Story and Photos by Kenneth Takabe 

Ken, a resident of Toronto, set himself the goal of climbing the highest point in every province and territory. Beginning with Ishpatina Ridge, the highest point in Ontario, in Lady Evelyn-Smoothwater Park, he began his quest. He undertook the trek September 3 to 6, 2001, but he didn't get there by air or canoe. Nor did everything go according to plan.

Top photo: Looking northeast along Ishpatina Ridge from the base of the fire tower.




 Ontario's Rooftop




or my first provincial high point, I decided to concentrate on my home province of Ontario. I figured that it should be an easy accomplishment... after all, Ishpatina Ridge was less than five hours away by car and was only 693 meters high - much lower than some of the ice climbs in the Canadian Rockies!

My initial concern arose when some preliminary reports seemed to indicate that the ridge was inaccessible by foot. I immediately purchased a 1:50,000 topographical map, along with the book Not Won in a Day by Jack Bennett, and put those concerns to rest. Both of them indicated the possibility of doing the ridge from the south - a route which involved driving up 80 kilometers of logging roads, crossing the Sturgeon River and bushwhacking for six kilometers. But just to be safe, I decided to confirm this with the superintendent of Lady Evelyn Provincial Park. "How do you expect to get to the ridge without a canoe or kayak?" was his immediate response. I answered his question by telling him about my intentions of biking, hiking and bushwhacking when he basically laughed me off with the words "That is a serious outing. I wouldn't recommend it."

I ended up leaving for the ridge on Monday morning and after five hours of driving along Highways 400 and 69, I finally reached the town of Capreol where I decided to get some gas. After topping up my tank, I asked the gas attendant if I was on the proper road to the logging area when he suddenly burst into an uncontrollable stint of laughter. "You're taking this car? You're crazy! I wouldn't take my rusty old Neon onto those roads!" was his response, as he walked away shaking his head in disbelief.

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