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The Chronology of Steph and Pat

Once upon a time there were two rookie treeplanters named Stephanie and Patrick.

Dirty Treeplanters

Summer of 1999. Check out those dirty fingers and that great fashion sense

Wait, hang on a second..

Actually… it didn’t all start with us. I mean, where would we be without these folks?

Len and Shaun (early 60's or what!) Len and Shaun (early 60's or what!)

Sue and
        Charlie (early 70's or what!)Sue and Charlie (early 70's or what!)

Fast forward a bit. Shaun and Len had three kids: Kelly, Patrick, and Erin, and Sue and Charlie had two: Stephanie and Heather. Lots of growing up occurred whereby we both got in numerous scrapes, suffered embarrassments, enjoyed a few successes, and went off to University.

Back to the two rookie treeplanters... Pat and Steph met in Ignace, Ontario in 1995 and struggled through what could only be described as a hellish summer of planting trees into land that was nothing less than brutal for final paycheques that could easily be defined as “lunch money”.

God knows what made us both sign up for another year. But we did – and it was on the bus from Yorkdale Mall to Clearcut, Northern Ontario, that our true friendship began. (That second year of treeplanting, by the way, wasn’t nearly as awful as the first had been, and we both made some decent money.) We were planting in burns though, so we spent most of that summer absolutely covered in soot.

Steph, apparently pleased with a hard day’s work Steph, apparently pleased with a hard day’s work

We returned to Northern Ontario for three more summers to work for Wilderness Reforestation. The job became significantly easier as the years went by… especially once we were foremen and not planters!

Foreman Pat hard at work Foreman Pat hard at work

Our friendship was easy from the beginning. We were close pals every summer - we planted, crewbossed, complained about bugs, and drank a little too much beer on nights off pretty much in tandem – but it wasn’t until Steph’s friends were threatening to send her to her fourth year university formal dance with someone she’d never met that the first “date” actually happened. The fateful email was sent four full years after Steph and Pat first met:

“Want to come to my formal?”

The actual encounter happened in Kingston Ontario in 1998 and went something like this: “Great to see you again... Geez, you look damn fine when you get all cleaned up!”

Hey, there, good-lookin’! Hey, there, good-lookin’!

The rest, as they say – is history. Since then, we’ve had a lot of fun together. We especially love to go on self-propelled adventures: cycle-touring, canoeing, hiking… but any kind of travel makes us happy.

Close to home – Tommy Thompson park, Toronto Close to home – Tommy Thompson park, Toronto

After cycling up La Farola in Cuba – 1200 metres straight UP! After cycling up La Farola in Cuba – 1200 metres straight UP!

We’ve had some great campsites We’ve had some great campsites

Pat watches as Autumn concentrates on pancake-making Pat watches as Autumn concentrates on pancake-making

And sometimes we end up in sites that aren’t so great.
Oy. Some Parking lot in Northern Ontario Oy. Some Parking lot in Northern Ontario.

Sometimes Pat’s in control
Paddling the lakes of Temagami Paddling the lakes of Temagami

And sometimes Steph takes over the steering.
Paddling the Upper Missouri Paddling the Upper Missouri

(And sometimes we both have to do boring old work, where we sit endlessly in front of our computers - but we’d prefer to gloss over that bit and pretend that we spend our whole lives on adventures.)

In real life, Pat works at a small company doing analysis and software development for GIS (Geographic Information Systems) applications – which basically means working with electronic maps and using them to build very neat computer applications.

Steph’s “real-life” is still the student life. She’s hoping to complete her PhD in environmental health risk assessment sometime before the end of this year. Basically, she studies the following: “Air pollution is bad for you”. So she was pretty excited to get close to this windmill on a recent bike trip.
Yay – renewable energy! Yay – renewable energy!