Have you ever sat back and looked maps of a trail system and thought how nice it would be to walk the entire trail from end to end. Your dreams are soon dashed when the details of travel, parking, distance, etc. start to creep into your thoughts as well. It can be quite daunting to look at something like the Bruce Trail that runs all the way from Niagara Falls to Tobermory; a distance of nearly 900 km. There are a few tips that can definitely make this a practical reality instead of the impossible dream.
One mistake that novice and experienced hikers alike often make is to tackle too much at once. Remember it's all about the journey, not the destination. Break your hike into small manageable hikes and don't get too hung up on a specific timeframe. As soon as your venture starts to feel like work, or the destination has become the only thing that really matters your chances of completing your journey are lessened.
Join a Hiking Club
Southern Ontario has an abundance of hiking clubs and organizations. They can offer a lot of knowledgeable guidance from veteran hikers. Many clubs like the Grand Valley Trails Association offer planned end to end hikes under the guidance of qualified hike leaders.
Carpool and Leapfrog
Even if you elect not to join a formal club you can still attain your goals by recruiting some friends that have a similar interest and planning a bunch of shorter hikes along your chosen route. Two or more cars are the best way to get to and from your start and finish point. One car is dropped off at the finish; those hikers are picked up and taken to the start where the second car is left. At the end of the day the process is reversed.
Use a GPS
This is a very efficient way to ensure that everyone arrives at the correct start and finish points. It can also be a good way to check your progress throughout the day. And, even though trails in Southern Ontario are generally well marked, it is possible to wander off the main trail. A GPS will quickly help you determine your error and get you back on track.
So as you see with a bit of planning and forethought, completing an end to end hike of a trail system, regardless of the length, is a realistic and practical goal.
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