A Nanaimo-based hiking club is calling for boots on the ground to celebrate the club’s 60th anniversary.
Nanaimo’s Island Mountain Ramblers offers a list of hikes people can choose from and complete in the Ridge Rambler Challenge leading up to the club’s 60th anniversary in December 2018.
The challenge is for anyone interested in experiencing the Island’s backcountry from top to bottom on foot.
“Some of those are multi-day hikes so it’s not the kind of thing you could probably fit into one summer, so it’s a lead up to that anniversary,” said Matthew Lettington, club president.
The Island Mountain Ramblers were founded in 1958 by Syd Watts and Harry Winstone who were members of the Alpine Club of Canada, which the men felt at the time offered too many scheduled hikes away from the Island when there was so much to experience right at home. The club has continued its tradition of sharing those experiences with hikers and climbers since.
Lettington, a club member since 2009, said he had an interest in the sport when he joined, but didn’t have friends who were hikers when he joined the club, which currently has at least 70 members.
“A lot of times the club is made up of members who have dissimilar interests outside of hiking,” Lettington said. “They come from different walks of life or different backgrounds anyway, but they come together and meet people with like interests and like objectives, so it usually ends up to be a great blend of people.”
Hikes in the Ridge Rambler Challenge, which started May 1 and runs until Dec. 31, 2018, range from easy day hikes to challenging multi-day ridge walks and gives participants opportunities to hike with experienced leaders. The challenge requires participants to complete 10 hikes from the list by the club’s anniversary date.
The cost of membership is $35 annually and membership has its advantages. Island Mountain Ramblers is a member of the Federation of Mountain Clubs in British Columbia, an umbrella organization that is a federation of member mountain clubs. Members of one club within the organization get discounts to join additional clubs. Courses in GPS navigation, first aid, trip leadership and more are also available to members.
“Even though my passion is in the mountains and mountaineering, most of my really clear and vivid memories are coastal hiking trips that we do – Wildside Trail, Cape Scott, Juan de Fuca Trail. They’re pretty standout experiences. Flower Ridge in Strathcona Park is really outstanding.”
To learn more, please visit the club website at http://islandmountainramblers.com.