The Avon Trail Show and Tell Social Night on February 6th, 2018 at the Kiwanis Club offered those in attendance humor, information, inspiration and a chance to share stories of adventure and wilderness. Coordinated by Dennis Rawe and hosted by Bernard Goward, guest speakers were introduced and asked to “show and tell” anything they are excited about or would like to share.

Jeff Sager from the Perth County Paramedics Services opened with a comprehensive presentation on how the service is dedicated to saving lives, reducing suffering and promoting community safety. When hiking, it is important for you to know and be able to tell emergency responders where you entered the trail and how far along you may be when requesting paramedic services. At this point, GPS locating is not an option. Both land and air ambulances can be made available.

Chris and Lonnie Bouvier, along with their two young children, Everett (9) and Natalie (8), stood before the audience to explain the joys and pains they experienced last year while hiking the Avon Trail, end-to-end. Wearing Team Bouvier tee-shirts with the motto “#Resilience”, Lonnie said that they hiked from May through August as part of their summer family fun plans. She thanked the Avon Trail for the obvious care and effort in maintaining the trail. Bernard presented each Team Bouvier member with an End-to-End badge. Everett and Natalie are the youngest known End-to-Enders. Read more about their experiences in the article “Recent End-to-End Accomplishments”.

The Bouvier family receiving their End-to-End badges from President Bernard Goward

Terry Aitken, wearing a New Zealand ball cap, announced February 6 is New Zealand Day and played a tuneful rendition of the New Zealand national anthem on his cornet. He showed us a hand-carved Tokotoko Maori walking stick, a symbol of authority, which had been personally commissioned as a 70th birthday present from his family. He then regaled us with some jokes.

The New Zealand anthem by Terry

The Rev. Robert Hutchison showed the audience what looked to be an artist-sculpted bare wooden limb. He said that he discovered his mystery item years ago while leading a wilderness hike for young people in Ontario.  Robert identified it as his very own “beaver home reno branch” that he proudly keeps as his hiking souvenir.

Ken Nicholson talked about the many hours of pleasure he has enjoyed over the years on wilderness rod and gun trips. Watching the mating dance of a male loon in springtime, witnessing the shimmering green and red skies of the northern lights, staring at the countless stars in an inky black sky and hiking along trails and logging service roads in pursuit of moose during hunting season are scenes etched in his memory of the wilderness.

Meg Westley did a slide presentation of a perilous situation she and a friend found themselves in when driving to a hiking gorge on the sunny island of Crete. The road taken, turned out to be steep and switch-backed with hardly a meter separating the car from a cliff face on the passenger side and a sheer drop cliff to the sea on the driver side. Remaining as calm as possible, after travelling some considerable distance, they decided that heading back seemed more prudent than proceeding forward. Finally, the tiniest of turn offs appeared, allowing her driving friend to back in. Going forward, though, required engaging the clutch just right and tenderly applying the gas so as not to fly off the cliff. This was accomplished after some high anxiety. Fortunately, no other traffic was encountered on the extremely narrow road. Once descended from this higher elevation and in more open space off the road, they stopped and took their hike without further incident. The scenery was breathtaking and the adventure memorable said Meg.

Tom Friesen, past president of Hike Ontario, gave us an overview of where the Avon Trail fits within the Hike Ontario banner. Tom explained how a small portion of our annual membership dues goes to Hike Ontario to cover the cost of insurance while on the Avon Trail. For those who like earning badges and to learn more about Hike Ontario, Tom encouraged us to visit the “Hike Ontario” website. He made the green ‘Take A Hike’ buttons, with the website address on the button, available for the audience.

Bernard wrapped up the Show and Tell part of the evening with his cello and bow. He explained that his cello, crafted in Europe, was made from six different types of soft and hard wood. The bow was made of Pernambuco wood, found only in South America. This type of wood, salvaged in Brazil from fences, railway ties and dead-fall, is now endangered and no longer used in newer cello bows. An accomplished musician, Bernard played a poignantly melodic version of the much-loved Irish folk song, Danny Boy, set to the tune of Londonderry Air.

Bernard playing “Danny Boy” on his cello

Dennis, wanting to provide time for refreshments, decided to postpone telling us about his wood carving hobby and the wood carvings on display at the side table. We look forward to this at a future Show and Tell event.

Many thanks to Dennis for a very enjoyable winter social evening.

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