Mohawk College Public Relations students joined up with charitable organization, the Bruce Trail Conservancy, this Sunday to host Hikefest 2014.
The focus of the event was to promote conservation of the Bruce Trail and encourage more Hamiltonians to explore the nature in their own backyard.
Hikefest involved, among other things, information booths and guest speaker Rhonda-Marie Avery, an avid hiker and athlete. Avery is legally blind, with only eight per cent vision. Avery plans to run along the entire length of the trail from Tobermory to Saint Catharines, in 20 days, an average of 45 kilometers a day. The trail spans a distance of about 885 kilometers.
But she won’t be making the long trek alone. For the 20 days Avery will be running the trail, about 50 volunteers will accompany her. Avery will have at least two volunteers serving as guide runners, one in front and one behind, to warn her about upcoming obstacles and other challenges the terrain may present.
Avery believes the biggest challenge she’ll face will be maintaining communication with such a large group of people.
“I think after a while you stop listening to people. After 20 days, and 50 different people telling me where to go, and what to look out for, I think hearing that sort of thing will be a big one.”
Hamilton’s Bruce Trail is the most bio-diverse part of Canada, with it’s fair share of rare plants and animals.
“The Bruce Trail in Hamilton is one of the best places to explore the Niagara Escarpment. Hamilton is famous for it’s waterfalls. There are over 100 waterfalls in the area, and most of them are linked by the Bruce Trail,” said Executive Director of the Bruce Trail Conservancy, Beth Gilhespy.
“So you can wander through Hamilton see this beautiful oasis of waterfalls, and you’re right next to an urban area as well. So it’s a really wonderful interplay between wilderness and waterfalls, and where people are living and thriving in a community.”