Copy the content below and paste it in the page in which you would like this embedded. Change the width value below as necessary.
On the home stretch, back down the mountain at the end of a great day of hiking at Mont Orford. I was happy to have @celine (in this photo, wearing the purple sweater) with me this time, though I didn't see her for most of the day. Fairly early on in the hike she bounded off after the advanced group, and we didn't connect again until the last stretch of trail.
The plan for the day was to do most of the climbing at the beginning, followed by a ridge walk, with the possibility to bag another peak at the end if people had enough energy. Putting the majority of the climbing at the beginning was a way to do a bit of a shakedown to determine who might have some problems, so we could make adjustments to groups and/or route.
We stopped at the first view point, about 1/3 up the climb and at that point determined we would break up into three groups. One group (beginner) would go back down and take a relatively flat path along the base of the mountain. A second group (intermediate) would continue up and along the ridge to our destination. The third group (advanced) would do the same ridge walk, but bag another peak at the end. I was one of the instructors in the intermediate group.
My takeaway, after having done two of these trips now is that it is really easy to take for granted all I have learned and experienced through hiking and backpacking. What feels like a short easy jaunt for me can be a difficult and trying time for a teenager. Most of them don't spend any time in the outdoors on a regular basis. The fun (for me) slightly exposed rocky sections made some kids genuinely nervous. The undulating trail along the ridge frustrated some of them, who assumed a ridge walk is flat. Spending a day, without headphones, was a challenge for a few.
After all these years, I am still convinced that the #onedayaweek protocol should be a part of every child's upbringing. There is just so much to learn and experience from our natural environment.
Today I helped lead the second hike with the Vanier College outdoor ed program. Our first hike, a few weeks ago to Mont Saint-Hilaire was a warm-up for todays hike at Mont Orford. The weather was about as close to perfect hiking weather as one could ask for - cool temperatures with some clouds, and not too much wind.
We are visiting Nova Scotia for a few days, and decided to go hike at one of our favorite places in the area, the Bluff Wilderness trails. For those of you who watched our AT thru-hike video series, the introductory sequence features footage of us backpacking in this area, probably around this time of year, in the fall of 2013. Lots of memories here, and it is great to be back!
Check out the map to see a GPS track of our route.
This weekend I had a last-minute opportunity arise to help lead a group of college students on a day hike on the outskirts of Montreal. The Vanier College phys-ed department has an outdoor education program, and they occasionally need help with the field portion of the course. One of the leaders scheduled for this weekend couldn't make it, so they asked me to help out.
The trip consisted of leading a group of 40-ish students on a day hike at Mont Saint-Hilaire. We broke up into 5 groups, one of which I led. A couple of the students in my group had never been hiking before.
In this photo, one of the students insisted on posing me for a summit photo shoot.
The day was fun. The students were (mostly) motivated - at least for the first 3km or so.
Another weekend, another hike up Mont Royal. I had a phone conversation with @Hig this week, and I am excited about the prospect of borrowing one of his packrafts for a time. Montreal, being an island, has a lot of interesting waters and islsnds that look like they would be interesting to explore. I think the combination of a packraft and I bike could make for some interesting adventures in the area.
Went for another urban hike this weekend. It was a similar route to last week, except this week I was joined by @reneetougas and, inspired by watching some videos on rucking, I put a concrete paving stone in my day pack.
I actually enjoy urban hiking, I just wish the ground wasn't so hard and flat.