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Hiking the Wet Coast

with Ryan LeBlanc

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Word mentor, trail guide, and owner/operator of The Natural Connection Ryan LeBlanc takes Fiona Bramble hiking around Francis/King Regional Park and shares his tips for fun and safety out on Vancouver Island's beautiful trails!

Thanks for taking me out today,

Ryan! How do you usually start a

group hike? We start with a group

warm-up and stretch to make sure

everyone is limber, so no one gets

hurt on the trail. Lots of dynamic

stretches for the legs, knees, hips,

and ankles. Warm up the

joints and the muscles.

 

What makes Francis/King Park a

good trail for children and for

beginners? lt's a pretty flat, easy trail

with not a lot of undergrowth on the lower trail, so it's easy to keep an eye on the kids.

 

Are cougars a real danger? Not when hiking in groups but you should always be alert.

 

So...bears? I do see them, but any bear encounters I have had have been pretty friendly, as long as we stay out of each other's way! I carry a bear bell too.

 

What's in your backpack? Well, first, there's a towel for wiping the sweat off, regardless of the season! It will keep you dry and warm. Wool gloves. The tighter the better, so no cold air gets on your skin. Merino wool is the best fiber I've come across for  keeping warm, and it wicks the moisture away to keep you dry. My toque is merino wool too.

 

Um, you're talking a lot about being cold and wet. I guess we are on the "wet

coast"! Even if you are out on a day when it isn't raining, when you're in the forest under the canopy getting dripped on, and there's 70, 80 percent humidity, you're going to sweat and get wet.

 

You have some pretty cool equipment. What are your survival must-haves? Water, of course. It would surprise you how many people don't even bring water when they go on a hike. It doesn't take long to get dehydrated—you're exercising! Water will also protect you from injury. I always carry a walking stick, a watch (phones lose power and are affected by moisture), a gps unit, a flare gun, a personal locator, survival blanket, duct tape, a signalling device—you want an audible signalling device that doesn't run on batteries, like a whistle, and something for signalling visually, like reflector tape. Of course, I also have my survival-kit-in-a-can! You never know what's going to happen, so you should be prepared for anything, especially if you don't know the trail. I know that 90 percent of the time, I could go out on a hike and not bring anything. But I also know that I could fall and sprain an ankle or fall and hit my head. Or come across somebody else who has. I'm always thinking about other people on the trail.

 

AS A WORD MENTOR, RYAN SHARES HIS EXPERTISE AND EXPERIENCE TO HELP THE HERE! MAGAZINE TEAM CREATE A LANGUAGE AND CULTURE RESOURCE. CLICK IMAGE ABOVE TO VIEW, DOWNLOAD, OR PRINT OUR WINTER ISSUE HIKING LESSON.

MORE LEARN HERE

AS A WORD MENTOR, TRACEY SHARES HER EXPERTISE AND EXPERIENCE TO HELP THE HERE! MAGAZINE TEAM CREATE A LANGUAGE AND CULTURE RESOURCE. CLICK TO VIEW, DOWNLOAD, OR PRINT OUR SUMMER ISSUE LESSON.

Here! Magazine is created with and for newcomers to Canada to give newcomers the opportunity to see themselves and their newcomer experiences reflected in the media.

Here! Magazine is a diverse community, building cross-cultural awareness by sharing the norms, traditions and stories of all cultures and introducing newcomers to their adopted communities through community mentorship and the sharing of experience. We welcome your voice!

 

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