News

Niagara Nomads walk, talk their way to fitness

By Penny Coles, Niagara Advance

Chris Lansley, Ian Gibson, Mike Fox, Shirley Gibson, Chris Schacht, Judy Fox, Dave Lansley, Jim Schacht, Rory MacCon, Cathy MacCon and David Smith are members of the Niagara Nomads, who hike every other week. In October, they visited Petroglyphs Provincial Park, northeast of Peterborough, for their annual “away” hike.

Chris Lansley, Ian Gibson, Mike Fox, Shirley Gibson, Chris Schacht, Judy Fox, Dave Lansley, Jim Schacht, Rory MacCon, Cathy MacCon and David Smith are members of the Niagara Nomads, who hike every other week. In October, they visited Petroglyphs Provincial Park, northeast of Peterborough, for their annual “away” hike.

On Sunday, Mike and Judy Fox enjoyed their first hike of 2016 - about 10 kilometers of flat terrain in St. Catharines, taking advantage of three trails that border Twelve Mile Creek.

 

Their outing took them along the Merritt, Participark, and the Twelve Side Trails, for about two hours of walking on the cold, dull day that was livened up by the spirits of a group of 13 hikers, said Mike Fox, before ending at a St. Catharines restaurant.

When the couple moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake almost a decade ago, they were interested in joining a walking group.

They like to keep active, and hiking is one of the activities they enjoy.

To meet other newcomers in town, Judy joined the local Newcomers Club, and chose to sign up for one of the offshoot activities - a walking group.

Unfortunately, she and Mike would have been walking alone - no one else was interested in joining that particular group.

But through the Newcomers Club, they were introduced to the Niagara Nomads, an informal walking and hiking group which started about 15 years ago.

An organized walk every other week is likely to take two to three hours, followed by a brown bag picnic or lunch in a restaurant, depending on the time of year.

They meet and walk 12 months a year, says Mike, most of the time on a Saturday morning, unless the weather or some other holiday or event pushes it to a Sunday, or occasionally, a week later.

Members take turns scouting out locations, and typically, midway through a walk week, they will receive an email letting them know where to go.

“We try to stay within about an hour’s drive from Niagara-on-the-Lake,” says Mike.

“Most weeks it’s closer to home than that, maybe 20 minutes or half an hour away.”

Various sections of the Bruce Trail are popular destinations, although not when it’s likely to be slippery or muddy, he said.

If the weather is bad, they’re more likely to choose a paved route - the Fort Erie Friendship, Merritt, Waterfront and Canal Parkway trails are all good choices in the winter, he said, but there aren’t that many occasions when snow is an issue.

Sometimes the terrain is more difficult than others, but novice or experienced, hikers need only be able to handle a two-to-three hour outing, he said.

Most of the members are retired, although not all, and relative newcomers to NOTL.

While fresh air and exercise, along with getting to know the area, are important to members, he said, the social element is also key - walking and talking go together, and members enjoy the camaraderie and conversation.

Once a year, in the fall, the group will organize an “away hike” to enjoy autumn colours.

They’ve visited places in the U.S. such as Watkins Glen, Algonquin Park in Ontario and northern sections of the Bruce Trail.

Ian Gibson and his wife Shirley are newer members of the club, and also relatively new to NOTL.

They too joined as a way to meet other people, while getting some exercise and exploring the Niagara Peninsula.

“It’s always somewhere new,” he said. “It’s an interesting way to meet new people and discover new trails.”

In the 12 to 15 hikes he has enjoyed with the nomads, “there’s been no replication. And it’s a good group of people, with various backgrounds. There are lots of interesting discussions.”

In addition to becoming familiar with the trails, he says, he’s also learned more about the history of Niagara as they visit different areas.

Anyone interested in joining can call Judy Fox at 905-937-2439.

Niagara Nomads’ next hike will be Saturday, January 16.

Sometimes the terrain is more difficult than others, but novice or experienced, hikers need only be able to handle a two-to-three hour outing, he said.

Most of the members are retired, although not all, and relative newcomers to NOTL.

While fresh air and exercise, along with getting to know the area, are important to members, he said, the social element is also key - walking and talking go together, and members enjoy the camaraderie and conversation.

Once a year, in the fall, the group will organize an “away hike” to enjoy autumn colours.

They’ve visited places in the U.S. such as Watkins Glen, Algonquin Park in Ontario and northern sections of the Bruce Trail.

Ian Gibson and his wife Shirley are newer members of the club, and also relatively new to NOTL.

They too joined as a way to meet other people, while getting some exercise and exploring the Niagara Peninsula.

“It’s always somewhere new,” he said. “It’s an interesting way to meet new people and discover new trails.”

In the 12 to 15 hikes he has enjoyed with the nomads, “there’s been no replication. And it’s a good group of people, with various backgrounds. There are lots of interesting discussions.”

In addition to becoming familiar with the trails, he says, he’s also learned more about the history of Niagara as they visit different areas.

Anyone interested in joining can call Judy Fox at 905-937-2439.

Niagara Nomads’ next hike will be Saturday, January 16.

 



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