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150 Miles

Arrived safely in Chapleau a last night. Extreme snow conditions. Several sleds got stuck along the way. Our support truck is still stuck in Wawa. Hoping they can catch up to us by tonight. Heading for Timmons today – 166 miles. Will be considerably colder. About zero. Windy so the wind chill is -18. We’ll post more pictures tonight.

The provincial police closed the highway. Our support truck can’t leave Wawa.

Today we leave Wawa, Ontario, 🇨🇦 in our adventure in northern Ontario. We are headed for the Canadian outpost “Halfway Haven” and then onto Chapleau.

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(Courtesy photo) Matthew Pattullo (left) and grandfather George Pattullo will head to Ontario later this month to embark on a 1,000-mile snowmobile ride with additional family members. The annual trek also acts as a fundraiser. The Pattullo family has been snowmobiling for charity since the 1980s, but this is 13-year-old Matthew’s first trip.

Re-Print from Tuscola County Advertiser

Each winter, members of the Pattullo family pack up their snowmobiles and head to Canada for adventure that doubles as a charity fundraiser.

This year, 13-year-old Matthew Pattullo will make the trek for the first time.

“I think I’m ready to do this, it’s going to be around Canada,” said the Caro Middle School seventh-grader. “And I think it will be exciting because I’ve never been to Canada before.”

This year’s Pattullo crew includes Mathew’s grandfather, George; father, Mike; uncle, Pete; and brothers, Bryon and Nick. The Pattullos will begin the trip on Feb. 23, and are scheduled to finish on March 2. They will ride along a 1,000-mile trail that stretches from about 60 miles north of Sault Ste. Marie. They will ride to the northeast, then to the northwest, and then south, and southeast, arriving where the tour began.

“When My parents (George and Betty Pattullo) started doing this in the 1980s, they would organize a trip to Ontario, or Quebec, or even Alaska,” said Mike Pattullo. “It may be (Matthew’s) first time going, but he’s been riding snowmobiles since he was a little guy.”

Pete Pattullo acts as the trail boss and safety director.

“My uncle Pete is setting me up with a satellite GPS transponder and extreme weather survival gear,” Matthew said. “I hope I don’t need them.”

Mike Pattullo said the snowmobilers travel between 100 to over 200 miles each day.

“We go from town to town, there’s a hotel at each stop,” he said. “These are tiny little towns, they might have a gas station, at least one of them has just one building. We’ll start as early as 7 in the morning and get done at dark.”

Each year, the family accepts donations for the trip, which they, in turn, give to charity. This year, the Pattullos are riding for Bluewater Thumb Youth for Christ and juvenile diabetes.

“We’ve raised money for diabetes, the American Cancer Society, the Octagon Barn,” Mike Pattullo said. “One year they even did it for (former Caro and University of Michigan wrestler) Mike Ellsworth for his attempt to get to the Olympics.”

Matthew said he rides his 2005 Ski Doo snowmobile quite a bit around the Thumb, usually every weekend when there is snow on the ground. But looks forward to this pumped-up version of his hobby.

“I’m happy about the fundraising part, because there is more to the ride,” Matthew said. “I get to support our local Youth for Christ and juvenile diabetes, and they are both really good causes.”

Although he is ready to roll, Matthew admitted some aspects of the trip make him a little nervous. Specifically a story his father told him about wild animals on the trail from a few years ago.

“One of our guys, he was our last rider, called the sweep, out of our group of 10 to 12 riders, and he’s in charge of making sure no one gets left behind,” Mike Pattullo said. “There was a wolf alongside the trail, chasing him and nipping at the sled. So he stopped real hard, the wolf went forward, and then he ran it over with the sled. And, of course, he didn’t hang around to see if there were any more.

“I told Matthew that story and he looked at me like ‘Dad, I’m not sure I want to do this.’”

In addition to wolves, moose and elk roam the area. And minus 30-degree temperatures are common. Fortunately, bears hibernate through the winter and are not an issue.

“There’s always a danger of hitting a moose, or an elk, or some large animal,” Mike Pattullo said. “We’ve had deer run along the trail with the sleds because the snow off the trail was too deep.

The group’s website is http://www.michcanska.com. Over the course of the snowmobiling trek, the Pattullos will post daily pictures and videos on the site.

Matthew also enjoys drawing, building, fishing and sailing and is a member of the Caro Middle School track and field and cross country teams.

Sent from my Bell Samsung device over Canada’s largest network.