By Jerelyn Craden
The word exciting is not easy to back up, except when describing the Hike Haliburton Festival – the largest hiking festival in Canada – running Sept. 22 to 25 for its nineteenth year.
“We have hikes in all four Haliburton County municipalities ranging all the way from Ragged Falls in the far north east corner of the county, down to Silent Lake in the far south east corner of the county,” Thom Lambert, Content Creator with Haliburton County Tourism, said.
Over 40 hikes, for all ages and abilities, are released online (at hikehaliburton.com) in waves rather than all at once. “It gives people several opportunities to be among the first to register before a hike fills up,” Lambert said. “We also find that it generates more interest.”
With each hike having an average of fifteen hikers, led by a volunteer hike leader, “we’re looking at between 400 and 500 participants this year,” Lambert said. About 40% are Haliburton residents, and 60%, cottagers and friends of cottagers.
And, excitement grows for HHF’s new unique offerings this year.
For the first time ever, HHF is offering an overnight backpacking experience – Women in the Wilderness – led by Chris Whittemore. “About four or five participants will backpack into Queen Elizabeth Wild Lands, one of six provincial parks in Haliburton,” Lambert said. “The distance will be fairly short and goes into the Ganaraska Trail. It’s a great opportunity to have a good first backpacking experience, and then be able to continue on their own later on.”
Another unique HHF hike this year is Boots and Books, led by Canadian author Terry Fallis, two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Imagine, taking a casual stroll around picturesque Minden village and the site of Bookapalooza which will be in full swing at the Minden Community Centre, as Fallis talks about how you can find inspiration just about anywhere, even in politics.
“There are so many summer events that are going on in the community during the week of HHF, that people can enjoy both,” Lambert said. Among them, is Ian Tamblyn, “one of the best song writers in Canada,” he said, “who will be performing at the Dominion for the HHF weekend.” Tamblyn has also written fourteen plays and over one hundred theatre soundtracks.
A dream hike for foodies is Ramble at the Rockcliffe run by the Rockcliffe (previously known at Summerkiss) in Moore Falls. An easy two kilometre hike on their extensive property includes a lunch carefully curated by their executive chef.
For families and young kids, there’s the King Beach Dam Hike at Camp Wanakita.
Andrea Roberts, Dysart et al Mayor, added, “September is the ideal time to hike. The fall colours will be spectacular. And there is a hike for everyone.”
Tracie Bertrand, Manager of Tourism couldn’t agree more. “Hike Haliburton provides the backdrop for a perfect family autumn vacation, and with the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit, we hope to see many visitors for Hike Haliburton 2022.”
For all HHF information, visit: hikehaliburton.com.