Archive for the ‘Trekking’ Category

Deuter Futura 28 AC Daypack

Deuter Futura 28 AC Daypack

With the 2011 Hike the Highlands festival starting in less than a week, it is important to have your checklist ready for hiking so you pack your daypack  and enjoy the day hiking,

1) Weather reports – always check the weather reports before you start out hiking for the day. You can then pack & dress according – ie rain gear, suncreen, etc.

2)  Equipment for daypack  – sunscreen, sunglasses,  digital camera with extra batteries and card, whistle, hat,  jacket, water (2 bottles), snacks, lunch, extra pair of hiking socks, ziplock bags for garbage, insect repellent, small first aid kit, maps of trail(s). For day hikes, 4-6 hours long, you should have a daypack that is 20 plus litres.

3) Other equipment – hiking boots, hiking/trekking poles, gaiters,  watch, temperature gauge, baselayer, midlayer -fleece jacket.

Hiking Tip – A friend of mine takes a cold facecloth with her on those hot days to wipe her forehead and cool her down. She keeps the facecloth in a ziplock bag.


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A great month of April has brought spring hiking to the Cape Breton Highlands earlier than expected.  Spring hiking has its adventures – flowing streams, bridges out, windfalls, moose, wet trails and snow but  who cares when it is 15 degrees out and sunny.   

One of the most important pieces of equipment for spring hiking is trekking or nordic walking poles.  You need poles to help with your balance crossing streams & bridges, going over windfalls, navigating wet trails as well  going thru snow….There was still quite a bit of snow on Skyline – April 24 about halfway out it was clear.

Below are a few pictures of spring hiking in the highlands at Red Island, Plaster, Skyline and a few travelling to the trails & back… Enjoy the pics.

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Nordic Walking Workshop - Hiking with Poles

Nordic Walking Workshop - Hiking with Poles

Day four of  Hike the Highlands Festival was an important day for hikers – it showed us the importance of hiking with poles and the proper techniques.  It also emphasize dressing in layers and use of rain gear as the day involved showers.

Our instructor, Linda Murray started off the nordic walking workshop at North Highland Nordic Ski Trails, Cape North, by saying hiking with  poles is not just for older hikers but for younger people as well. Both her 29 year old daughter and husband hikes with poles all the time.

The benefits of nordic walking are incredible for your body  –  easier on your knees and hips, better balance, increased aerobic workout (20-40% more with poles), and a full body workout.  Our instructor, Linda Murray demonstrated the proper way of going up the hills as well down and stayed with us for the next hike at Sugar Loaf Mountain – an up and down hike.   

The day ended with a great evening presentation by John Francis Lane, park interpreter on Species at Risk, Cape Breton Highlands National Park.  We were amazed at how big the female American Eel was and the silver colour.

Day 5 hikes include Lone Shieling, MacIntosh Brook and Roberts Mountain.  All three hikes today are on new trails.

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At Hike the Highlands Festival this year, you will have the opportunity to meet and hear hiker Lori Burke talk about her amazing experience – preparing and completing the gruelling Three Peaks Challenge (Wikipedia)in 24 hours..  She will be presenting on Friday, Sept. 18th at 7:00 pm. at conference room, Glenghorm Beach Resort, Ingonish at 7:00 pm. Be there for this amazing story….

So what is the Three Peaks Challenge (official website) ? Well it involves hiking Ben Nevis (4,409 ft),  Scafell Pike ( 3,209 ft) and Snowdon (3,560 ft) Mountains for a total 42 kms. It also involves driving  765 km.  Organizers recommend a non-hiker to do the driving as well prepared the food.  All this in 24 hrs….Wow….

Below is a video show a group that completed this amazing challenge –

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Lady Slipper on Franey Hiking Trail, CB Highlands National Park

Lady Slipper on Franey Hiking Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park


It has been foggy this past weekend with drizzle so I decided to do a fitness hike and get some exercise in on one of my favorite trails – Franey in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.  I took out my nordic walking poles,  put my smart wool socks on – a different type this time – trekking heavy (cushion) crew socks.  It was a warm and muggy day…so I took lots of water….and off I went.

The poles were a great help going up  Franey and down and the new trekking heavy socks worked very well.. I took a few pics on the hike but what caught my eye were the Lady Slippers…however they seemed to be on their way out… I learned a valuable lesson on this hike – don’t wear cotton t-shirt on a hot and muggy day….I was soaked… a good base layer for example – merino wool, or polyster, keeps the dampness from against the skin… Not sure if it would of have kept the mosquitos away …They attacked me on the way down… but on the bright side, I did hike Franey in 2 hours….one of my best times yet and one of the benefits of a fitness hike.

Franey is one of the hikes featured in the 2009 Hike the Highlands Festival, September 11-20, 2009. It well known for its elevation  and incredible views of the Clyburn Valley, South & North Bay & Middlehead. It is a classic hike with some of the  best views of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park  at the top.

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What is the difference between nordic walking poles and trekking poles ?  I thought I would do some research and find out some answers for you. I have used both types while hiking but more with nordic walking poles as I own a pair of those – a one piece design.  However I did use the trekking poles for going up and down hills while hiking last year.  Both are good for hiking. There are a number of excellent resources out there with American Nordic Walking Association, Lexi, Exerstrider, Backpackinglight.com forum, Canadian Nordic Walking Association,  Nordic Walking UK , plus many more.

My research indicates two main differences – the pole and the stride.  The nordic walking pole is lighter especially the one piece design, grips are different on both set of poles especially nordic poles where you put thumb thru while trekking poles seem to be worn loose. The tip on Nordic Walking poles  is on a 45 degree angle while trekking poles tend to be flat. The trekking poles are  three piece, telescoping and adjustable. For the stride – Nordic walking poles- the follow through is important, the tips are meant to be engaged in the sides and behind the body while walking. Nordic walking poles meant for fitness walking whike trekking poles more for balance & stability and helping take pressure off your knees downhill. Trekking poles are planted in front while walking. My conclusion both poles will help you hiking.  Below are two videos showing you walking by trekking poles and nordic walking poles.

 Below is a video on Trekking Poles by Jayah Faye Paley

Below is video  of Nordic Walking by Linda Lemke

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On top of Sugarloaf looking at North, Middle & South Harbours

On top of Sugarloaf looking at North, Dingwall, Middle & South Harbours

The hiking schedule for the 2009 Hike the Highlands Festival has been announced and it includes nine new hikes.  They include White Point to Burnt Head, Coastal, Lone Sheiling, MacIntosh Brook, Robert’s Mountain, Red River to Black Brook, Red River to Otter Brook, Le Chemin du Buttereau, and Smokey Towers.  

Backed by popular demand are Meat Cove Mountain, Cape St. Lawrence/Lowland Cove, Salmon Pool, and Red Island hikes. There will be 24 guided hikes in this year’s festival and hikers will have the opportunity to participate in our  long distance hiker awards program of 100 km, 50 km and 25 km.

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