Toronto Bus and Coach Trip Leader Martina Furrer is profiled

Humans of the Bruce Trail, featuring Martina Furrer

Where do you live? I call Little Lake in downtown Peterborough home. On warm, sunny, summer days I paddle my stand up paddleboard to work.

Why did you join the Toronto Bruce Trail Club? I fell in love with hiking on summer trips to the Swiss Alps as a child. I love my mountains and return as often as I can. Mom introduced me to the Bruce Trail to show me that there was also great hiking close to home. Neither of us drove back then so the Toronto Club’s bus and coach trips offered a way to explore. I became a member in my own right because I wanted to become a hike leader. I’m an ecologist and nature nut and love it when my enthusiasm for our wild species and spaces rubs off on others. I lead bus and coach trips from Toronto in all seasons and coordinate the Club’s winter coach program. Next winter, come cross-country ski, hike or snowshoe with me as part of the Toronto Club’s winter coach program. Winter days in southern Ontario’s best Nordic ski centres like Arrowhead Provincial Park and Highlands Nordic are magical. We offer transportation direct from Toronto, guided winter hiking/snowshoeing, cross-country skiing on trails expertly groomed for classic and skate skiing, and introductory cross-county ski lessons. In spring, summer, and fall, join me for amazing guided hikes on the Bruce Trail and in nearby parks and nature reserves.

Most memorable outdoor experience? I’ve had countless unforgettable outdoor adventures, some scary, some exhilarating. May 21, 2022 will forever be etched in my memory. Four friends and I were paddling on Vixen Lake in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, about 10 minutes from our campsite, when out of nowhere the sky turned black and the derecho engulfed us (note to self: make sure your pack floats). Then there was the time my group got hit by heavy rain, heavy wind, and a severe thunderstorm in Mono Cliffs Provincial Park and my map literally dissolved (note to self: always waterproof your map and subscribe to weather alerts). My most memorable and 100 percent positive outdoor experiences include climbing Piz Palü (the mountain in the background in my photo) in the Bernina mountains in Switzerland with an awesome guide and a great team of fellow mountaineers. There is nothing like the feeling of standing on a snow-capped summit and the view was spectacular. Closer to home, ski days after snowstorms are the best. Nothing beats gliding through a winter wonderland on freshly groomed tracks.

Favourite words to live by?
The mountains are calling and I must go (John Muir).

Hobbies and interests?
I love hiking, mountaineering, cycle touring, paddling (canoe or SUP), swimming, skiing, and camping. I’m always in motion and love being in the great outdoors. I also enjoy wildlife and landscape photography and writing.

Most admired person and why?
Our older members who are still going strong hiking and skiing in their late 80s and 90s are a true inspiration. I will never forget the sight of the late Daisy Lazarovits returning to the chalet at Wasaga Nordic on a snowmobile. Despite a fall and a broken ski, she arrived with the biggest, most contagious smile.