I chose hiking for the first Go Norfolk event because it is an accessible activity for the whole family and is a fantastic way to connect with nature. I love hiking. It’s an activity I enjoy doing solo as well as with my family. It’s free and it makes you explore different areas!
Bonus, for the average person, hiking is likely to make you burn between 430 and 440 calories per hour ! (nothing wrong with that).
The first destination is Hay Creek Conservation Arena. This is a 3.5 km trail in a loop. It goes through a wooded area along the reservoir and it offers fantastic bird watching opportunities. Make sure to explore the amazing bridge that crosses the Hay Creek reservoir!
Now, in order to have some fun hiking, I want to provide you with some tips to get you ready. Here are my top 3 tips to enjoy your hiking experience:
Snacks are a must especially if you are hiking with kids. I tend to use the snack as a goal and a reward for my little ones. Pack things like yogurt tubes, cheese strings, nuts, bars, apples, trail mix, water…. Plan to stop often and get out the snacks. It is important to fuel your body, hiking uses a lot of energy. Encourage kids to move forward to find good spots along the trail for places to “picnic”. Make sure to leave no traces and bring your garbage home!
2- DRESS IN LAYERS
If you are hiking in the winter, it’s important to be warm enough. No one likes to be freezing…Good boots, snow or waterproof pants, coat, scarf, mittens, tuque. Underneath your outerwear, dress in thin layers to avoid overheating when you get going at a good pace. You will also feel less “bulky” when you are walking. A small backpack is also useful for extra gear, snacks, water and a map if needed. Don’t forget your cell phone for emergencies and to take some fantastic photos. I encourage you to post your pictures on social medias using the hashtag #GoNorfolk for a chance to win prizes! (FB, IG and Twitter)
3- MAKE IT FUN
If you and your family are new to hiking, leave your expectations at home!! Start with very short distances and commit to travel at a child’s pace. They will increase their endurance as they come back but for the first time out, patience is key. Inviting a friend to come along can be enjoyable for your child, parents tend to become boring quickly… Emphasize fun: play games like looking for specific things in nature or do sing alongs, look for treasures (bring a bag) or try geocaching! Let kids participate in the hike planning. Look at the map, show them the options and features they are likely to see if they are patient.
Norfolk county has so many amazing trails to explore. This website is fabulous to get you excited about hiking in Norfolk county, check it out: http://www.norfolktrails.ca/
Norfolk has a rich variety of wildlife, including raccoons, foxes, rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks. So many bird species like migrating songbirds, waterfowl and birds of prey. Keep your eyes open and see if you can spot any of your next hike!