It was another beautiful, sunny day in Niagara for Day Two of The Fall Exercise. The second day of the Exercise brings us to Fort George, a reconstructed British fort from the War of 1812, where the boys get to spend the night – not something most people get to do.
The boys had a hearty breakfast today before heading to Woodend Conservation Area to start the second day of the march. Although everyone was tired from yesterday the boys were still pumped and ready for the day’s hike, most of them looking to complete the day with a great time. The times for day one and day two are combined and the team with the fastest two-day time gets bragging rights for the year.
Throughout the day you could see teams pushing hard to get a great time, trying to pass the teams ahead of them, and helping each other achieve their goal of being the fastest team. This year, those bragging rights go, once again, to Capt. Krywulak’s team. They hustled both days to finish with the best time.
Day two was much easier than day one. It’s a shorter hike and we spend most of the day hiking along the top of the escarpment rather than climbing up and down it as we did yesterday. We do eventually descend down the escarpment to head to Fort George along what boys have come to call “the never ending road.”
It’s a long, straight road with nothing but farm fields and vineyards on either side. The scenery is pretty, but monotonous, and it can seem like we walk this trail forever.
It did eventually end, as it always does, as we reached the Niagara Parkway and started the last push of the day into the Fort. Once inside the huge wooden gates, the boys flopped on the ground, with packs and jackets and even some shoes strewn all over the grass.
After sleeping in the Fort, the boys were up and ready to go for Day Three of the hike, the last push from Fort George along the Niagara Parkway and up the escarpment to Brock’s Monument at Queenston Heights.
Day three is a combined effort as the entire group takes turns pushing and pulling our replica 1812 cannon to Queenston where it is used as part of our Parade after the march.
As the boys climbed up the steep escarpment bank adjacent to the park those above could hear them coming, yelling encouragement to each other and getting excited to be so close to the end. As they emerged from the woods they chanted, danced and celebrated together for a job well done.
Those who took part for the first time received their Baker’s Badge at a small ceremony at Queenston Heights before we all headed back to the Academy for Thanksgiving Dinner.