(Want to join in a leader-led hike on the Avon Trail in our End to End from St. Marys to Conestogo? Hurry, the hikes have a space limit and are filling up fast)
Add an Avon Trail E2E to your hiking goals in 2023. With the help of existing and new volunteer hike leaders, an E2E Avon Trail adventure will occur in 2023. As of this year, Board member Melissa Winkler fills the role of Avon Trail organized hike scheduler following in the footsteps of Meg Wesley. Meg continues as a hike leader.
Our ever-changing main trail includes some new sections, expanding to approximately 130km. I spoke with Melissa. She lives in the Wellsley area north of Berletts Road. She and her young family enjoy hiking sections of the trail. “In Wellesley, we are a 5-to-15-minute drive from many access points on the Avon Trail”, she told me. “We often get out hiking, especially to our favourite section along the Nith River, from Carmel-Koch Rd to Berletts”.
Avon Trail has 10-certified hike leaders. Melissa hosted a hike leadership meeting in February. Collectively the group decided to lead multiple hikes that would cover the entire length of the main trail. “We thought that this would be a great way to introduce the trail to new and old members alike”, she added.
The existing E2E badge will be replaced with a newly designed badge for 2023. “I have seen the new design and I think hikers will be excited when they see it”, said Melissa. She expects that it will be available in the online Shop this spring.
For the E2E, the hike leaders divided the main trail into 11 sections. Each section is a separate hike, averaging under 12 km each.
Melissa sees these hikes as a great chance for hikers to earn a badge while hiking with a group. The 11 different hikes will occur on Saturdays starting in late April and ending in early November. What a lovely way to experience the trail in various seasons. Can I register for a hike even if I am unable to commit to all 11 hikes because of their dates and my schedule? Of course. We hope you will find the time to hike all 11 sections even if not with the leader-led hikes and earn an E2E badge. For a complete list of the hikes, with their length and date, click Here.
You must be registered to participate. A separate registration is needed for each hike. A limited number of spots are open (22 hikers plus any Avon Trail hike leader). This information is now posted on the Events Calendar.
To register, you must send an email to the hike leader of that E2E section. In your email, provide the hike leader with your full name, email address, phone number. You will need to provide your emergency contact full name and phone number too. You will get a response from the hike leader to confirm there is a spot for you.
The first hike is planned for Saturday, April 29, so spring weather conditions will be encountered. The hikes will go west to east, starting at the Avon Trail’s western point in St. Marys. The final hike on November 4 will end at the eastern terminus off Golf Course Road east of Conestogo.
Each hike will involve carpooling to minimize the cars needed to be parked. Start location and start times will differ for each hike so please check the Event Calendar on the website. Dress for conditions. Bring water, snacks and lunch.
In order to purchase an E2E badge, a hiker must complete an E2E log. Hikers on the first hike (April 29) will be offered a paper log to track their end-to-end experience. This can be kept as a memento. (For a sample of a completed log, click Here). Once completed, photograph your log and include it as an attachment in an email sent to email@example.com. Once this is done, you can go to the Shop and make your badge purchase.
Other leader-led hikes are being planned for this year, including some on neighbouring trails. All hikes will be posted in the Event Calendar on the website.
Tom Kimber – News