Winter hikes fend off cabin fever

Pandemic or not, fighting boredom and inactivity has always been a challenge in winter. Hike Nova Scotia says that one way to fend off cabin fever is to hike or snowshoe.

“We can glue ourselves to screens this winter or we can get off the couch and do something good for our bodies, minds and souls,” says Janet Barlow, Hike NS Executive Director. “Getting out for a hike or a snowshoe is something most folks can do close to home on a local trail.”

Event Details

Date: January 16 to March 27, 2021

Location: Province-wide

The full schedule with registration details and directions is found at www.hikenovascotia.ca. Hikes are listed by date and region. Hikes include the following areas:

  • Cape Breton
  • Highland (Guysborough County, Antigonish County, Pictou County)
  • Fundy (Municipality of East Hants, Cumberland County, Colchester County)
  • Annapolis Valley (Municipalities of Hants West and Clare, Counties of Digby, Annapolis and Kings)
  • South Shore (Counties of Yarmouth, Shelburne, Queens, Lunenburg and District of Argyle)
  • Halifax (Halifax Regional Municipality)

Fast Facts

  • Hike NS and 15 host organizations partnered to offer the guided hike series from January to March.
  • There are over 35 guided hikes scheduled province-wide. Many are snowshoeing events or just regular hikes if there’s no snow.
  • Hikes are led by local folks and participants qualify to win trail prizes. 
  • All of these free or low-cost hike or snowshoe events require pre-registration and will follow public health protocols, including social distancing. 
  • The series includes hikes of various lengths and difficulty levels. 
  • For some of the guided hikes, snowshoes are provided.
  • For those new to snowshoeing, there’s an Intro to Snowshoeing webinar coming up on January 26. Register at www.hikenovascotia.ca
  • If you need snowshoes, easily find some to borrow, rent or buy using Hike NS’s online guide, with over 65 listings. There are over 40 venues where you can borrow them for free. Learn more at www.hikenovascotia.ca.
  • Hike NS thanks its local partners for organizing the hikes on the ground as well as The Trail Shop, Goose Lane Editions and the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage for their support.
  • Hike NS encourages and promotes a growing hiking culture throughout the province, striving to be the voice for those who hike, walk and snowshoe.

Photos

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Social Media

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Contact

For more information on these events or Hike Nova Scotia contact:

Janet Barlow, Hike Nova Scotia
(902) 932-6902
info@hikenovascotia.ca
www.hikenovascotia.ca

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Hiker Gift Ideas 2020

If you’ve got a hiker or potential hiker on your gift list, we have lots of ideas for you! Consider giving:

Books:

Donations:hardcover_standing_1_grande-AforAdv

Gift cards and certificates:

Hiking gear:

  • Ice cleats/crampons
  • First aid kit
  • Compass
  • Snowshoes
  • Trekking poles
  • Walking stick
  • Hiking socks
  • Back pack
  • Headlamp
  • Hiking boots
  • Thermos
  • Water bottle
  • Pocket knife

Guided hikes fight pandemic stress

If concerns over how to get back to fall routines during a pandemic is causing you stress, relax. Hike Nova Scotia has you covered with a series of guided hikes to get you outside to decompress.

Quotes

“If ever there was a time to get out and enjoy the healing effects of nature, that time is now,” says Janet Barlow, Hike NS Executive Director. “With the pressure we’re all under after six months of living under pandemic restrictions, it’s important to breathe fresh air, get some physical activity and slow our minds down.” 

Barlow says hiking is just what we could use right now and autumn is one of the best times to do it. “There are few to no bugs, it’s starting to cool off a bit and the fall colours are a real tonic.”

Event Details

Location: Province-wide

Date: September 12 to November 7, 2020

Registration: Registration in advance is required for all hikes. The full schedule with registration details and directions is found at www.hikenovascotia.ca. Hikes are listed by date and region. Hikes are listed by month or region (Halifax, South Shore, Valley, Fundy, Highland and Cape Breton).

Fast Facts

  • Hike NS and 17 host organizations have partnered to offer the Fall Guided Hike Series from September to November. 
  • There are over 30 hikes scheduled province-wide. 
  • Hikes are led by local folks and participants qualify to win trail prizes. 
  • These free hikes require pre-registration and will follow public health protocols, including social distancing. 
  • The series includes hikes of various lengths and difficulty levels. 
  • Hike NS thanks its local partners for organizing the hikes on the ground as well as MEC, Goose Lane Editions and the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage for their support.
  • Hike NS encourages and promotes a growing hiking culture throughout the province, striving to be the voice for those who hike, walk and snowshoe.

Photos

Find photos on Facebook  or Instagram or use some of the photos on this page.

Social Media

Share on Facebook  
Share on Twitter 
Share on Instagram 

Contact

For more information on these events or Hike Nova Scotia contact:

Janet Barlow, Hike Nova Scotia
(902) 932-6902
Email
www.hikenovascotia.ca 

Fall Hiking Courses & Webinars

Hike Nova Scotia’s fall schedule of courses and webinars across the province is now available. They focus on skills for novices all the way up to experienced hikers.

“We’re excited to be able to offer our in-person courses again, while respecting public health pandemic restrictions,” says Janet Barlow, Hike NS Executive Director. “But we’re also offering a suite of online webinars so that most people can learn, no matter where they are.”

In-person courses include: 

  • Field Leader – Hiking: Sept. 19-20 or Nov. 14-15
  • Navigation Maps & Compass: Sept. 26-27 or Oct. 24-25
  • Field Leader – Winter: date to be announced

Webinars include:

  • Intro to Hiking: Sept. 23, Oct. 20 or Nov. 18
  • Leave No Trace: Oct. 6
  • Tick Prevention: Sept. 15
  • Wildlife Encounters & Safety: date to be announced

Fast Facts

  • Dates, locations and costs vary, depending upon the course or webinar.
  • Learn more and register at www.hikenovascotia.ca
  • COVID-19 public health guidelines will be followed for in-person courses, which include indoor and outdoor sessions. 
  • Partners include the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, the Outdoor Council of Canada, Leave No Trace Canada, the District of Chester, AtlanTick Repellent Products and the NS Department of Lands and Forestry Natural Resources Education Centre.
  • Hike Nova Scotia encourages and promotes a growing hiking culture throughout our great province. We strive to be the voice for those who hike, walk and snowshoe. With every step we’re building a community of outdoor adventure enthusiasts.

Social Media

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Contact

Hike Nova Scotia
(902) 932-6902
Email 
www.hikenovascotia.ca 

Webinar teaches Leave No Trace Hiking

Being confined to our houses and neighbourhoods for a few months has spurred a renewed love of hiking. When allowed back onto trails in May, people flocked back in what might be record numbers. Few groups were happier than Hike Nova Scotia at the news, but it was also concerning.

Quotes

“Close behind the elation of being allowed back on the trails was a feeling of concern, a fear that we might love our trails to death after such a long absence,” says Janet Barlow, Executive Director of Hike NS. “Personally, I witnessed hoards of hikers at a popular trail in the Valley area on a beautiful weekend in May. There were reports of similar crowds on trails across the province. Thankfully they did a good job of social distancing.”

Event Details

Date: Tuesday, July 7, 2020 at 7 pm
Cost: $20 (free for Hike NS paid members), non-members receive a free one-year individual membership
Registration Deadline: July 6 (webinar spaces are limited)
Registration Link: Learn more and register at www.hikenovascotia.ca

Fast Facts

  • Hike NS felt there was no better time to launch education on Leave No Trace principles, hoping it might counteract the negative environmental impact of so many people enjoying our trails.
  • The webinar is geared for new and experienced hikers. It covers responsible use of our natural areas and techniques to protect our environment and the hiking experience for one another. 
  • It will include an in-depth look at the seven Principles of Leave No Trace and a question and answer session. 
  • The presenter is Jody Conrad, certified Leave No Trace Master Educator. 
  • Offered in partnership with the Municipality of the District of Chester, it is supported by the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. 
  • Hike NS encourages and promotes a growing hiking culture throughout the province, striving to be the voice for those who hike, walk and snowshoe.

Photos

Find photos on Facebook  or Instagram or use some of the photos on this page.

Social Media

Share on Facebook  
Share on Twitter 
Share on Instagram 

Contact

For more information on these events or Hike Nova Scotia contact:

Janet Barlow, Hike Nova Scotia
(902) 932-6902
Email 
www.hikenovascotia.ca 

Backyard Nature Activities: Unnature Trail

This activity is taught in Hike NS’s Re-Connecting with Nature workshop offered each year in locations throughout the province. This is a one-day, hands-on workshop for adults held mostly outdoors to improve your ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth. We plan to have a schedule available in late June for workshops hopefully scheduled in the fall, if possible.

Unnature Trail

Synopsis: This game challenges participants to look closely at their surroundings, distinguishing human-made objects from a natural setting. This is the formal version but it can be done much more informally.

Set Up and Props: Look for a trail going through an area with trees of various sizes, leaf litter, rotting logs and other plants. Mark the beginning and end of a 20- to 30-meter section of the trail (make sure it is wide enough for two people to pass). Ahead of time, secretly place 16 to 20 human-made objects along one side of the trail. Some of these should stand out (e.g., brightly colored balloons or fluorescent pink cockroaches). Others should blend with surroundings (e.g., rubber bands or clothespins). Keep the number of objects you have planted a secret.

Source: Adapted from Sharing Nature®: Nature Awareness Activities for All Ages by Joseph Cornell.

Activity

1. Trail Walk: Have the kids walk the trail one at a time, trying to spot as many objects as they can. They are to remain quiet and not pick up the objects or point them out to others. Have them whisper in your ear how many objects they saw. 

2. Repeat Trail Walk: Tell each child the total number of objects, and have each walk the trail again, trying to find more. Total “looking” time can range from 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the age and attention span. 

3. Group Object Collection: After two rounds, go to one end of the trail and have the participants tell you where the objects are, picking them all up as you go. Discuss how camouflage and coloration helps animals hide in the woods. They can then go on a search for small camouflaged animals (insects, spiders, etc.) if they choose. 

Early Childhood Adaptation: “What would the gnomes do with garbage in the forest? They need help to collect it and put it where it belongs, in the recycling or the garbage!” Take along a clear bag and a blue bag. Make sure the children are not picking up anything that could cut them. Pre-plant small, med and large items to be found on the trail ahead of time. Plant 10 objects and get the children to make fist out of their hands. They raise a finger out of their fist for each object they find until they have all fingers extended.

Backyard Nature Activities: Leaf Slides

This activity is taught in Hike NS’s Re-Connecting with Nature workshop offered each year in locations throughout the province. This is a one-day, hands-on workshop for adults held mostly outdoors to improve your ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth. We plan to have a schedule available in late June for workshops hopefully scheduled in the fall, if possible.

Leaf Slides

Synopsis: Everyone is invited to a slide show and selects a special leaf as a ticket for admission. At the natural theatre, the leader gives each person a slide frame. Each person puts the leaf into the frame. Everyone holds their leaf slide up to the light in a circle and then passes their slides around when the leader clicks.

Set-up and Props: You need one leaf slide per person. Take an approximately 40 by 20 cm light piece of cardboard and fold it in half to get a 20 by 20 cm slide (you could cut up an old filing folder). Label “Leaf Slide” across the top with the fold at the bottom. Then cut a 5 cm square viewing window through both layers of cardboard and the leaf is placed inside the cardboard like a sandwich, over the hole. Pick a nice clear spot to circle up for the slide show. Find a narrow spot between the trees to form the entryway into the theatre so they can go in single file with you “at the door”.

Source: Adapted from Earthwalks by Kirk Hoessle & Steve Van Matre, Institute for Earth Education, 1980.

Activity

1. Lead in: “Often when you go to parks and special places, they give you a slide show to start off. Well, I have one for you and we are going to be able to run the projector right out here in the middle of the woods. Instead of taking place in a dark room, we need a bright open area – like that one over there!” (S)he gestures toward a nearby clearing in the woods.

2. Introduce Leaf Ticket: “But don’t expect to get in without your ticket for admission. Get yourself a very special leaf you can find and meet me over there. Don’t pick up just any leaf and make sure everyone has a different one. I’ll check your tickets there.”

3. Inspect leaves at door: Move ahead to the clearing while they select leaves. As they arrive, put them in single file outside the theatre and give each leaf a quick inspection. Instruct them to keep their tickets as they enter the theatre and form a good circle. 

4. Demonstrate how to make a slide, then hand out frames: Join the circle and note that “you not only hold the tickets in your hands, you also hold the slides for the slide show. I’ve got something here that will help you make your slide.” Show the group a leaf slide frame and demonstrate its use. “This will complete your leaf slide. Simply place your leaf inside. You’ll then be able to experience the incredible beauty in leaves.” 

5. Demonstrate how to focus slide: Let them look at slides initially and then  “Now I’ll show you a different way to focus and view your leaf slide. Hold your slide up to the sky at arm’s length, close one eye, and bring the leaf right up to your eye. Then slowly move the slide back towards the sky until the leaf comes into focus. See what happens? You can see all the veins.”

6. Conduct Show: “Now it’s time for the slide show. That’s when we take a look at each other’s leaf slides. Let’s imagine that we form a circle of slides in a tray, just like the tray on top of an old-fashioned slide projector. When you hear the slide projector click, pass your slides around to the left. Use that same focusing technique to view each slide.” The leader clicks until the slides have gone all around and everyone has their own back.

Early Childhood Adaptation: Use a clothes pin to hold the leaf, rather than the paper frame.

Backyard Nature Activities: Nature’s Symphony

This activity is taught in Hike NS’s Re-Connecting with Nature workshop offered each year in locations throughout the province. This is a one-day, hands-on workshop for adults held mostly outdoors to improve your ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth. We plan to have a schedule available in late June for workshops hopefully scheduled in the fall, if possible.

Nature’s Symphony

Synopsis: Everyone sneaks into the back row of a natural concert hall and listens in silence for several minutes to the symphony of sounds.

Set-up (there are no props!): The only trick is to find the right place to do it. It is nicest to pick the side of a hill so that it feels a bit like the upper rows of a concert hall with the stage down below. When you are scouting, listen for the types of sounds – you want to pick a spot that minimizes human sounds and maximizes nature sounds. It is great to be near water.

Activity

1. Lead in: Just a touch before the previous activity is winding down, interrupt and wonder about the time, and ask someone who has a watch for it. Be shocked how late it is, point out that you had arranged a concert for ten minutes from now at this incredible concert hall. Explain that the concert will give you the opportunity to meet a number of the inhabitants around here that you do not usually get to see, but everyone has to work on their listening skills to take advantage of this chance. Quickly explain that the group will obviously be late, but that if they are quick and quiet, you think they can still sneak in the back rows. 

2. Move to Concert Hall: Adopt a hushed urgent tone (this is critical to the magic) and lead the way single file to your pre-selected concert hall. You want the distance from the end of the last activity into the concert hall to be short but significant, maybe 10-15 metres, but it depends on the lay of the land. You want it long enough to give people the chance to make a transition to the new activity in hushed tones, but you don’t want to give them time to think or talk.

3. Seat Group in Hall: Stand at the entrance to the hall and point/usher the participants to the seats. Make sure they are all huddled together in a group, just about touching each other, all facing the stage. After they are seated, sit yourself on the end of the first row.

4. Focus Group on Listening: Point out that you all seem to be just in time, thank them for being quick and quiet. Ask them to hit their ears to get the “cobwebs” out. Point out that this is very subtle but beautiful music and they will have to listen intently. They could picture their ears growing like elephant ears. Ask them to try to avoid naming the sounds, but rather ask them to listen to the pure sound and represent it as a tone in their minds if they need to.

5. Dim Lights, Start Concert: Point out that when the concert starts, the lights will be dimmed – they need to shut their eyes. Point out the concert will be several minutes long. Then start the silence (if you can talk and also listen to the woods at the same time, it is neat if you can listen for a proper time to start (maybe the wind is picking up).

6. Create Ending: Listen for around 4 to 5 minutes though the length depends on the group. It is helpful to quit a bit after you get your first inclination to quit but it is up to you. End the silence by commenting on how beautiful the concert was and start a round of applause.

7. Sharing of What Was Heard: Ask people what sounds they heard and what was neat. Share some of what you heard. Discuss.

Backyard Nature Activities: Scratch and Sniff

This activity is taught in Hike NS’s Re-Connecting with Nature workshop offered each year in locations throughout the province. This is a one-day, hands-on workshop for adults held mostly outdoors to improve your ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth. We plan to have a schedule available in late June for workshops hopefully scheduled in the fall, if possible.

Scratch and Sniff 

Synopsis: Introduce the sense of smell with an aromatic natural item. Then demonstrate the process of scratching an item to release the scent while you put special potion on the object with a scent catcher sponge. The potion helps to catch the scent molecules in your nose. Participants then scratch and sniff across an area. At the end they pair up and share their favorite sniffs. 

Props and Set-up: You need a potion bottle (neat reused bottle) with potion in it (water), a bowl to pour the potion into, plus a scent catcher (small piece of sponge) for each person. It is nice to have it in an open enough area for freedom of movement. Scout the area out so you know some of the neat smells that are there to share ahead of time. 

Source: Adapted from Earthwalks by Kirk Hoessle & Steve Van Matre, Institute for Earth Education, 1980. 

Activity 

1. Introduce Challenge of Smell Sense: Note that you have the hardest sense challenge of them all… but you think they can handle it. It’s a skill that most humans do not use much anymore – the sense of smell. There are incredible smells out here, and some are easy… try this (let them smell a sprig of spruce or balsam fir). But most smells are tough to find, so I will share a couple of my tricks of the trade. 

2. Introduce the Scratch: “Most natural scents are hidden just below the surface of whatever it is that has them – they’re just waiting to burst forth and be released to the world outside. We’re going to try to find some of these scents, and I know a special way to help us find them. It’s called scratch and sniff. Simply scratch the surface of a natural object with your fingernail, and let the scent burst out! Then you must sniff before the scent goes away.”

3. Introduce the Potion: “Now, some of these scents, even though they burst out, are difficult to capture long enough for us to sniff. And some of them are just too faint to detect. To help overcome these problems, we’ll use the aid of this special potion and a ‘scent catcher’. This bottle contains a very old and special potion that comes from a hidden stream. This stream flows from a spring deep in the earth, and it is the special waters of this stream that are perfectly suited for capturing scents”. Adjust the story and fill in details as you see fit. 

4. Demonstrate Use of Scent Catchers: Pour some potion out of the bottle into the bowl…”These scent catchers can soak up the special solution and all you need to do is drip a bit on the object each time you go to scratch and sniff something. It will hold the scent long enough for you to get a whiff of it.” Demonstrate by scratching and sniffing several things and share the sniff. 

5. Prove Potion’s Effectiveness: “I can see you don’t believe this really works. I can prove it. Here, smell this sprig of fir [quickly put it under someone’s nose]. It has some smell, right? Now I will scratch it [crinkle it up] and drop some potion on it. Now smell it. It is much stronger right? [Let others try it.] You see it really works!”

6. Define Area for Scratch and Sniff: “Now see what you can discover, scratch and sniff your way over to there, where you’ll meet me. You can scratch and sniff anything – plants, roots, soil, and even rocks. Along the way, remember your favorite scratch and sniff. Lots of great scratch and sniffs are along the ground too, so don’t be afraid to get down to look for them. If you find a good sniff, share it with someone else. Oh, one more thing before you get started. This is ‘scratch and sniff’ not ‘squash and sniff’. Be gentle with what you’re sniffing!” 

7. Encourage and Model Scratching and Sniffing: Scratch and sniff yourself and point out things to the group members that give good sniffs. Encourage them to get down on their knees as there are a lot of neat sniffs near the ground. 

8. Pair Up for Sharing Sniffs: When they all arrive at the defined ending spot, have them pair up with whomever has the same color scent catcher. They then retrace their routes with their new partners and share their favorite scratch and sniff. 

Hike NS Introduces Hiking Virtually

How do you introduce people to hiking in the middle of a pandemic? In an age where in-person workshops aren’t allowed and group hikes a no-go, Hike Nova Scotia came up with a solution: go virtual with an Intro to Hiking webinar.

Quotes

“Now that Nova Scotians are allowed back into parks and on the trails we figured there would be interest since people were so thirsty to get back outside,” says Janet Barlow, Executive Director of Hike NS and the webinar presenter. “The webinar is our way of engaging people who want to start hiking or hike more but want some basic knowledge to stay safe and have a good experience.”

Event Details

Date: Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 7 pm
Cost: $20 (free for Hike NS paid members), non-members receive a free one-year individual membership
Registration Deadline: May 27 (webinar spaces are limited)
Registration Link: Learn more and register at www.hikenovascotia.ca

Fast Facts

  • This “taster” session covers how to prepare for a hike and hiking best practices.
  • It includes information you need before you leave, what to bring and wear, self-care and hiking etiquette.
  • The one-and-a-half hour webinar also includes a half-hour question and answer session. 
  • Hike NS thanks the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage for its support. 
  • Hike NS encourages and promotes a growing hiking culture throughout the province, striving to be the voice for those who hike, walk and snowshoe.

Photos

Find photos on Facebook  or Instagram or use some of the photos on this page.

Social Media

Share on Facebook  
Share on Twitter 
Share on Instagram 

Contact

For more information on these events or Hike Nova Scotia contact:

Janet Barlow, Hike Nova Scotia
(902) 932-6902
Email 
www.hikenovascotia.ca