I am grateful to the volunteers of the Toronto Bruce Trail Club for having given me the opportunity to hike along many trails of Southern Ontario. I have explored a lot of beautiful places outside of the city this way. I would not have been able to do this by myself, because I don’t own a car, and I wouldn’t know where to go or with whom. The Toronto Bruce Trail Club organizes group hikes, including transportation, for a reasonable price. This is how I am able to get out of the city and enjoy some outdoor exercise on a regular basis. The volunteer hike leaders do a great job at planning the route and supporting the hikers throughout the day. I feel safe with the group. Being outside, often in the woods, hiking, and meeting people on the hikes has helped me to feel more positive and energized. I try to go hiking with the club every weekend.
I lived an isolated life for some time before joining the club, because I don’t always feel comfortable with myself and other people. Sometimes I’m really down, and sometimes I’m too afraid of bad things happening. The club has given me a bit of a social life. Hiking has given me the pleasure of being outdoors, reconnecting with my body, with others, and with nature. I feel in balance, because of my weekly hikes. I recharge before my energy runs too thin. It’s great that the club offers hikes also in the winter, so that I can keep well all year round. I would not have known about the club or decided to try it out if I hadn’t attended their Hiker Initiation Program. They explained what hiking is — this was an open meeting at the YMCA in downtown Toronto — and they opened up a day of guided hiking for free at Scotsdale Farm outside the city. They organized free bus transportation for people who wanted to try it out, so I did. These two opportunities helped me to understand that hiking is the activity that works for me. They also had a meeting at Mountain Equipment Co-op to explain what footwear, clothing and gear would work best for hiking, but I don’t have much money to spend on these things and so I didn’t go to that meeting, but I heard it was useful to other people. Joining the hikes has improved my life and I am happy to have the opportunity to say this to other people.