By Lynda Shadbolt
Published Sept. 27 2016
Some days are just perfect. And it’s important to just acknowledge it when it happens. I am writing this article at the end of a perfect day.
My friend and I were the “sweep sisters” for Thom Lambert on the hike he led from Milburn to Miserable Lake which was part of the Hike Haliburton Festival. Our job was to be at the back of the group to ensure they stayed together and to be ambassadors for Haliburton. It’s a great job. There are over 80 hikes in the festival and every one of them is led and swept by volunteers. Our perfect day began under blue skies and a bright sun. Our hike was 13 km which started on an ATV trail and then took us across a couple of beaver dams and eventually through the bush. We passed several bogs and saw cotton bog which is a really beautiful plant.
We could smell the sweet fern as we hiked. The group of people on this hike came as strangers and as we hiked we told our stories and got to know each other. Twenty-three people had come from Hamilton Ottawa Oshawa Newmarket Barrie and Haliburton County. There was a young mom whose kids were at home with grandparents while she hiked and a 70-plus-year-old woman who came from Oshawa for three days to hike and attend the pork roast dinner in Stanhope.
As we walked we heard sandhill cranes flying overhead. We heard cedar waxwings singing. We came across a beautiful smooth green snake sunning himself on a rock and Thom who is an avid naturalist held the snake and people got to see it up close learn how to tell a male from a female. Thom was the perfect trip leader for the day. He is full of interesting information and is a really good storyteller. We stopped for lunch overlooking the lake and people napped did yoga ate delicious fall apples and chocolate (aren’t all adventures about eating really good food in beautiful locations). Our hike was sponsored by Keen Footwear and Matt an ambassador from Keen came on our hike. I got to “test drive” a pair of sturdy hiking books on the hike which was great because I am looking for new hiking footwear. Matt played a game at lunch and three participants won a voucher for a new pair of hiking boots. How perfect is that!
After the hike my friend and I went home to a delicious dinner with our friends and then we headed off to the Betty and the Bobs dance/concert in Minden. I can’t say enough about how talented this group of musicians are. Over 200 people came together to dance and celebrate the joy of the fall and hiking and music. And my day was so perfect that then it got even better. My husband and I won a gift basket that had been donated by Wintergreen Maple Syrup and Pancake Barn. I couldn’t be more grateful. I am so tired and ready for a great night of sleep. Mine is one of thousands of stories about this festival. Thank you to Barrie Martin and everyone who makes this 15th annual hiking festival happen. We are so rich in adventure beauty and music in this county. We all go back into lives with stories to tell. It just doesn’t get any better.