Wolfmaan has completed the entire Bruce Trail barefoot.

Starchild, from Niagara-on-the-lake, Ontario is the first person to complete the entire Bruce Trail from Queenston to Tobermory barefoot.

“I pushed and pushed” Starchild said “Most of the upper sections of the trail were just a big blur.” Starchild stating some days he hiked 20 to 30km to get the trail done and slept in his Jeep at the side of the road. 2009 was the wettest summer in over a decade. Starchilds progress was hampered by poor weather conditions most of the summer which forced him to take return home weekends to dry out equipment. Starchild's biggest regret is not taking many photos on the last part of his trip "I was too focused on finishing than taking photographs."

“Arriving at the observation stairs in Tobermory, and passing the Bruce Trail visitor Center was like a homecoming” Starchild remarks. “I walked through the streets of Tobermory dirty, sore, and half asleep. I touched the North Carin and had tears running down my face” An emotional end to a long summers journey.

Less than 2,000 people have completed the Bruce Trail end-to-end since its inception in the 1960's. Starchild is the first person to have completed it barefoot with a media fanfare including articles published in newspapers and magazines as well as various adventure news sites on the internet.

What's next for Starchild? “After completing a book about my trip, Most likely the Appalachian Trail in 2011” he states.

The Bruce Trail Conservancy, the governing body for the Bruce Trail was not available for comment.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

1957 M606 Military Jeep

Greg Kolowzu
Military History Journal

During the Second World War (1939 – 1945) a new type of vehicle was created. The likes of which the world had never seen. The compact, petrol powered lightweight 4wd jeep.

Wolfmaan's Willys jeep is a military version of the Willys CJ3B produced from 1952 to 1968 with a total of 155,000 are produced including both Military and Civilian models.

The M606 was pretty much just the CJ-3B straight off the assembly line, with the same serial numbers as the civilian version. The military version took the heavy-duty options like larger tyres and springs, a special rear bumper to hold the Pintle Hook and bumperettes, and a black-out lamp on the front left fender. The military CJ-3B also had a specific windshield not used on civilian models.

One of the most unique differences between the M606 and the M-38 (which look identical) is the M606 has a 6-volt electrical system rather than the standard military 24-volt. The M606 also has a longer wheelbase, and has an F-Head hurricane engine rather than the Flat Head – this explains the “High Hood” look of the M606.

Some CJ-3B’s purchased by the Military Police and Navy did not have the military blackout and marker lamps.

Approaching Wolfmaan's Willy's m606 jeep today, it's small stature still looks impressive. His M606 is in immaculate condition. Bright and shiny tyres connected to two steel frame rails which protrude from the front and hold the all metal front bumper.

The bumper, displaying a customised Ontario license plate “Wolfmaan” is overshadowed by a metal plate in the shape of a maple leaf which has a Legion logo on it surrounded by the words “Lest We Forget”. These plates are commonly seen on the graves of World War II veterans. “It was a gift from my grandfather, who was very active in the Royal Canadian Legion.” Wolfmaan comments.

Feeling the metal of the vehicle is impressive. There is no give and the vehicle feels solid. They certainly don't make vehicles like this anymore.

Climbing into the vehicle, it becomes apparent how much ground clearance the M606 has compared to a modern day car. Sitting in the drivers seat, a thin Bakelite steering wheel is directly infront of you. The seat is not adjustable and is bolted over-top of the petrol tank.

Simple is the word that best describes it's interior. With no fancy bells, whistles or switches there is a small key hole, three knobs and a spedometer which has a petrol gage and temperature guage.

One black knob is for the head lamps, another is the choke and a third controls the idle of the vehicle.

Beside you on the left hand side sits three separate gear shifters. The one closest to the driver is a simple, manually operated three-speed transmission. First and Third gear are non-synchronised and second gear is synchronised. The middle shifter is for for the four wheel drive on and off, and the far lever is for four wheel drive high and low. Certainly more complex than today's automatic transmissions with a single lever and push-button four wheel drive.

The glove box sits under the passenger seat. You must lift the passenger seat until it touches the windscreen to expose what looks like a toolbox welded in place. It's quite large and was designed to hold a lot of stuff. Currently it has Wolfmaan's ownership, insurance and cleaning cloths stored in it.

Starting up the vehicle it can be described as having “that army jeep sound” as it slowly cranks over and coughs to life. Adjusting the choke is paramount or the vehicle will stall out shortly after starting up.

The vehicle runs remarkably well for rolling off the assembly line over 50 years ago. “I give her a new oil filter and new oil each year” Wolfmaan says. “I run synthetic oil in the engine, normally Royal Purple or Lucas Oil brand”.

As Wolfmaan takes the seat with his bare tattooed feet on the metal pedals, it becomes apparent how exposed you are in an antique war machine such as this. Looking out the passenger side there is nothing separating you from the road, and no seat belt to hold you in. “This isn't a modern day vehicle” Wolfmaan says. “You have to grab it by the reigns and keep control and drive at all times or like a bronco, it will buck you off.” Surely difficult to drive vehicles such as this would put an end to using mobile phones while driving.

Listening to the 4 cylinder engine and 3 speed transmission wind up, we speed off from his driveway onto a busy road you could feel the engine work hard to maintain 80km/h, which is wasn't designed to do.

The vehicle would take quite some time to get used to as by today's standards does not feel safe. You're exposed, not strapped in, and right on the scene if you get into an accident. Wolfmaan reminds me that it's just like riding a motorcycle with four wheels and carries the same dangers, but there is no requirement to wear a helmet.

“The best part about driving an antique war vehicle like this are the people and stories” Wolfmaan says. He goes on to explain that he often meets veterans who remember learning to drive in these exact vehicles. Often veterans take the time to share stories of their experiences they've had in Jeeps during various wars.

“I was honoured to have two Korean War veterans ride in the back of my M606 during a Veterans Day parade in 2009” Wolfmaan said “It's so nice to keep history alive and remember those who died for the little freedom we have left”

As a Canadian Adventurer, Wolfmaan says this is his favourite vehicle to drive for short trips around his home town of Niagara-on-the-lake, as well as neighbouring cities running errands or just driving down backroads on weekends.

When asked if he ever takes the vehicle off road he quickly says “The vehicle was designed to take humans to the ends of the earth. I want to keep this one in mint condition and try never to take it off the road if I can help it”

It was an honour and pleasure to meet adventurer Wolfmaan and take a quick drive in his historic war machine. Sadly there are few people who take the time to preserve and operate these pieces of our past.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

New Slideshow Video Released

Many people who view my material have requested videos and documentary videos of my adventures.

Below are two slide-show releases of videos.

If there is enough positive response from these slideshows, I will create documentary's of Team Wolfmaan expeditions.

Please comment and rate the videos if you enjoy them.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

'Barefooters' take to the road

'Barefooters' take to the road
TALKER: Journalist takes the streets as the first barefoot journalist
***NOTE Wolfmaan did not write this article***

I'm naked on the sidewalk.

Embarrassment creeps over me as my sweaty socks come off and I stand on one of the busiest downtown streets baring my virgin souls.

I may have just become -- for a brief stroll -- Canada's first roving, barefoot journalist.

There's a movement afoot, according to blogs, social networking groups and dedicated sites, of people who shun shoes in favour of feeling the concrete under their toes.

They are "barefooters." The rest of us are simply "shoddies."

Pinning down an exact number of urban barefooters is as difficult as agreeing on the tally of Communist sympathizers in 1950s America. It seems to carry the same social stigma. But on Facebook alone, you'll get more than 2,400 hits when you search for "barefoot."

A few months ago, Al Gauthier launched,dedicated to all things barefoot. From his home in New Westminster, B. C., he even podcasts the latest news on the lifestyle -- and every month, the number of visitors to the site doubles.

"Eventually, I think it will be considered normal to be barefoot in everyday life, in the same way it is now considered normal to be barefoot on the beach," Gauthier believes.

When retired Windsor, Ont., auto worker Bryan MacDonald shows up each Sunday at his Baptist church to play the organ -- all his toes exposed -- no one seems to notice.

"The congregation really has no problem with it," says the 64-year-old barefooter, who spends 99% of the time foot-loose.

He shops barefoot, drives barefoot and only puts on flip-flops now and then to appease his wife. Come winter, only occasionally will he drag out his old factory work boots.

Even as you're reading this, Wolf Starchild -- a 32-year-old "son of a hippie" -- is trying to barefoot hike the 850 km-long Bruce Trail, in southern and central Ontario.

The bottoms of his feet are as resilient as shoe leather.

"People need to lose their prejudice against barefooters," he complains. "If people were more educated and realized it doesn't make you a freak -- it makes you stronger and tougher -- there may be more acceptance."

There are pockets of devotees in every province, and an entire breed of athlete and marathoners who choose to discard artificial souls.

They are foot soldiers in a quiet war raging for 1,000 years -- between the shod and the unshod.

For most of us, walking comes naturally. We even do it while chewing gum.

But growing evidence suggests we may be messing with perfection.

A 2007 study at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, found, before we put on shoes, our feet were in better shape, and that cultures which do without footwear are healthier than our own.

But I've always been a big supporter of keeping my 10 little piggies wrapped up tight while going to market -- or anywhere else.

So my guide this morning is 39- year-old Toronto advertising creative director, Mauricio Morales. But you can just call him Barefoot Moe. About 90 per cent of the time he's naked below the ankles.

"I'm a very touchy, feely kind of person, so I like the feel of pavement under my feet," he says, as we saunter downtown -- a few people nearby looking at the shoes in my hands like I was carrying dead kittens around.

Moe grew up in El Salvador, and longed to just kick off his shoes.

"I even had to wear flip-flops in the shower," he recalls.

"It was almost like a longing to free my feet openly."

I catch a few sour gazes launched at us by passersby, but my attention is really focused on tracking the occasional discarded ketchup pack and bit of dog crap.

Feet clean up pretty easily, Moe points out.

I feel like I'm on vacation -- the bottoms of my feet slapping pavement with soft happy sounds.

We pass by the homeless wearing shoes. Even a baby in a stroller with little leather sandals.

But Moe sees hope for those who shod not.

He points to new lines of sneakers with toes, designed to mimic being barefoot without stripping bare.

"People will start to look at shoes like we look at gloves for our hands or hats for our heads," he hopes.

We finish our bare bottom walkabout, and Moe praises what a natural I am at walking.

But 10 minutes after he leaves, I am frantically washing my feet in an office washroom sink -- my black-leather shoes waiting impatiently within reach.

Even after a little bit of freedom, the inhibited habits of your average shoddie are hard to kick after 1,000 years.

- - -

Shoe facts

Remember the toed-socks your grandmother gave you for a present when you were nine years old? Who knew she was ahead of a trend.

Major shoe manufacturers -- including Nike -- are producing light-weight "toed" footwear which mimic running in bare feet.

And the new generation of sneakers, which fit like a glove, are an alternative to taking it all off.

Running barefoot is gaining traction because, according to some experts, traditional shoes don't allow your feet to gain the proper muscle to support your frame.

But those who run over gravel or in a local city alleys, may choose barefoot footwear which offers up the sensation of running with almost nothing on.

Vibram pitches their FiveFingers footwear this way: "The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 muscles and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments.

"Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised."

The company also point out, they're "a good choice for vegans."

Original article can be found here

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Bruce Trail Thru-Hike comes to a close...

WEEK 8 Trip Report
July 22, 2009
Bruce Trail Expedition 2009

Wolfmaan's Final Week as a thru hike on the Bruce Trail

As the final week in July, Wolfmaan made slow progress on the Bruce Trail, and his trek has now come to a close as a thru-hike.

“My goal of doing this hike was not to finish the entire Bruce Trail in one go, but to go out prove it could be done barefoot without getting injured or killed..” Adventurer Wolf Starchild said. Wolfmaan also stated that he has made friends and memories for a lifetime which far outweighs simply completing his trek.

The Bruce trail was not quite what Wolfmaan expected “Although I did tons of research on the trail before choosing to hike it, I expected there to be much more legal camping and overnight rest areas available” he said. “Although breathtakingly beautiful, the trail is truly not designed to be thru hiked like the Appalachian Trail in the United States”.

“I don't care if I didn't finish the entire trail in one go” Wolfmaan commented. “I have done something no one else has done – Hiked over 400km of the Bruce Trail barefoot” Wolfmaan goes on to say that he will finish the Bruce Trail as a series of smaller 3 day hikes until it's complete. “We all have bills and obligations, so I Luka and I have to get back to work” he said. Luka, his 2 year old Husky is a registered Therapy Dog with St. John Ambulance.

Criticised for using Satellite technology and other high tech gear on the trail Wolfmaan was quick to say “Go ahead and bash me if you must, but I had a great time and saw so much of my country. I did this hike for me, no one else. I spent almost 60 days camping and hiking, and lost 20 kilo. Not too many people have that opportunity.”

Interestingly Wolfmaan mentioned “I didn't do this for fame or fortune, or to gain any recognition. I took on this hike to do something I've always dreamed of doing”. When asked what his next adventure will be he said “Let me finish the Bruce Trail First” and laughed.

Wolfmaan is the first person in the history of the Bruce Trail to hike over 400km of the 850km barefoot. Details and photos available at

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Bruce Trail Expedition 2009 - Week 7

WEEK 7 Trip Report
Bruce Trail Expedition 2009

Week 7 on the Bruce Trail spanned from Tuesday, July 14th to Friday, July 17th, 2009

The 7th week on the Bruce trail was certainly the most challenging for adventurer Wolf Starchild. The week started late due to transportation issues.

Heading out on Tuesday afternoon, Wolfmaan made a trek through the Mulmur area to come across a pleasant surprise – the Mulmer Hut! Not listed on any maps, this hut was a dilapidated version of Appalachian Trail overnight huts. “The Bruce Trail should be full of these small overnight huts” Wolfmaan commented. “It wasn't in the best of shape, but was better than nothing at all”. Sadly, the Mulmur hut came after only a few hours travel, and not at the end of the first day.

Continuing up the trail past abandoned vehicles, historic churches and more up hills, Wolfmaan came to the Pine River area. “I love abandonments” Wolfmaan commented, “I'm really fascinated by Urbex” he said, better known as Urban Exploration or visiting and photographing abandoned places around the world.

Along Pine River lies another abandonment on the Bruce Trail – part of the Dufferin Light and Power company. Shortly after visiting the abandoned power company, Wolfmaan said he was running low on water and needed to use the creek to get more. “I noticed the area had a slight musty, almost sewage like smell, but I was in an old pine forest and it could have been anything...” Wolfmaan said. Old pine forests are known for low lying swampy areas which often carry a decaying odour.

That's when everything changed. “I examined the water, it was fast flowing, and clear with evidence of life in it like algae and kelp” he mentioned, “so I threw in my MSR Sweetwater filter and filled up my 3L hydration bladder as well as Luka's then continued on our way as we always have”. Sadly chemicals in the water won't filter or boil out.

Later that day Wolfmaan reports feeling a little light-headed and ill “It was a long day, and I was getting tired” he said as he was setting up camp for the night. The next day, Wolfmaan reported feeling a little uneasy but attributed that to the large amount of up hill and heat in the area.

“I ended up drinking about 4L of that water I had filtered, and was starting to feel increasingly ill” he said. “I felt it was in Luka and my best interest to request extraction early in the event either of us needed to goto hospital”.

Shortly after completing the Dufferin Highlands section of the Bruce Trail, Wolfmaan Requested extraction, he had a family member pick him up and return him to his home in Niagara-on-the-Lake for the weekend. “If I'd passed out somewhere I couldn't have pressed the emergency button on my Satellite tracking unit, and no one would have known.”

With less than 15 days left, Wolfmaan is adamant he's not giving up, just taking an extra day to recuperate and will be back in action for the final days of his trip.

“If nothing went wrong, it wouldn't be called adventure, now would it?” Wolfmaan laughed.

Wolfmaan will be the first person in the history of the Bruce Trail to complete it barefoot. His trek ends in August when his Leave of Absence from his employer, Sitel in St. Catharines ends. More details and photos available at

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Bruce Trail Expedition 2009 - Week 6

WEEK 6 Trip Report
Bruce Trail Expedition 2009

Week 6 on the Bruce Trail spanned from Saturday, July 4th to Friday, July 10th, 2009

A week of beautiful, cool weather with a slight breeze bestowed Wolfmaan and his companion Luka on their 6th week of the Bruce Trail.

Starting out in Glen Haffey conservation area, well over 200km from the starting point at Queenston, Ontario. Wolfmaan and Luka made their way through beautiful grassy hills to an ORA – Overnight rest area for the first night, and slept to the sound of fireworks in the distance as it was the 4th of July, a holiday in America.

The week was filled with what Wolfmaan refers to as PUD – or “Pointless Ups and Downs” which he stated a good portion of the Caledon Hills section of the Bruce Trail was comprised of. Navigating the hills and valleys around Hockley Valley slowed them down from 20km per day to ½ that for two days straight. “Slowing down was nice because it helped me appreciate the beauty of this land” Wolfmaan said.

Rolling hills, valleys, and farmland abound, Caledon Hills is in the heart of Ontario's farm country with large parcels of land dedicated to alfalfa , wheat and corn. The trails ran through many beautiful large farms between running in and out of wooded areas. Wolfmaan comments it's so nice to walk on unpaved stone roads without any trouble “The road walk sections of the Bruce trail which are loose gravel are no match for my tough foot hide” he laughs, still upbeat and excited after over a month on the trails, with no foot injuries. “Sure I've stubbed my toes on a rock once in a while, but I've not suffered any major injuries or punctures on the trail” Wolfmaan said.

Proving wrong the people who he calls prejudice against bare feet, he will hike until the end of July completely barefoot. “I am living proof that modern people can go barefoot in nature for extended periods and not get injured or killed.” Wolfmaan said. Going barefoot is nothing new. Buddhist monks are often seen unshod and many religions believe that going barefoot pays homage to the Earth and helps them absorb vital energies. Modern science has proven many benefits of going barefoot including improved immune system response and relief from back and knee problems.

“This trail is so beautiful, it makes me proud to be a Canadian” he says, displaying his iPod which has the “I am Canadian” theme from an old beer commercial. The song, he says he played repeatedly while sitting atop a 500m tall hill called Murphy's Pinnacle watching the sun set Friday evening. His journal describes the scene: “I can see dozens of kilometres in each direction, almost infinitely. The beautiful azure sky meets the emerald green horizon so peacefully as clouds lazily floating by carelessly cast shadows on the valleys below. Farm houses poke through the never ending vastness of trees and behind me, tall poles like the masts of an armada of ancient sailing ships floating on velvet green waters sit wind turbines, making the world a better place.

Wolfmaan will be the first person in the history of the Bruce Trail to complete it barefoot. His trek ends at the end of July when his Leave of Absence from his employer, Sitel in St. Catharines ends. More details and photos available at

Friday, 3 July 2009

Wolfmaan's barefoot Bruce Trail Expedition 2009 - Week 5

WEEK 5 Trip Report
Bruce Trail Expedition 2009

Week 5 on the Bruce Trail spanned from Monday, June 29th to Friday, July 3rd, 2009

It was a rainy week starting on Monday shortly before the the Terra Cotta rest area. The skies opened and dumped rain all over Wolfmaan and Luka. After a short 10km hike to the Terra Cotta ORA through swampy areas covered with beautiful cedar trees and then the terrain changed into forest and meadows. “At least my pre-cooked hamburgers were moist when I ate them” Wolfmaan laughed.

The next morning brought a slight hold in the rain – at least long enough to pack up a soggy tent and equipment and hit the trails again to go through more low-lying swampy areas covered in old growth cedars and then through craggy rock sections.

Tuesday brought Wolfmaan and Luka over the stiles and into the history books and Wolfmaan is the first person to hike the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail barefoot. This makes 3 trail clubs (Niagara, Iroquois, and Toronto) and over 255km of the Bruce Trail without shoes!

Surprisingly there had been traces of other barefoot hikers on the trail! For over 4km on the muddy trails of the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail, several sets of bare footprints could be seen heading southbound on the trail.

Road walking is common along the Bruce Trail, and several kilometres of road lay ahead on day two heading towards Forks of the Credit conservation area.

On Canada Day, 2009 The terrain just outside Forks Of The Credit conservation area was very beautiful and included large pine and cedar trees covering the craggy rocks with layer upon layer of pine needles. The large, smooth rocks and pine needles are a delight to bare feet. As a previous truck driver Wolfmaan can say that he has driven Canada coast-to-coast and everywhere in between. “There is no way you can appreciate the spectacular beauty of Canada other than on [bare]foot.” The best way to enjoy Canada's birthday is to spend it hiking along her spectacular Bruce Trail.

Forks of the Credit Provincial Park was a beautiful area of rolling hills and meadows dotted with ruins of an old settlement in the area. The biggest obstacle in Forks Of The Credit Provincial park was the massive 164 step staircase near some of the old dams and waterways that go through the beautiful area.

The week concluded with almost 30km of roadwalking from Forks of the Credit provincial Park to Glen Haffey Conservation area just outside of Mono Mills, Ontario.

When asked “Why barefoot?” Wolfmaan replies “We are all born barefoot and our bodies are designed to stay that way. I got tired of people whining how unsafe and dangerous hiking barefoot is, and decided to prove everyone it can be done.”

Going barefoot the entire 850km of the Bruce Trail teaches one to slow down, relax, and enjoy the surroundings. As the ultimate in Leave-No-Trace techniques, barefoot hiking ensures that all trails travelled receive almost no impact from the hiker, minimal disturbance to wildlife on the trail as barefoot hikers are quiet and watch where they step more, as well as connects one to the land they travel on in ways that cannot be easily described.

More details, photos, and information can be found at

Wolfmaan's barefoot Bruce Trail Expedition 2009 - Week 4

WEEK 4 Trip Report

Bruce Trail Expedition 2009

Week 4 on the Bruce Trail was perhaps the most enjoyable week so far. It started out fairly slow, and the terrain had little PUD (Pointless Up and Down) and remained steady all week. Breaking 205km Northbound on the Bruce Trail was quite exciting! I was concerned about Lukas shoulder, as she had a bit of a limp but it cleared itself up. She was probably just working too hard on some of our 20km days.

Celebrating the Summer Solstice on the Bruce Trail was exciting as many of the conservation areas including the Crawford Lake native American village had traditional dancers, rituals, and celebrations which echoed through the wilderness, bringing back echos of this areas rich vibrant and cultural past. Sadly, the Bruce Trail doesnt have a “Hike Naked” day on the summer solstice like the Appalachian Trail does.

The weather was nice in the beginning of the week, warm, clear sunny skies made hiking the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail a real pleasure. As with most week-day thru-hikes, it's unusual to see anyone at all on the trail for most of the day.

I'm still surprised at day by day how resilient and leathery my feet have become since being barefoot over a month now. Rocky areas of the trail which used to slow me down and be agonising, I can now breeze over like smooth dirt. I didn't ever mean to be out to set a world record by hiking the Bruce Trail barefoot, it's just who I am.

Leaving Kelso conservation area Wednesday I was fortunate enough to come across two people hiking the trail the same direction as I. We stayed together for a few days on the trail, camped together, exchanged travel stories and had a great time exploring the Toronto section of the Bruce Trail. Often times friendships forged on the trails remain for life. Distances don't even matter with things like Myspace and Facebook to help people keep in touch. During our first few hours together on the trail, we came across a baby raccoon who was terrified by our presence and hugging a tree just a metre above the ground. We got some photos and left the little guy alone.

I was quite amazed that early one morning, Luka woke me up to alert me someone was around. I heard footsteps and looked out of the tent to see a large porcupine walk right between our two tents! I got a few photos of him and advised Luka that porcupines are not to be tangled with on the trail. The porcupine, seemingly indifferent to our presence, walked between the two tents and climbed a tree where he could sleep for the day.

The people we met along the trail were so friendly. During the week the area was hit by severe, rolling thunder storms and lightening. Passing through a farmers field we decided to stop and the young people I was with made their way up to the farmhouse and the land owners were more than happy to give us permission to camp on their land in the corner. It was so nice to camp out right by the trail!

Some of the craggy rocks of the escarpment are breathtakingly beautiful. Hiking by ourselves, the beauty of this revealed itself in subtle ways like the sound of the wind rushing through the cedars sounding like a distant waterfall. The trail weaved us through swamps of ancient cedars and massive rocky crags so large, the Bruce Trail actually descended into them! (Visit Limehouse Conservation area in Limehouse Ontario if you get the chance. You won't be disappointed!) There are ancient cedar trees there over 500 years old growing on the giant rock faces of the escarpment. They smell enchanting, and the cedar needles are a pleasure to walk on.

Friday morning we woke up, broke camp and hit the trails. We had started to run out of water and there were no streams to filter water from. We came upon an old farmhouse on a road section of the trail and the home owner was more than happy to oblige our request to fill our bottles of water. Everyone in the Toronto section of the trail seemed so nice that we talked to.

I will certainly miss having a set of human companions on the trail as I did this week. It's always a pleasure to get someone else's perspective on each section of trail, and of course the young lady spoiled Luka rotten with cans of tuna fish and cranberries throughout the day.

A few months back I took a Leave No Trace course through Master Trainer Todd Ward, and I must admit although I don't buy into every LNT principle, I do use the course material each day on the Bruce Trail. From making campsites look like I didn't spend the night there, to eating 1/2hr up the trail before we set camp to keep animals away. You don't have to buy into all LNT principles, but it is a great course that will benefit any outdoors person.

Next week will be past the first month on the expedition. I have learned that slowing down and enjoying myself, taking lots of photos and memories of the trail is more important than completing the trail. Even if I don't complete the trail as a thru-hike before August, I will go back to work with a lifetime of memories, photos, stories, and friendships which I wouldn't want to gain any other way. When it comes to the Bruce Trail, it's not the destination that is important – it's the journey.

Wolfmaan's barefoot Bruce Trail Expedition 2009 - Week 3

Saturday, June 20 - 2009

Adventurer's barefoot Bruce Trail Expedition, 2009

Barefoot adventurer Wolf Starchild, who goes by Wolfmaan started June 01st for a solo expedition up the Bruce Trail to be the first person to hike the entire 850km long footpath barefoot.

Plagued with problems due to lack of legal campsites and poor weather Wolfmaan has spent the the third week of the expedition at his home in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

“I really don't want to be forced to break the law to complete this expedition” Wolfmaan commented. Wolfmaan spent a good portion of the week faxing and ringing various park and conservation authorities to attempt to get permission to camp without a fire for one night. “Most of them didn't even ring me back or respond to my faxes” he stated. At one point he even contacted his local Member of Parliament (MP).

When asked if he had contacted the Bruce Trail Conservancy, the governing body of the Bruce Trail he stated “They were the first ones I rang.” Wolfmaan was then advised that it was a known issue, but the Conservancy provided no assistance.

Camping is available along the Bruce Trail at several conservation areas and parks along the route, however there is no consistency to the location of the sites. Some areas of the Bruce Trail offer camping once every 60km and others areas every 10km. Hiking an average of 20km per day, it's impossible for anyone to make it to some of the campsites.

Wolfmaan decided to seek legal counsel “I rang my lawyer and he was a huge help in advising me of my rights.” he stated. “The trip will go on steady until the beginning of August before I have to break it off and return to work at Sitel in St. Catharines”

To make matters worse, the week of rain has also caused delays.

Between faxing letters, sending e-mails and contacting his local Member of Parliment, Wolfmaan stated he used the week off to relax and let his companion – Luka, a 2yr old husky catch up on some much needed sleep.

The Bruce Trail is not designed as a thru-hike and was intended to be hiked in sections or as a series of day hikes. The Bruce Trail Conservancy makes no distinction between those who hike the trail as a thru-hike or a series of day hikes. The Bruce Trail Conservancy website states that the trail has been hiked in as little as 9 days by the Canadian Olympic Running Team and as long as 40 years by some individuals.

Rain or shine, Wolfmaan is going to hit the trails on Monday, June 22nd and continue his barefoot expedition.

Wolfmaan's barefoot Bruce Trail Expedition 2009 - Week 2

Saturday, June 13 - 2009

Adventurer's barefoot Bruce Trail Expedition, 2009

Barefoot adventurer Wolf Starchild, who goes by Wolfmaan left June 01st for a solo expedition up the Bruce Trail. An 850km long footpath from Queenston, Ontario to Tobermory, Ontario. The trail is broken up into nine individual clubs which maintain each section of the trail.

During the second week of the trip, Wolfmaan is passing through the Hamilton section of the Bruce Trail which ran along the escarpment and through Dundas to start to hook northward towards Tobermory at Mount Nemo Conservation area. In Dundas Valley, there was the first legal campsite available on the Merrick Side Trail to Through Hikers. During the night Wolfmaan spent at the Merrick Side Trail, the region experienced a strong thunder and lightening storm “At least my tent kept me dry, if not warm” he commented.

The scariest thing Wolfmaan reported on the trail was to hear repeated gunshots in Hamilton. “I just kept walking and got out of there as fast as possible” he stated. As fast as possible with a 27 kilogram pack on his back. The best thing so far about the Hamilton section of the trail has been the friendly people he says he's met “One lady even offered to take me out to dinner instead of using my freeze-dried food up” Wolfmaan reports. “Another stated instead of camping in the rain, I could have slept on her couch” which he states he declined to take advantage of the campsite.

During the second barefoot week on the trail, Wolfmaan has completed over 170km of the entire trail which included the 80km Niagara Club section., and 90km of the Iroquois (Hamilton) section of the Bruce Trail.

Wolfmaan is the first person in the 40 year history of the Bruce Trail to have completed the Niagara Section barefoot, and will hold the world record as the first person ever to walk then entire Bruce Trail barefoot. “People often ask me if my feet hurt” he says. “I always tell them everything else does, but never my feet” he laughs.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Wolfmaan's barefoot Bruce Trail Expedition 2009

Wolfmaan's Bruce Trail Expedition 2009
Week 01

Barefoot adventurer Wolf Starchild, who goes by Wolfmaan left June 01st for a solo expedition up the Bruce Trail. An 850km long footpath from Queenston, Ontario to Tobermory, Ontario. The trail is broken up into nine individual clubs which maintain each section of the trail.

During the first 7 days on the trail, Wolfmaan has completed over 100km of the trail which included the 80km Niagara Club section. The weather was cool with no rain. He had friends and his wife join him for “short” 20km day hikes on the trail.

When asked what the biggest complaint was about the trail, Wolfmaan promptly said “there needs to be more overnight rest areas [or campsites] available for through hikers of the trail. When asked about going barefoot over the entire 100km he stated the most difficult sections were the loose gravel paths. Wolfmaan stated “They aren't that painful, but really slowed me down to a crawl”

Wolfmaan is the first person in the 40 year history of the Bruce Trail to have completed the Niagara Section barefoot. He is currently waiting for recognition from the Niagara Bruce Trail club.

To see the full slideshow click here

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Bare Feet Connect Hiker To The Earth

Bare feet connect hiker to the earth
Posted By Penny Coles

He calls himself Wolfmaan, and he has a dislike for shoes.

Niagara-on-the-Lake resident Wolf Starchild plans to hike the 850-kilometre Bruce Trail from Queenston to Tobermory - barefoot.

Barefoot adventurers are few and far between, he says, and although Starchild expects to meet a few hikers on route to his northern destination, he doesn’t expect to see any barefoot.

It’s not as painful as it sounds, he said—he has been going without shoes most of his life, from the early days of playing on his grandparents’ Hunter Road farm, where the Telega family grew peaches. School and work are the exceptions, although he wears sandles to his job at a St. Catharines call centre—and he has hiked in many different parts of the world, including up mountain ranges and across deserts, and has been a hike leader for Brock University’s Outdoor Club—without serious injury. You build up a tolerance, he says, even for thistles and prickle bushes.

He won’t be walking alone, and his companion will also be barefoot. Two-year-old Luka, a blue-eyed Siberian husky, will be along for company.

Starchild leaves Monday. He has been training for about two months—carrying his 40 to 60-pound pack of supplies, including his tent and 10 days’ worth of food, will be challenging, he says.

Luka will have her own backpack with her food and water.

Starchild says he has been trying to hike the Bruce Trail for years. His employer is giving him the two months off—he expects to hike 60 days and have friends meet him at the other end to bring him home—and he has over the past year been purchasing supplies so he would be ready to leave once the good weather arrived.

He hopes to prove wrong some of the myths of the dangers of walking barefoot, he says. He also hopes to dispel some of the prejudice people have about bare feet, he added.

But the real reason for walking shoeless is the connection it allows him to feel to the earth.

Sound a little ’60s hippie-ish? Not surprising.

Wolf Starchild is the name he was given at birth by his mother 33 years ago. She embraced the love-and-peace-subculture, as did her father, although he was a little old for the movement, Starchild says.

It’s in his genes, he says, and he enjoys carrying on the family tradition.

The hike will be a spiritual journey, he says, and an opportunity to take time from a busy life to commune with nature and do some soul-searching.

When he is done his solitary two months of walking eight to 10 hours a day, hopefully covering from 20 to 25 kilometres a day, he will know a little more about the Bruce Trail and the Niagara Escarpment, and a lot more about himself. He also expects he will be in the best physical condition of his life.

“I should be in excellent shape. I'm really looking forward to that.”
Article ID# 1587875

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Hiker Attacked on Ontario Trail

Wolfmaan Note: This is scary stuff, especially with my big Bruce Trail hike coming up in just a few weeks...

Another attack on trail
It's too soon to know if there's any connection between a midday stabbing along a Twelve Mile Creek hiking trail Tuesday and a series of muggings nearby last fall, police say. A man was beaten and stabbed shortly after 11:30 a. m. as he walked on the Merritt Trail on the west side of the river near Martindale Road and Violet Street.

Witnesses who found the injured man along the trail said he reported being struck over the head and stabbed a couple of times in the lower body.

Niagara Regional Police said the man was attacked from behind by two men who hit him in the back and neck with a metal object.

He was then punched, kicked and stabbed with a knife, police said.

The victim was robbed of an undisclosed amount of money.

He was taken to St. Catharines General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Hikers Frank and Ruth Hampson were in the midst of one of their regular trail-cleaning walks when they spotted the wounded man lying at the bottom of a steep embankment.

The couple noticed a wallet and a small satchel on the ground at the edge of the trail and then saw the man in the brush, close to the water's edge.

"I said, 'Are you OK?' And he said, 'No, I'm bleeding. I've
been stabbed'," Frank recounted, as firefighters and paramedics worked on the victim. The injured man called 911 himself with a cellphone, but asked the couple to stay on the trail until help arrived, Frank said.

St. Catharines firefighters and Niagara EMS paramedics used ropes and a basket stretcher to carry the victim up the embankment he had fallen down after the attack. Police scoured the area for suspects with a search dog, but came up cold.

Last fall, cyclists and hikers were targeted by muggers on another section of recreational trail along the same creek a couple of kilometres away.

At the time, police said they believed there were links between the three incidents in September, including one violent robbery and two attempted muggings.

All three involved several young males preying on victims using the trail, near the foot of the Burgoyne Bridge.
In one case, a cyclist managed to escape after being beaten with a baseball bat by three men only to be confronted by three more men a couple hundred metres away, including one armed with an axe.

No arrests were made in the incidents.

But police said more investigation is required to determine if there are any ties to the latest trail assault.
"It's probably something where people will draw conclusions, but it is still really early," NRP spokeswoman Jacquie Forgeron said. "They still have to get (the victim's) statement. There's still so much work

The attack left some neighbouring residents unsettled and worried about the safety of using the popular recreational trail.

"I wouldn't (hike) it by myself, ever," Ruth Hampson said.
Violet Street resident Francis Skrzeszewski said it's fairly common for young people to party along the trail at night, but it's also well used by families, cyclists and joggers.

"There's been some wackos down there before, but I've never seen anything like this," he said. Police are appealing for anyone with information about Tuesday's
assault to call 905- 688-4111, ext. 4272 or leave and anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Viable way to repair Canadian Economy..

The Business Section Editor of the St. Petersburg Times asked readers
for their ideas on how they would fix the economy. Here's the winner.

Patriotic retirement

There's about 40 million people over 50 in the work force. Pay

them $ 3 million apiece severance with the following stipulations:

1) They leave their jobs. Forty million job openings -

Unemployment fixed.

2) They all buy NEW North American cars. Forty million cars ordered -

Auto Industry fixed.

3) They either buy a house or pay off their mortgage - Housing Crisis fixed

Total amount committed -$120 billion --

Considerably less than the "stimulus package".

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Barefoot climber tackles Mt. Fuji

(ANSA) - Tokyo, September 20 - An Italian mountaineer who has become famous for scaling peaks in his bare feet is to take on Japan's highest and holiest mountain, Mt. Fuji.

Antonio Peretti, 47, a charity-driven forest guard and part-time adventurer from the mountainous Veneto region, is to attempt his feat next month - on the heels of similar exploits that have earned him the nickname "the barefoot climber".

Peretti, who pits himself against nature under the adopted name of 'Tom Perry', is an amateur parachutist, hiker and biker who says he "discovered his true calling" when he flung off his boots and started running headlong down a local mountain one summer's day in 2002.

Over the next five years, Hobbit-like, he clambered over most of his native Dolomites as well as venturing farther afield to Mt. Blanc, Kilimanjaro, the Himalayan heights of Makalu, volcanos in Ecuador, Bolivia and Etna in Sicily - while it was erupting.

On his website,, Peretti says he feels "the Earth transfers its energy to me while barefoot.

"I am spiritually reborn, I become a conduit for positive and genuine values".

On each of his climbs Perry has raised money for environmental causes and peace groups worldwide.

This time he will be bringing ash from Etna to the top of Mt. Fuji in a sort of symbolic 'twinning' of the two famous peaks.

Perry will also carry up a plaque commemorating the exploits of Italy's late 'Human Condor' Angelo D'Arrigo, who died in a plane crash last year.

The Mt. Fuji ascent will be covered by Sky TV and journalists who have recorded Peretti's other exploits will put together an 'instant book' on the initiative.