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  • Hide and Seek | Shirley Jean Tucker
    that he had completed 55 miles in a 24 hour hike to Melbourne the longest recorded hike since the pedestrians left Halifax He was now about 82 miles behind the Behans With both Jack and Clifford dealing with sore feet Burkman struggling gallantly to catch up and the Dills consistently racking up the best daily scores The Herald predicted that come May 2 there would be a considerable change in the positions of the hikers April 24 1921 The Behans left Winnipeg on April 22 in a heavy downpour accompanied by a friend who followed them to the city limits before wishing them God speed and leaving them to hike in peace It rained cats and dogs on their 29 mile jaunt to Marquette The next day they set out for Portage la Prairie or Rat Portage as the older residents liked to call it Twenty six miles Jack noted The Dills who were battered by fierce hail and rainstorms 17 miles outside of Dryden described April 24 as their worst day since leaving Halifax We were drenched thru to the skin Jenny complained and the mud was bothersome as well The couple had not succeeded in beating the Behans to Winnipeg as Jenny had predicted Frank is still confident that we will pat the other hikers on the back before we reach Regina but I am not so optimistic wrote Jenny although I expect to overhaul them all before we reach Vancouver We will try for 30 miles tomorrow but can hardly expect to beat that mark with more rain expected On that wet miserable night in Dryden Jenny could not even take solace in the news of Burkman rallying in his attempt to catch up to the Behans because the young maverick didn t send in a dispatch

    Original URL path: http://www.shirleyjeantucker.ca/blog/hide-and-seek (2015-11-17)
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  • Winnipeg | Shirley Jean Tucker
    some lingering ice on the water That evening father and son disregarded a tip they received from a telegraph operator in Dryden who said that Burkman had taken a shortcut through the woods west of Lake Superior and would beat them to Winnipeg I hope he has better luck with his short cut than we did when we lost 100 miles trying to be smart We expect to be in Winnipeg in lots of time to tell our friends that Burkman is on his way Frank and Jenny travelled 34 miles that day We are proud of the day s work and now more certain than evewr that we will reach the coast inside of three months if people don t kill us with kindness They were still being pursued by mobs of well wishers In some cases whole towns turned out to cheer them on The Behans were no longer enjoying the adulation they had experienced in Ingace and Tache Worse it was not Jack s turn to suffer from a case of raw feet Will lay off here and get patched up for tomorrow He and Clifford did take time out to tour the thriving pulp town of Dryden No word from Burkman again disappointing readers of The Herald who had come to anticipate daily accounts of the adventure serial with morning coffee April 11 1921 Although Jack and Clifford didn t retire until midnight in Ignace they were up early on April 11 After a second forced trip around town and a meal of garlic sausage stale bread and pickles with an Italian section man they finally pushed off to Tache where they were mobbed at the railway station The farther we go the more people seem to know about us said Jack We are sure popular as hikers go and we are going some Meanwhile the previous day the Dills put in a punishing day rounding Lake Superior between Peninsula and Jackfish and hiking through tunnels They left Jackfish at 9 00 a m and headed for Schreiber where Jenny spent an annoying 2 hours in a cobbler shop getting her boots back into shape All things considered twenty two miles was a fair tramp she said Burkman had left Kaministiquia at 10 00 on April 10 had dinner at Stewart s Mill and after a harrowing walk through a very long tunnel made it to Raith He was pleased to report that he had done the last 4 miles in 48 minutes and 30 seconds April 9 1921 Burkman was back in competition Monday April 9 Well I m away again he wrote from Kaministiquia Ontario After spending 2 days at home he told friends that he was raring to go and hungry for Beans Behans It took courage to start out again from home with the prospect of going the full half distance to Vancouver alone But I have given my word and intend to honour it The Behans made no mention of Burkman

    Original URL path: http://www.shirleyjeantucker.ca/blog/winnipeg (2015-11-17)
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  • Marching Through March | Shirley Jean Tucker
    March 24 1921 The Behans finally surfaced at Nicholson on Thursday March 24 They had followed false tip given to them by an Indian guide and lost 50 miles trying to gain 100 on Burkman Father and son left the CPR tracks shortly after passintg Woman River They were told that a branch line used by lumber operations would cut 100 miles off their trip After travelling for a day we came to a lumber camp and were told that the tracks ended there and the only way we could get back on the main line was to retrace our steps This we did peeved but wiser determined to never again put faith in Indian guides It had been an emotional week for the Behans and after reading a back issue of The Herald Jack was overcome It was better to us than a day s rations to once more see our paper Refuelled and refocused the Behans spent a good night and awakened the next morning raring to take on the lone hiker if they could find him After reading about the latest Burkman Behan cat and mouse games the Dills who had just completed a 26 mile hike to North Bay reaffirmed their solemn prediction There will be another team in that race within the next six weeks as we now feel positioned to go after a record March 18 1921 During the third week of March heavy storms in northern Ontario had Burkman and the Behans working hard for every mile they gained For three long days the hikers struggled playing cat and mouse with neither team able to gain a definitive advantage but on March 18 Burkman finally gave the Behans the slip at Woman River and the race was wide open once again Burkman had stopped at Woman River to swallow a quick bowl of hot buckwheat laced with dried cranberries and skim milk but when he was informed that the Behans were entering the town he set off again 350 miles behind the leaders Frank and Jenny Dill had a quandry of their own could they actually win this race As they crunced along the railroad ties heads butted against the icy winds woollen mitted hans jammed deep into the pockets of their sheepskin lined coats the tantalizing possibility ws shaing a dream I want all the people to know that our enthusiasm in this hike has increased because we have so much to look back on and know what we can do Three days passed without any word from the Behans Not even Burkman could shed light on their whereabouts In a terse dispatch from Nicholson Burkman admitted to being as anxious as anyone about their disappearance When the Behans and Burkman failed to send a dispatch to The Herald the next day even the newspaper expressed concern reporting a rumour that Burkman had tried to give the Behans the slip by taking a trail through the woods and had gotten lost Only the Dills sent in a night wire that evening It packed a wallop and provided a welcome distraction We were attacked by a wolf Jenny said When we telegraphed yesterday we stated that we would make 25 miles today but we were feeling so good over an adventure that we had en route that we decided to make 30 miles Walking pecefully along the track our attention was suddenly attracted by the baying of an animal a hundred yards behind us and before we could say Jack Robinson a big timber wolf sprang at Frank I drew a revolver from my belt and fired The bullet stopped the wolf and Frank killed it seconds later with his 35 calibre pistol Jenny was very grateful to the boys of Dartmouth for giving her a gun as a departure gift This is the best day we ve had since leaving Halifax she added saying I cannot get the idea out of my head that this is some kind of omen and we are meant to reach Vancouver first March 16 1921 This day The Herald reported that no clear winner in the neck and neck race between the Behans and Burkman had emerged over the weekend This was confirmed by the hikers dispatches from Pogma where conditions continued to be brutal I left Cartier at nine and had dinner at Benny at the Puly Wood Camp Burkman wrote It was the best meal I ve had since leaving Truro Villages are pretty scarce here with stations few and far between The Behans arrived here tonight soon after I did They are determined to stick with me tho I am trying my best to shake them off The Behans too had suffered through the long walk from Cartier to Pogma Big storm has been raging all day and we have not made more than 23 miles Reached Pogma soon after Burkman It snowed all night and snow was six inches deep when we left Cartier this morning Although the race with Burkman is a great human test we are confident of wearing him down and if it is fine tomorrow we will show him our heels March 15 1921 As the Dills quit Ottawa on March 15 Alice Higgins offered up her final comments to the public She was expecially interested in Jenny as the female participant in the race noting that Mrs Dill was too keen on the outdoor life to want to stay around the city very long and no theatres or comfortable society affairs could tempt her March 14 1921 BEHANS CATCH BURKMAN AND HIKERS NOW RACE NECK AND NECK ON DOUBLE CPR TRACKS The battle is on declared the Halifax Herald on March 14 Canada s greatest hiking contest ws now a neck and neck crisis John Behan and his son Clifford and Charles Burkman had met shook hands and played pool together But is it ALL OVER The friendship is fine but the men are out FOR HONOURS

    Original URL path: http://www.shirleyjeantucker.ca/blog/marching-through-march (2015-11-17)
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  • Vive Montreal | Shirley Jean Tucker
    first visit to Ottawa but he was not much interested in touring the city Rather he noted that the parliament buildings destroyed by fire in 1916 and almost ready for re occupancy were a must do He was particularly interested in meeting the Prime Minister Sir Arthur Meighen who unlike Mackenzie King disappointed Burkman with his cold charmless style Can he survive the rumoured fall election with such personal failings wondered Charles As Burkman was leaving Ottawa and the Behans nearing the Capital The Herald reported a not too shabby hike by the Dills who had reached Onawa Maine after encountering a fierce blizzard The kind you read about blowing around the Arctic Circle commented Jenny adding However that isn t much in a tramp to Vancouver The self proclaimed superwoman continued to show her mettle as the Dills hiked through the infamous wildcat territory of Maine We ve heard a lot about the wildcats that nearly ate up the Behans she said and we were ready to tackle them on our way to Lambert Lake but no such luck February 21 1921 Charles Burkman left Montreal after a 2 day visit The popular happy go lucky daredevil may have danced the last night away a reporter remarked that Charlie showed himself such an adept at terpsichorean art that he is being described as the man who is dancing his way across the continent but he was up bright and early to pay a visit to La Presse to update his French speaking acquaintanced Then after getting his picture taken on the roof of the building he set off for Ottawa February 19 1921 Charles Burkman reached Montreal on February 19 where he was accorded a hero s welcome A smitten Montreal Star reporter Roy Carmichael described him as looking

    Original URL path: http://www.shirleyjeantucker.ca/blog/vive-montreal (2015-11-17)
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  • February 6, 1921 | Shirley Jean Tucker
    Contact Awards Events Workshops Blog Following the Hikers Vive Montreal February 6 1921 Posted on February 20 2012 by shirleyt Windsor Jct Station Tramping was difficult for the Dills during the entire weekend after leaving Windsor Junction The hikers wandered off the track repeartedly first into knee deep bone chilling snow banks and then into slush The going was a little better for Charles Burkman Hello Halifax he crowed I

    Original URL path: http://www.shirleyjeantucker.ca/blog/february-6-1921 (2015-11-17)
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  • Following the Hikers! | Shirley Jean Tucker
    when men have failed Was something going on Readers wanted to know January 26 1921 The Herald dropped yet another bombshell on the hikers in the field HUSBAND AND WIFE JOIN CHASE ACROSS CONTINENT January 25 1921 It was bitterly cold as Jack and Clifford Behan prepared to leave Halifax but the men were brimful of Nova Scotia stamina and grit and were warmed by the large enthusiastic crowd of friends and well wishers gathered for their send off Shouts of Good Luck God speed Success in beating out Burkman and Carr rang in their ears For the first time in the history of Canada four men are engaged in a titanic struggle in a race across the continent proudly declared the Herald From Moncton that evening Sid Carr sent a surely challenge their way in a night letter If we had the Behans along with us today we would have shown them what hiking really is Dorchester Prison in Background January 23 1921 It wasn t until Burkman and Carr reached Amherst on Sunday that they found out that the two Behans of Dartmouth intended to start out and beat them to Montreal Well you can tell the people who are backing them that nobody will overtake us to any place between Amherst and Vancouver unless we break a leg Burkman said Later that day in Sackville after taking time to get the town clerk s signature the men crossed the Nova Scotia New Brunswick border Between Sackville and Dorchester the famed jail town they ran into the worst weather they had yet encountered We are getting farther and farther away from the east coast and further and further north so we expect awful weather but we are going to stick to it until we bathe in the salt waters of the Pacific some fine day next summer Burkman told readers of the Herald January 25 1921 Burkman and Carr already had a five day head start so if the Behans were to make good on their boast to arrive first in Montreal they needed to get away as soon as possible The Herald set the start for 9 a m on Tuesday January 25 Dartmouth declared that it was solidly behind their boys and the Herald published a list of items the men needed for the trip 2 maconan coats size 40 2 riding army britches size 34 long boots tan size 7 8 2 pairs mitts or gloves 2 army knapsacks 2 pairs wool socks 2 suits under wear size 36 2 sweaters light normal neck 2 water proof coats size 40 Donations of money or in kind were equally acceptable John and Clifford Behan The exclusive coverage given to Burkman and Carr by the Halifax Herald acted like a magnet to 44 year old John Jack Behan and son his 24 year old son Clifford of Dartmouth who appeared in the Herald office on the same day wishing to confer with the Editor regarding a trip

    Original URL path: http://www.shirleyjeantucker.ca/blog/following-the-hikers (2015-11-17)
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  • Historical Fiction | Shirley Jean Tucker
    Amazing Race Following the Hikers Historical Fiction Posted on January 18 2012 by shirleyt Just how much is an historical novelist allowed to make up Phillipa Gregory suggested in an interview with Kate Taylor that too many critics think of historical fiction as flawed and unreliable history written by an author too lazy to check the facts Others condemn it for being insufficiently imaginative written by authors too lazy to

    Original URL path: http://www.shirleyjeantucker.ca/blog/historical-fiction-2 (2015-11-17)
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  • The Amazing Race | Shirley Jean Tucker
    some from rather exotic places some with information I wished I d had while researching the material some with questions the book did not address The e book version has resulted in a recent e mail from a reader who has lived abroad for the past 12 years She wrote from Asia I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you for writing the book My great great grandfather was one of the participants Years ago I visited the Nova Scotia Archives and it was fascinating to read some of the news articles about the race I remember one where an 80 year old Indian somewhere in Ontario paddled over 200 miles down a river in order to meet John and Clifford Behan and once he said hi paddled all the way back again quite a distance for a 10 minute chat My father received your book as a Christmas present and told me about it so I immediately went to the amazon web site I have downloaded it and look forward to reading it and telling my young son all about this amazing feat that his ancestors accomplished I am sure that post publication comments will

    Original URL path: http://www.shirleyjeantucker.ca/blog/the-amazing-race (2015-11-17)
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