Perhaps it might be hard to believe, but there is a large, well-organized group in our midst which would like to do nothing more than put on some good hiking footwear, check out a well-marked map and head out on one of our well-maintained local trails for a long, perhaps challenging, certainly invigorating and undoubtedly beautiful walk on the wild side.
Humming an old rock tune might help the process but would certainly have to be an individual choice.
Living close to the beautiful natural sights we can see on a daily basis can almost become a part of life that we can take for granted but there are some among us who don’t want to do that. They want to provide a more meaningful and memorable experience.
The Bulkley Valley Backpackers Society is one of those groups that has taken a leaderships role in that area for many years. While the group has very well stated goals, one of it’s most important aims is to “provide a range of self-powered activities throughout the year.” Hiking, walking, running and snowshoeing immediately come to mind.
To that end the group has other goal which lend themselves to those activities. The group has lent a hand when trails need to be developed and cleaned, it raises its voice to represent those users among the silent majority, and it works to conserve historic sites and trails.
All of these projects provide something else to the group as well since it gives new and old users the opportunity to commune for social interaction that is the essence of any community.
Anne Greene is the group’s scheduling coordinator and a perfect example of the type of individual who lends their life blood to keep the group out front.
“The club has been around since the early ’70s. It was started by Einar Blix. The general idea was to provide an outlet for people to get together and hike at least once a week,” she said.
For example, the club has been providing hikes on Sunday’s since that time for different members.
“The numbers come and go but recently they are up, and this could be due to more people getting knowledge of the activities,” said Greene. “The numbers vary but they average 15-20, which is quite a few people to be going on a five-hour hike. In terms of maintenance we just snip it as we go.”
Over the years, the availability of hiking trails has improved.
“We just redid an old one that was a road up to an old mine in Simpson’s Gulch. It had overgrown so much that you couldn’t even use it. One of our members had a keen eye on that one to rebuild it so that skiers could have a back route to the trail run to town. It’s a great way for the hikers to access a back route,” she said.
“We get fewer numbers in the winter. Summer and fall are prime time,” she noted.
Those interested in the club and it’s programs can access more information at it’s website at bvbackpackers.ca.