2 friends complete Island Walk in 32 days and raise money for mental health

·2 min read
There are now signs dotting the P.E.I. landscape pointing toward the 32 sections of The Island Walk.  (The Island Walk/Facebook - image credit)
There are now signs dotting the P.E.I. landscape pointing toward the 32 sections of The Island Walk. (The Island Walk/Facebook - image credit)

Two Ontario friends completed a great feat for charity on Friday: They've just just wrapped up their 32-day hike of P.E.I.'s Island Walk.

Silvia Weismann and Lesley Ciarletti developed a strong bond by connecting with nature.

"Lesley and I connected through some mental health issues we both struggled a little bit with at the end of our career," Weismann said. "We found each other, started walking with our dogs, and our walking has kind of been our therapy. And going through the forest has been church."

So when Ciarletti first heard of the 700-kilometre route that goes around the Island during a trip to the province with her husband, it was only natural she'd tell her friend all about it.

"We had been told by friends that we're the only two people crazy enough to do something so big and get it done in a really short period of time," Ciarletti said.

"By the time my husband and I got back to Ontario, we had 11 days to get organized, and 12 days later we flew out here with this commitment to come to the Island and see what all the fuss is about."

Weismann and Ciarletti braved rain, thunder and P.E.I.'s cold fall weather to experience the Island's great scenery and amazing ocean views first-hand.

"My mother was mortified," Weismann said.

And while they were at it, they raised some money for charity too. The pair will be donating over $2,500 to the Canadian Mental Health Association on P.E.I.

Arrived as guests, left as family

Before starting their journey, Ciarletti created a spreadsheet with all the info needed to finish the Island Walk in 32 days. But that made the hike no less challenging.

"It was the logistics of moving for 32 days between different checkpoints on foot, no transportation available, with limited opportunities for accommodations because a lot of places were shut down," she said.

But Ciarletti said that thankfully they met a lot of friendly Islanders that helped them along the way.

"One of the highlights for Silvia and I has absolutely been about the friendships that we've created here," Ciarletti said. "Every single place we stayed in one way or another, as they left us, we sort of arrived as guests, we left as family."

And they definitely enjoyed the views as well.

"One of the things that I enjoyed was the green fields and they just seemed to go on forever," Weismann said. "And then the animals. There's lots of horses, we've seen goats, we've seen llamas, we've seen quite a few foxes — I'm getting quite good at spotting fox.

"We also saw a silver fox, and that was a real treat."

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