By Darren Lum
2020 is ushering in a winter of firsts for hiking enthusiasts in Haliburton County.
Better known for being held during the autumn with its cool morning hikes set against the backdrop of the hallmark signs of the season with leaves of golden rust red and a slight chill of the morning air the Hike Haliburton Festival is introducing a winter edition coming the second weekend of February.
The event which runs from Saturday Feb. 8 to Sunday Feb. 9 has already accepted registration for more than 20 guided and themed snow hikes demonstrations and events for all ages interests and abilities according to Hike Haliburton’s online promotional material.
Haliburton County’s director of tourism Amanda Virtanen said this winter edition is a pilot year and is made possible by Celebrate Ontario.
It’s garnered great interest having more than 300 spots filled with 43 per cent of those registered from outside the county she adds.
“We decided to test the waters with a winter edition of the Hike Haliburton Festival as we know that snowshoeing is one of the fastest growing winter leisure activities in Canada and we’ve heard from several partners that the activity is in high demand from their visitors” she wrote in an email. “That said the county’s tourism committee will carefully evaluate the success of the first Winter Edition before making a decision about 2021. We are hopeful it will be a success and another great way to engage our visitors with everything that #MyHaliburtonHighlands has to offer.”
This event will be more than just snowshoeing/hiking.
It offers participants a wide range of themed events which combine the arts culture heritage and eating experiences held throughout Haliburton County. This includes live concerts dinners and camping experiences.
All hikes are free of charge. Donations are welcome. See winter.hikehaliburton.com for more information on snowshoe hikes and for rental availability including the Haliburton Highlands Museum where you can borrow snowshoes by donation.