Hikers, who joined October 26 in the Avon Trail Wildwood Challenge Hike, enjoyed the best weather and conditions in the hike’s 4-year history. Hike organizer Bruce Graham addressed the assembled hikers at the Wildwood gate kiosk before sending them off at 8:30 am. Bruce warned of some mud that might exist on the trail in sections. Otherwise, the path was leaf-covered but dry.
The first hiker completed the 22-kilometre circuit around Wildwood Lake by 12:30 pm. (Well done Edmund). For the most part, hikers took their time, enjoying the blue skies, the sunshine and, the brilliant colours flashing in the leaves on the trees and covering the trails. I overheard one hike wishing that a save button could be hit to replay this weather on and on again throughout November.
The two refreshment stations served as way stations, where hikers needed to check in with their hike number assigned at the start point. The first station was placed at kilometre 8 and the next again at kilometre 17. These stations provided hikers with opportunities to stop, chat, gather strength while enjoying hot drinks or water served by friendly Avon Trail volunteer staff.
Many of the hikers participating came from outside of the immediate area. Some came from Sarnia; others drove in from London and Guelph. There were repeat hikers from earlier Wildwood challenge events.
Two first-time hikers, a mother and a daughter from London, were pleasantly surprised with the wonders of the trail. They plan to become repeat-challenge hikers themselves.
Proceeds from the Challenge go to fund the maintenance cost of building and repairing trail footbridges and fence crossing stiles along the 121 kilometres of the Avon Trail. This year, each participant received a new Avon Trail Wildwood Challenge badge.
The Avon Trail Wildwood Challenge committee members (Bruce Graham and Tracy H.) deserve our congratulations. They are the two members who handled all the behind-the-scenes logistics that made this event such a success.
All volunteers who worked to keep the hikers safe and comfortable get a big “shout out” of thanks. No hiker was left behind. You are all appreciated.
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