Hike the Highlands Festival (Sept. 13-22): What is new in 2013?

Adapted from the Hike the Highlands Newsletter August 11

The Hike the Highlands Festival in Cape Breton will celebrate its 10th Anniversary this year from September 13-22. Thikelogo1e Festival is making it a special year to remember. Here’s what’s new in 2013 : 

  • A special souvenir pass/log book, a 32 page publication with photos and pages for notes
  • A special Wally Hayes Vision show – “A look Back at the Past,” nine years of Hike the Highlands Festival on opening night of the festival
  • A sit down supper as part of the closing ceremonies
  • Expanding your Horizons – A Landscape & Seascape Photography workshop, Sept. 12-13, learn to shoot wide angle & panoramic photos and managed your library of photos
  • New evening activities and presentations
  • Hike the Highlands new website now for mobile devices. If you type in our regular website address -www.hikethehighlands.com on your phone it will automatically take you to our mobile website. If you have a tablet ie. iPad , our regular website will come up on your device.

Summit Award Presented to Hike the Highlands

Hike Nova Scotia has awarded the Hike the Highlands Festival with its highest award.

“The Summit Award is presented to an organization and or an individual that has demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to the growth and development of hiking in Nova Scotia,” explains Deb Ryan, Hike Nova

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Deb Ryan (left) and Claire MacNeil (right) of Hike Nova Scotia present Tom Wilson (centre) of the Hike the Highlands Festival with the Summit Award.

Scotia’s Past President.

The award was presented to Tom Wilson, President of the Hike the Highland Festival, at the Hike NS annual Summit held at the Gaelic College, St. Anne’s, in Cape Breton on June 22. The Hike the Highlands Festival inspires residents and visitors to hike and enjoy the highlands, scenic vistas and Cape Breton’s natural beauty.

During its 10 year history, Hike the Highlands has grown into a Nova Scotia Signature Event. It attracts participants from all over the world and it has expanded the 10 day September Festival to include a 3 Peaks Challenge in July and a series of winter snowshoe hikes. For more information about the Hike the Highlands Festival from September 13-22, go to http://www.hikethehighlands.com.

Clare MacNeil, a Hike NS board member from Cape Breton, has participated in many Hike the Highlands Festivals. MacNeil says she has seen an increase in the number of participants each year and recognizes the importance of the many volunteers that keep the spirit of the festival alive.

Photos from the Hiking Summit (June 21-22, 2013)

The Nova Scotia Hiking Summit took place on June 21-22, 2013 at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, Cape Breton Island. Here are some photos from the event. Learn more about the summit here.

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A morning hike takes place on June 22 on the Gaelic College’s trails.
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The Summit Award is presented to Tom Wilson (centre), President of the Hike the Highlands Festival Society, for its work in promoting hiking in Cape Breton. With Tom is Hike NS outgoing President Deb Ryan (left) and Hike NS board member Claire MacNeil (right).
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Tom Wilson talks about the Hike the Highlands Festival.
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Elaine Wallace tell us about a possible long distance hiking trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
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Erich Muntz talks about coyote research in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
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Shauna Heighton talks about the Outdoor Council of Canada and the Hike Leader course.
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Many of the folks who attended the Hiking Summit pose outside at the Gaelic College on a beautiful sunny day.
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Happy hikers pose on the Red Islands trail after the Hiking Summit.

Hiking Festival Steps Up to the Camera

By David Redwood

Lisa Dixon has hiked 200 kilometres since mid-July, much of it in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and every step of the way she’s had her camera.

It’s for memories, but also to record unbelievable spots she might find herself in so she can share with friends later.

“You are just hoping you are going to come across that big male moose standing in front of you,” said Dixon, laughing as she explained why she shoots pictures on the trail.

Dixon is a guide at this year’s Hike the Highlands Festival, and her interest in photography is not unusual. Many of the hikers who attend the festival pack sophisticated cameras, and new activities are scheduled this year to satisfy shutterbugs.

A popular photo workshop by Wally Hayes has been expanded to two days (Sept. 13-14), and participants will be encouraged to snap images for a new slideshow at the festival’s opening ceremonies.

“We wanted to make sure that this year’s workshop was different than any other year,” said Tom Wilson, chair of Hike the Highlands Festival. He said Hayes’ sessions will feature photo shoots at Black Brook Beach and Still Brook Falls, and includes subject areas like image editing and file management.

Hikers are naturally drawn to photography, Wilson said.

“When you hike you are going for the views, and of course when you are a photographer and you want to take pictures you are going for the views as well. It’s a real nice mixture,” said Wilson.

Hayes, the veteran photographer leading the workshop, said he enjoys shooting pictures at the Festival’s guided walks. Even non-photographers on the hikes develop an interest in what camera owners are shooting.

“There is a curiosity factor,” said Hayes.

He said while seascapes and mountain views are always popular, many photographers are drawn to fauna at foot level. Other hikers? Not so much.

“Most people who are not into photography are walking on these things and trampling them into the ground without even realizing it. Then all of a sudden they see somebody taking a picture of this mushroom, as an example, or wildflower, or whatever the case may be, and all of a sudden they become aware of it, and they say, ‘Oh my god. That’s incredible. I‘ve never noticed those before.’”

Hayes said over the last ten years he’s noticed that even hikers who don’t set out with a burning interest in photography are finding themselves on the trail with cellphones or tablets that pack powerful cameras. And they are using them.

“They want to get as much out of (the device) as they can.”

Hayes says new smartphone applications like LightTrac, which creates maps overlayed with the direction the sun shines at certain times, make it even easier for hikers to capture powerful images of sunsets and sunrises.

Festival schedulers are running a 6 a.m. sunrise hike on Sept. 15 at Middle Head trail, and, later in the week, a Sept. 19 sunset hike on the national park’s Skyline trail. A photo contest will be held after the ten-day festival featuring pictures from most of the 20 featured hikes.

For more information on hiking, walking or snowshoeing in Nova Scotia contact Hike Nova Scotia through www.hikenovascotia.ca.