Fall Colours Featured in Hike Series

Ask most hikers and they’ll likely agree that autumn is the best hiking season. Brisk air, no flies and those beautiful fall colours are drawing more and more people out onto our trails. That is what Hike Nova Scotia anticipates for its annual Fall Guided Hike Series taking place from September to November. 

Quotes

“It really is a gorgeous time of year to be on the trails,” says Janet Barlow, Hike NS Executive Director. “From easy to more challenging hikes and from woodland to coastal trails, there’s something for everyone in Nova Scotia.”

Event Details

Date: September 13 to November 17, 2019

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 25 host organizations partnered up to offer the guided hike series from September to November.
  • There are over 50 guided hikes scheduled province-wide.
  • Hikes are led by local folks and participants qualify to win trail prizes. Hikes are free or low-cost and some require pre-registration. 
  • The series includes hikes of various lengths and difficulty levels. 
  • Feeling like you’d like to upgrade your outdoorsy skills for the fall hiking season? Hike NS has you covered with a slate of courses and workshops that teach nature activities to use with kids, how to be a hike leader and navigation.
  • 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
info@hikenovascotia.ca 
www.hikenovascotia.ca 

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Trailing Spirit Check-In

Back on November 2, 2018, we featured a guest blog by Trailing Spirit blogger Stephanie Dean-Moore. We thought it was time to get an update on how her hiking project is progressing.

A year ago I embarked on an ambitious hiking project. I had been feeling restless and realized in August 2018 that I was staring at middle age and living a rich life that had become rather routine, predictable, a tad dull and too comfortable. I sensed that it was time to shake things up.

The project was a formidable challenge for me – I had never been alone in the woods and hadn’t done any significant exercise for many years. I bought a hiking guide and as is my habit, enthusiastically, and blindly, leaped in. With zero experience on the trail and no idea what I was taking on, I aimed to hike all 60 treks outlined in Michael Haynes’ Hiking Trails of Mainland Nova Scotia in a year. Sure.

The project was inspired by my disquiet and by my cousin Jeff, who had just a few weeks earlier died from ALS. Jeff’s desire to move and live infused my steps as I trekked through the year. As I spent hours in the woods and along the coasts, reflecting on the nature of life and living, I kept returning to the importance of embracing what we have while we have it. The project forced me to slow down and listen: to the world around me, to my body and to myself. As with grief, the journey has been unpredictable and challenging. I have had to struggle through uncertainty and doubt, challenge my concepts of success and failure, and look honestly at who I am, not who I perceive myself to be. It has been a glorious year… and a difficult one, often framed by beauty and comedy.

After a year on the trails, I am very glad to report that I have not even come close to completing the 60 hikes in this project. I can see the half-way mark just up ahead and I am confidently striding towards it, but decided along the way to slow down and embrace the path, not just the finish line. The extra time and space have permitted me to incorporate new challenges of my own, such as doing a solo hike overnight, and to save hikes for the future. Am still shocked that along the way winter became my favourite season to be outside. Wow.

While not usually a fan of social media, I have been documenting each hike on my blog, Trailingspirit.com. This has become a wonderful opportunity for me to seriously examine and process the experiences I have had on the trail; it is an honest look at the challenges and revelations I have faced on this journey. I frequently get lost, things rarely go as planned, and mayhem often ensues when I am hiking. I also have learned to be still and connect to myself and the natural world, to feel proud and grateful when a hike has been completed and a heavy pack removed, and to enjoy the sound of crunching through snow, my tracks the only human ones ahead. And a year in, I am still amazed that each hike brings with it new joys, wisdom and ways of seeing.

The project continues, its parameters having changed – it will keep going until it is done. I am excited to enter another year, knowing that there is much to see and learn on the trails ahead. Thank you Nova Scotia, for your natural beauty and teams of volunteers that keep the trails alive. I am so very grateful for your labours and your support, as you have made this life-altering adventure possible.

Happy hiking!

By Stephanie Dean-Moore, Trailing Spirit

Hike NS Summit Award 2019: Garnet McLaughlin

Photo: Garnet McLaughlin celebrates his Summit Award with his family: wife Alexia, daughter Madeline, son Seth and daughter Avary.

May 2019

Hike Nova Scotia is pleased to present Garnet McLaughlin with the Hike NS Summit Award. This award recognizes outstanding leadership and commitment to the growth and development of hiking in Nova Scotia.

Over the past 20 years, Garnet has logged countless hours in the development of trails, inspiring people to take action throughout Nova Scotia to create more outdoor adventures in the development of trails and pathways.

Garnet would rather be designing and building trails but he understands community, the importance of volunteer organizations and the importance of developing strong foundations and organizations for the long term.

Often it is not about time but the commitment to find the time to chair, be a board member, show up and attend meetings, create strategic plans, write and submit grant applications and lobby when and where necessary for the protection and development of trails that does and will create long term hiking opportunities.

By profession Garnet is a trail builder and started building trails in Economy at Thomas’ Cove in the mid-nineties. He has a background in integrated resource management and understands the biodiversity of the forest and the value of protecting the resource.

In the mid-nineties Garnet returned to Nova Scotia to run a youth crew building wilderness trails in the newly designated Economy River Wilderness Area. His passion for trail building, design and mentoring is based on a strong work ethic and more importantly an ethic to give back to the community. He worked on Kenomee Canyon, Devils Bend, Escarpment trail and upgraded Thomas Cove trails which is over 30 km of trail.

As a trails coordinator for Musquodoboit Trailway Association he finished up this wilderness trail system including the North and south Granite Ridge trails along with Admiral Lake loop, Bayers Lake and Gibraltar.

Over his 20-year career Garnet has been involved with different trail planning projects across the Maritimes including Neil’s Harbour in Cape Breton, Dollar Lake Provincial Lake, Mica Hill in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Gros Morne National Park, Birch Cove Blue Mountain Lake, Gully Lake and Nova Scotia Nature Trust trails.

He’s done it all. He has prepared assessments, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Cape Chignecto Provincial Park while working with both his staff and staff of the park. He has hosted trail building/restoration workshops across the province with volunteer groups, schools, municipalities and provincial governments at various sites.

He was an active volunteer board member for the NS Trails Federation for almost 10 years and worked on the Great Trail (or Trans Canada Trail) in Nova Scotia.

He took part in strategic discussions on the Atlantic Canada Trails Destination process to improve the hiking experiences that would appeal to international markets.

He started his own family base company, Cobequid Consulting after the devastating effects from Hurricane Juan in 2003 to repair the damage along so many of Nova Scotia’s trails.

He leant his expertise to the design and construction of the Crowbar Lake Trails (Waverly-Salmon River Long Lake Wilderness Area), living in the woods at the time and canoeing to the job site every day.

He worked with the community to create the Kenomee Trail Society serving as volunteer president and has been involved in many capacities with the society since 2001 when he was also balancing his volunteer role as fire chief of the Economy Fire Brigade. He is back as Chair again in 2019 volunteering for Kenomee.

In 2007 Garnet was involved in the creation of Cobequid Eco-Trails Society (CE-TS), focusing on the development and promotion of non-motorized trails, with an emphasis on environmental appreciation and stewardship. Garnet was their first Chair. This community based group designed and developed the Gully Lake Trail system creating over 30 kms of hiking trails within the Gully Lake Wilderness Area.

At the time it was one of the newest wilderness trail system in the province. Garnet was president, volunteer builder and trail builder throughout the process working with many dedicated volunteers which lead to hiking pathways such as Rogart Mountain Trail, Earltown Lake and Portage Trail to name only a few.

He has worked with the Cape to Cape Trail group that is part of the vision of a 400 km hiking trail through five counties which will include many of the trails he has helped shape throughout Colchester and Cumberland counties.

Garnet has been on the Hike Nova Scotia board since 2009 and is the immediate past president of Hike NS serving for 5 years. Garnet has been instrumental in providing strategic leadership that allowed the association to grow and expand.

He has led many hiking and snowshoeing events including  in Kenomee, Gully Lake, Beaver Mountain, Keppoch and Trenton Park trails to name only a few and his understanding of nature makes him a natural for sharing forest knowledge.

He has presented at many recreation conferences and seminars to share key messages around protecting our forests, setting aside land for biodiversity and promoting active lifestyles through the creation of quality sustainable hiking trails.

At the NS Trails Conference held at Cornwallis several years ago, he worked to design and create a legacy that would enhance the Mickey Hill Provincial Park so that delegates could learn trail building techniques on the ground and in doing so created a new section of hiking trail.

Garnet is a family man that wants to pass on his love for the outdoors and the importance of connecting with nature to both his family and others and it is for this and many other reasons mentioned that Hike NS wishes to acknowledge Garnet’s outstanding leadership and commitment in the development of hiking opportunities in Nova Scotia.

Thank you for your dedication, passion and for your expertise in inspiring communities around Economy, across Colchester County and Cumberland and, indeed, across Nova Scotia.

Hike NS is pleased to present Garnet McLaughlin the 2019 Summit Award.

Congratulations Garnet!

 

Hiking Summit Features South Shore Trails

Hiking Summit at Oak Island, Western Shore, a celebration of hiking culture in NS

About 200 people with an interest in hiking, walking and snowshoeing, will converge on Western Shore, on the South Shore, from May 24 to 26, 2019 for the eighth annual Nova Scotia Hiking Summit. Hosted by Hike NS along with Events Lunenburg County and Oak Island Resort and Conference Centre, the Summit is a celebration of Nova Scotia’s hiking culture. It includes sharing best practices, stories, networking and hiking. Attendees include avid hikers, hiking clubs, trail groups, provincial government, municipalities and others.

Platinum sponsor is O’Regan’s South Shore Subaru. Gold sponsors are the Municipality of Chester and the District of Lunenburg. Silver sponsor is the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. Bronze sponsors are Clif Bar, Scotiabank, Parks Canada, Atlantick, Saltbox Brewing Company, NS Department of Lands and Forestry, NS Department of Environment and Orthotics East Ltd.

Quotes

“This is the first time the Hiking Summit has visited the South Shore,” says Janet Barlow, Hike NS Executive Director. “It’s an area of the province that showcases a range of what Nova Scotia has to offer for hiking, from coastal hikes to woodland meaders, there’s something for everyone.”

Details

Date: Friday May 24, Saturday May 25 and Sunday, May 26, 2019
Location: Oak Island Resort & Conference Centre, 36 Treasure Drive, Western Shore
Time: 12 pm on May 24 to 5:30 pm on May 26

Fast Facts

  • Keynote speaker is Jan Sebastian LaPierre A for Adventure
  • MC Laura Barkhouse, local trail guru
  • Acadia First Nation opening ceremony
  • A kids’ program
  • Hikes featuring the beautiful scenery of the South Shore
  • Interesting sessions, skills workshops and Pecha Kucha presentations
  • Friday night reception and Saturday night supper with keynote speaker
  • Hike Nova Scotia’s Summit Awards
  • Silent auction and displays
  • Songs and stories around the campfire

The program and other details are found here

Photos

Find photos on Facebook  or Instagram or use some of the photos below.

Social Media

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Instagram

Contact

For more information on this event or Hike Nova Scotia contact:

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

Photos from the 2018 Hiking Summit in Ingonish, Cape Breton

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2019 Slate of Hike NS Courses Released

Hike Nova Scotia’s schedule of 2019 courses and workshops across the province is now available. From June to October and from one end of the province to the other, they range from how to share nature with children to how to be a hike leader to navigation.

Quotes

“As a hiking organization, we want to see people have fun and stay safe and that’s what these courses are all about,” says Janet Barlow, Hike NS Executive Director. “Hiking and interest in outdoor activity is growing and these courses ensure both novice and experienced hikers have the skills they need for a great time on the trail.”

Details

The specific offerings include:

  • Re-Connecting with Nature Workshops
  • Field Leader – Hiking Courses
  • Navigation Maps & Compass Courses

Fast Facts

  • Re-Connecting with Nature Workshop: This is a one-day, hands-on workshop held mostly outdoors to improve your ability to lead and share an appreciation and understanding of nature with children and youth.
  • Field Leader – Hiking Course: A two-day course with a systematic approach to planning and managing a one-day hiking activity.
  • Navigation Maps & Compass Course: A two-day course with a comprehensive introduction to navigation using maps and compass.
  • Dates, locations and costs vary, depending upon the course or workshop.
  • Learn more and view the schedules and details at www.hikenovascotia.ca/courses-workshops.
  • Partners include the Outdoor Council of Canada and the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
  • 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.

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
info@hikenovascotia.ca
www.hikenovascotia.ca

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NS Hiking Summit May 24-26, Western Shore

Hike Nova Scotia invites individuals and groups with an interest in hiking, walking and snowshoeing to the eighth annual Nova Scotia Hiking Summit from Friday, May 24 to Sunday, May 26, 2019 in Western Shore at Oak Island Resort & Conference Centre. The summit is a celebration of hiking culture and includes workshops, hiking stories, networking opportunities, hikes and a kids’ program. It is hosted by Hike NS, Events Lunenburg County and Oak Island Resort & Conference Centre. Platinum sponsor is O’Regan’s South Shore Subaru. Gold sponsors are the Municipality of Chester and the District of Lunenburg. Silver sponsor is the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage. Bronze sponsors are Scotiabank, Parks Canada, Atlantick, Saltbox Brewing Company, NS Department of Lands and Forestry and NS Department of Environment. Local trail guru Laura Barkhouse is the MC and the keynote speaker is Jan Sebastian LaPierre from A for Adventure.

There is limited space, so please register early to secure your spot (last year it sold out in one month). Registration is $125 (plus 15% discount for paid Hike NS members) and $100 for children, youth and students. Registration includes some meals, evening events, morning workshop sessions and afternoon guided hikes. Registration does not include accommodation – you must arrange this on your own. If it does not sell-out, registration will close at the end of the day on May 19th. Learn more and register here.

Don’t Hibernate this Winter: Go Snowshoeing Instead

The weather gurus say this winter will be colder and snowier than past years and Hike Nova Scotia says bring it on! Rather than hibernate until spring, the provincial group hopes people will get out on the trails, perhaps using snowshoes.

Quotes

“Some people think of winter as a time to stay indoors, but we think it’s a great time to experience nature and get in some physical activity,” says Janet Barlow, Hike NS Executive Director. “Now more than ever there are guided winter hikes and places where you can borrow, rent or buy snowshoes.”

Event Details

Date: January 13 to March 22, 2019
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 20 host organizations partnered up to offer the guided hike series from January to March.
  • There are 50 guided hikes scheduled province-wide. Most 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. Hikes are free or low-cost and some require pre-registration.
  • The series includes hikes of various lengths and difficulty levels.
  • Wondering where to find snowshoes? Not to worry, since you can easily find snowshoes to borrow, rent or buy using Hike NS’s online guide, with over 90 listings. There are at least 65 venues listed where you can borrow them for free.
  • 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
info@hikenovascotia.ca
www.hikenovascotia.ca

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Hiker Gift Ideas

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:

  • First aid kit
  • Compass
  • Snowshoes
  • Trekking poles
  • Walking stick
  • Hiking socks
  • Back pack
  • Headlamp
  • Hiking boots
  • Thermos

Hiking for the Holidays Online Auction

November 17 to December 1, 2018

Support the Hike NS Hiking for the Holidays Online Auction. Shop once and give twice: once to your loved ones and once to Hike NS. Do your holiday shopping online with us and spend more time hiking, less time shopping. From big gifts to stocking stuffers, we’ve got presents that hikers will love. Special thanks to MEC for donating most of the items in the auction. Bidding opens Nov. 17 and ends on Dec. 1.

View items and participate here.  

Trailing Spirit Project

I am a city girl surrounded by the woods. At home in Fall River I live amidst the trees, which I love, though I am never more than a few minutes away from a paved surface, which is my comfort zone.  I am neither athletic nor “outdoorsy”.  Who I am is a fifty-something, out of shape, adventure-seeking woman living a life that often feels frenzied, disconnected and overwhelming.

As a full-time high school counsellor, I spend my days supporting youth during exciting and traumatic periods and events in their lives.  It is wonderful, demanding work that both inspires and exhausts me, and I am privileged to be doing it.  As well as my counselling work, I am a visual artist and teacher, a mother of two teenage daughters and a wife to an amazing partner. I have a full and blessed life and often find myself challenged to slow down the pace and connect to myself.  The easy option at the end of the day is to park it on the couch and turn on the television.  All too often however, I find myself saddened that yet again, I have wasted my evening watching an already forgotten series of shows.  There has got to be more.

The recent death of my cousin’s husband to ALS in August left me searching for a more meaningful challenge in my life. Before the cruel disease took his ability to move and communicate, Jeff was a dynamic man who ran marathons and pushed himself to live life fully.  His death sent me into a reflective period, out of which came my new mantra, “Because I can”. Two weeks later, while browsing in a bookshop, I was taken by the idea of hiking the trails of Nova Scotia; Jeff may no longer be moving through life, but I can.

This quest of mine is comprised of the 60 hikes in Michael Haynes’ Hiking Trails of Mainland Nova Scotia; 9th Edition, the book I took off the shelf that day in the store.  My original intention was simply to do all the hikes in the book within a year, no blog involved.  Somewhere along the first hike however, I found myself saying out loud, “I’m bored!”  Here I was in a beautiful forest, with an amazing man, exploring the natural world and yet somehow, I was apathetic to my surroundings.  Even as the words left my mouth I was shaking my head in disbelief.

Throughout the next week I contemplated what had happened on the hike.  What went wrong with my great plan to get outdoors and commune with nature and myself?  And then it hit me- somewhere along the way I had slipped into “Get ‘er done” mode; the hikes had become yet another task to check off of my ‘To Do’ list.  What I needed to do was find a way to slow down, be present along each step of this journey and embrace the worlds around and within me.  I needed to stop and smell the proverbial tree sap.  I decided that creating a blog of this personal challenge would force me to be present and take note of my surroundings, necessary if I was going to write about them. Making an artwork that depicts the things I see along the trails, will give me a visual record of the hikes and steps along the way.  And thus the Trailing Spirit Project was born.

Please join me at Trailingspirit.com.  Eight hikes in and only 52 to go…  Because I can.

Wisdom From the Trail:

  • We lose so much of the experience when it doesn’t measure up to what we had imagined.  If we can slow down the living in the past and the future of our minds, and can be in the moment of our bodies, we will rarely be let down.
  • In seeking out perfection, we forget that there is much of value in the less-then-perfect.  Embrace the special in the everyday instead of always striving for “beyond the ordinary”.
  • The beauty is often in the details. The sum of the pieces often adds up to greater then “the whole”.

 

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Trailing Spirit author Stephanie Dean-Moore.