The following is an interview with Lonnie Bouvier who completed the End-to-End with her husband Chris, son Everett (9) and daughter Natalie (8).
Q: How did you know about the Avon Trail and what made you decide to do the End-to-End?
A: We knew about the trail from Terry Aitken, who had talked about hiking and taking care of the trail. When I was researching things for our summer fun list, hiking was something that came up and I thought it would be fun to take on a challenge like hiking the whole Avon Trail.
Q: What were a few of the highlights?
A: Highlights were definitely experiencing all the different types of terrain on each hike. The kids enjoyed the boardwalk sections and climbing the ladders that went over fences. We saw quite a lot of wildlife and beautiful nature.
Q: Were there any surprises?
A: The kids were surprised at how much being out in the woods and in nature felt like we were walking in a painting.
Q: What were some challenges you faced?
A: We had some tough times walking in the rain. Some sections with long grass weren’t pleasant so we soon learned not to wear shorts! The bugs were a challenge come July.
Q: What time of day did you do most of the hiking?
A: We walked mostly in the afternoon/early evening after work.
Q: What distance did you walk each time and about how long did this usually take?
A: We found 5km was the sweet point for the children. The average time of a 5km hike was around an hour and a half, on a slower day it was closer to 2 hours. Once we did about 9km but didn’t tell the children before we started how long it was going to be!
Q: How and when did the Team Bouvier Resilience t-shirts come about?
A: I had the t-shirts made as a surprise for Chris and the kids for Christmas. I had seen something similar and loved the idea of getting our end-to-end hiking word on the shirt. Resilience has turned into our family word since last summer.
Q: Did you do anything to celebrate once you had finished?
A: You know, we didn’t really. Getting the badges at the Winter Social “Show and Tell” night felt like a great way to celebrate!!
Q: How would you sum up your experience of doing the End-to-End as a family?
A: It was a great family building opportunity and a gift for the family to experience together. It was fun and we were sad when it came to an end.
Q: Do you have any plans to do other trails now? Collect more badges?
A: Since finishing the trail last summer we’ve been looking for other trails to hike. Being at the Avon Trail meeting was a great source of information. We didn’t know that there were more badges to collect and we may be working towards those in the future.