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Seasons Greetings!

THIS ISSUE: We share an article titled "Reminiscences of my 2017 Hikes", provide a few tips on Winter Hiking, and encourage everyone to check out some of the great Volunteer Opportunities available at Hike Ontario. Also included is an Amazing Opportunity for Hike Ontario instructors, as well as the winner of this month's Trail Photo Contest.

As always, stay happy and healthy in the great outdoors, hikers. We wish you Happy Trails!

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Reminiscences of my 2017 Hikes

By Jim Bonthron

The other day, I was reminiscing about life in the Midland Ganaraska Hiking Club, and I thought MY memories might stimulate YOURS.

SPRING:  The snow is gone, the trees are budding, the rivers are swollen, so the rapids and falls are Noisy! There are still no leaves on the trees, so you can still see a long way into the bush.

My greatest memory is from a place near Collingwood, where the Bruce Trail winds through some Gigantic rocks (which can be a challenge), then goes a little further, through a meadow in which there are THOUSANDS of trilliums … it has to be seen to be appreciated.

SUMMER: It is much warmer, (though I still wear light, long pants, because of ‘ticks’), and Awenda Park is a ‘favorite’, for the varied terrain, and the swimming in the cool, clear Georgian Bay waters.

My greatest memory is a hike around Hardy Lake, with a swim in the refreshing water, on slippery rocks, (letting go of Pride, I do the ‘bum slide’ to get into the water…).

FALL: The weather is sometimes ‘iffy’, but the apples are ripe and spray-free.

My greatest memory is the sound of dry leaves crackling underfoot, and the day we came across a farmer’s abandoned field of gourds, different squashes, and HUNDREDS of pumpkins. We brought a few home, but could not ‘make a dent’ in the Plenty, just wasted.

 WINTER: The greatest fun is Snowshoeing. It’s sometimes blustery and cold, but we usually end up at McD’s or someone’s house for coffee or hot chocolate. The Christmas Light hike & sing-song is always a hit, and the winter weekend trip to Killbear Provincial Park is an exciting event, - not to be missed.

My greatest memory was on a very cold, but bright sunny day, when the boughs were filigreed with frozen snow. I looked up, and saw glistening branches across a blue, blue sky… - unforgettable!

POT-LUCKS: Several times throughout the year, we have Pot-luck parties, some in winter, some in summer. MANY people come, and my favorite party is the Christmas Party, when SO many people show up.

CAMPING TRIPS:  We go to various places, but a valued feature is ‘Marc’s Tarps’. I don’t know HOW he does it, but they keep the Rain and the Dew off, and provide a central meeting place.

WATER: While we do so many ‘land-based trips’, my greatest memories are those involving ‘water’. At the Saugeen River, canoes and kayaks went downriver, through fast and stony rapids, and everyone (even Neophytes) had a good time....

On another river, inner-tubes and air-mattresses were used by ‘the adventurists’ to go downstream and brave the fast water. Of course, there were also calm lakes and ‘portages’…( - my ‘least favorite’…but at least I have a light canoe…)

So, in summary, let me quote one of our club members, Edda Zeitel: "Life is Good, when you are in the Midland Hiking Club !”

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Winter Hiking: A Few Tips

Winter hiking is one of the most invigorating & enjoyable of experiences. Many hikers like to come out and participate when there is a good layer of snow on the ground. The recent growing popularity of hiking with snowshoes has provided further encouragement for people to spend more time outdoors in the winter.

In the area of safety the same practices apply as those required for regular hiking. However, leaders should pay closer attention to the more demanding aspects of hiking in snow. In planning for winter hikes whether on snowshoes or on foot, special consideration should be given to the level of difficulty, the length of the hike and the hours of daylight available in conjunction with the expected ability level of the participants.

Winter hiking can become a nightmare for some people if they are not sufficiently well equipped. Very low temperatures accompanied by a wind chill can create hazardous conditions. Leaders should ensure that their hikers are up to the task and that they are properly equipped. Clothing should consist of double layers of insulation in the form of jackets, sweaters or vests, preferably of fleece or wool together with wind proof pants, gaiters, boots, hat, gloves/mitts and a sturdy shell jacket. Despite the cold, a good supply of water or juice is needed, as well as snacks and additional food. If possible a hot drink could be brought to have at lunchtime.

The key to staying comfortable under adverse conditions is to add or shed layers so that one becomes neither too warm nor too cool. Leaders should provide guidance to novice hikers in this respect and make a point of stopping often so that the group can take off layers when necessary.

A hiker who becomes wet with perspiration will become cold very quickly at lunchtime and have difficulty generating sufficient heat to recover. As well as being uncomfortable for the individual, it could lead to the onset of hypothermia. Depending on the temperature lunch stops should be limited to between 15 and 20 minutes.

Pre-hiking is important but an overnight snowfall can easily change the trail conditions. Leaders should make themselves aware of possible parking places since the regular spots may not be usable if there is deep snow and a plough has been through. A good idea is to have one or two snow shovels available in case a parking spot needs to be cleared.

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Volunteers Needed!

Help us grow the joy of hiking in this province by supporting Hike Ontario. As a non-profit
organization, we rely almost entirely on volunteers to meet the increasing public interest
for simple, inexpensive, and healthy methods to stay fit and enjoy.

If you or anyone you know is interested in some great opportunities, just let us know. Volunteers are always welcome.

We are looking for people with skills in marketing, public relations, fundraising, writing, and advocacy. Many of these roles are a great fit for post-secondary students, seasonal workers, and retirees.

Positions include:

• Web/Media/Graphics Artist

• Documentation Specialist

• Database Developer

• Archivist

• Photographer/Videographer

If you require additional information, believe you can assist Hike Ontario in some other role, or would like to make a donation, please contact us at info@hikeontario.com.

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Annual Instructor Fee

To celebrate our upcoming 45th Anniversary (in 2019) and to recognize the many contributions of our instructors, we are waiving the yearly Instructor Fee* for 2018 AND 2019 (if Course Honourarium is waived). All new instructors will still receive our embroidered patch acknowledging their Instructor Status – absolutely free. If you are interested, please contact our office by January 1 2018 (at the latest) and indicate that you wish to take advantage of this great offer.

*NOTE: To instruct for Hike Ontario, Instructors must hold active Instructor status. With that status you are entitled to our $5 million liability insurance. Your $25 annual instructor fee (if Course Honourarium is not waived) is due at the start of January each year. You must also teach 2 courses over 5 years to maintain “active” status.

If you have any questions, please contact our Program Manager at info@hikeontario.com

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Trail Photo Contest Winner!

Congratulations to @denise_heron on Twitter, the winner of our monthly Trail Photo Contest. They submitted this great photo from Foy Provincial Park in Killaloe, Ontario. Thank you @denise_heron and Happy Trails!

Learn more about Foy Provincial Park HERE

If you want to submit a photo of your trail adventures, just tweet us @HikeOntario with the image and the hashtag #TakeAHike and you'll qualify to have your hike featured in our Newsletter.

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