Take a hike!

by Deb McIntosh | April 25, 2013
Hike Club

The Rainbow Routes Association hike club at the A.Y. Jackson trail in Onaping. PHOTO SUPPLIED

“Cheese popcorn in the winter, white popcorn in spring and fall,” said Stanley Koren, the Rainbow Routes Hike Club hike leader.

Because the hikes are attracting so many people of all ages and abilities, sometimes the line of hikers on a trail can spread out over half a kilometre. Koren uses the popcorn to mark the way when there may be a chance someone coming behind might miss a turn.

“It’s a directional cue for the hikers coming behind me,” he said. “It’s biodegradable if it isn’t eaten by the wildlife, or a hungry (leashed) hound.”

For five years now the Rainbow Routes Hike Club has been heading out on one of the city’s numerous trails for a two-hour hike on the first Saturday of every month, from October to June. The club hikes in all but the worst of weather in runners, boots and snowshoes.

“We have an inventory of snowshoes for people to borrow,” said Rainbow Routes Association president Samantha Baulch. “But in recent years, we are finding less and less demand for them as people buy their own.”

On the very odd occasion that the hike needs to be cancelled, there is a message left on the Hike Club Hotline before 9 a.m. the day of the hike (705-674-4455 ext. 2474). This number also provides information regarding upcoming hikes.

Hike Club has evolved over the years and participation rates have grown. What started out as a means to promote the city’s trails with maybe 10 or 20 participants on a hike, has grown to numbers between 40 and 100 participants of all ages and abilities.

“Every hike has new-comers and regulars and some people have spun off our club to form their own walking groups in the weeks between hikes,” Baulch said.

How much does this fabulous opportunity cost, you ask? Absolutely nothing.

“Rainbow Routes is dedicated to developing and promoting these active transportation routes and what better way to promote them than to put feet on them?” Baulch said.

For more information on the Rainbow Routes Hike Club or to view videos of our community trails on “Take a Hike,” visit


Deb McIntosh is the executive director of Rainbow Routes Association.

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