Hiking is a fun way to get the exercise
you need. It moves your body, and relaxes your mind. Best of all, it
takes place in the great outdoors where nature provides a backdrop of
trails, hills, valleys, forests and streams.
the outdoor trails to strengthen the muscles in your calves, thighs,
buttocks and lower back. Trek up the country hills to get the aerobic
activity needed to keep your cardiovascular system healthy. Manoeuvre
around and over the boulders, fissures and fallen trees and you’ll get
a healthy measure of stretches.
hiking have their similarities, but hiking is sufficiently different to
deserve its own space. Hikes are longer and more strenuous than walks.
Trails are usually over rough and hilly terrain, and it’s a given that
you wear hiking boots on every outing. A hiking outing usually takes up
a full day, for you’ll probably drive out of town to find the best
trails. As with walking, you can hike on your own, with a partner, or a
For many people the idea of taking a day
to hike seems daunting. Perhaps they feel they are not up to it,
because they haven’t done it before. We originally felt that way. But
we soon learned that our concerns were unfounded.
wife Olga and I joined a hiking club many years ago, and we have always
enjoyed the social atmosphere that accompanies group hiking. In our
club, members take turns as leader. Our hikes begin at 10.00 a.m. and
end about 3:00 p.m. Before starting out, our leader briefs us about the
type of terrain, the distance, lunch location, and drop out points if
any. We prefer hikes in the 10 to 15 kilometer range, while younger
folks will seek out longer more difficult outings.
a day hike everyone carries a small daypack, containing a few
essentials that may include a sweater, a change of shirt, a small first
aid kit and of course, lunch. Most important is water. Carry at least
one litre in your pack or in a pouch around your waist. Your only major
expenditure will be for a good pair of hiking boots, which are a
necessity, as trails are sometimes rough and rocky.
sticks or trekking poles are becoming popular these days, especially in
Europe. They provide improved balance and stability when the need
arises, and they relieve the pressure on your knees when you walk
downhill. We prefer the type that telescopes down small enough to pack
in our luggage for travelling.
You will never
get lost or left behind, as your leader will arrange for someone to act
as sweep, or bring up the rear. Whenever possible, leaders will also
arrange a drop out point for those who don’t want to go the full
So where can you find out about
hiking trail locations and hiking clubs? There are numerous hiking
trails in every province and territory. The best sources of trail
information are word of mouth from other hikers, bookstores, libraries,
trail associations, and the Internet. The Trans Canada Trail will
eventually wind its way through every province and territory. At 18,000
kilometres it will be longest trail of its kind in the world. Over 50
percent of the trail has been completed. Eventually it will accommodate
walking, cycling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and in some
cases, snowmobiling. Here are a few websites to help you get started:
up hiking as an outdoor activity and you’ll have lots of company and
make new friends. The famous Bruce Trail in Ontario for instance, has a
membership of 7,500 and there’s a similar interest in other provinces.
Get your hiking boots ready for a trek to a new and interesting place
near where you live. We are privileged to live in a rich and beautiful
country, get out there and enjoy it.