|Hiking Director Update
Effective this past Saturday, members are able to register for TBTC-led hikes through our new Hiking Calendar. This is great news, and I am thrilled that we are able to resume car and urban hikes, as are all of our hike leaders. I see this as a sure sign of a brighter second half of 2021.
The ongoing safety of our members is our top priority, and as described previously, we are easing into the return of our hikes. We are limiting groups to 10 participants including the hike leader and sweep, following the Bruce Trail Conservancy guidelines. The hikes are also limited for now to Bruce Trail members. Hikers accept an electronic waiver as part of the registration, so no one has to manually sign in at the start of the hike.
Our style of hiking, single-file with space between hikers, naturally aligns with social distancing guidelines. Where it is not possible to maintain a two-metre distance between people, we ask that you wear a mask. For example, wear a mask when you arrive at a trail head, and while the trail head talk is provided. Masks must be worn during pit stops, while clustering round stiles, and at the end of the hike. At lunch stops, wear your mask when you are not actually eating or drinking, and stay separated by 2 metres except with people who are part of your “bubble”. While actually hiking on the trail, provided you can keep a 2-meter distance as per provincial guidelines, mask wearing is optional.
As a hiker, we recommend you also take your own precautions at this time, not just with the COVID risk but also bearing in mind the hot days ahead. We suggest updating your day pack to include:
- FACE COVERING: Make sure you have face masks to wear when 2 metres social distancing cannot be maintained
- HAND SANITIZER: To use when water and soap are not available for handwashing. Expect to find limited to no washroom facilities on the trail.
- THREE LITRES OF WATER: Car hikers should bring extra water to leave in your car. This will come in handy at the end of the hike!
Such precautions are likely familiar already if you are out and about in your neighbourhood and/or taking public transport during the pandemic.
We appreciate that some of these new procedures may seem extensive. However, remember that most of the day the pleasures of active hiking will not be compromised. And there may also be some silver linings, especially for those who prefer hiking in smaller groups with less crowding on the trails.
The safety of our members during this transition time is paramount. Our hike leaders operate under guidelines to reduce the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19, and have been asked to enforce them stringently. We thank you for your patience, understanding and loyalty during these times. We look forward to welcoming you back on July 10 when our hiking season resumes.
By David Royle, Hiking Director