By Darren Lum
Published Sept. 14 2017
As the leaves of the forest begin to radiate the brilliance of the autumn season with its crimson hues alluring ambers and glittering golds hikers from all over are waiting in anticipation for the upcoming 15th annual Hike Haliburton Festival.
There are hikes taking place all over Haliburton County from Thursday Sept. 21 to Sunday Sept. 24.
Organizer Barrie Martin calls this a signature event for the county.
“One reason it’s a signature event is that it’s happening everywhere across the county” he said.
With 92 hikes in every municipality from Minden Hills to Dysart et al to Algonquin Highlands and to Highlands East the festival’s lineup is a true showcase of the Highlands and offers something for everyone.
The total number of hikes exceeds last year’s lineup of 85 with a third of hikes that either have a new leader or an entirely new offer. There are enough new aspects to this festival that it will keep returning participants interested Martin said.
Martin said Hike Haliburton draw close to 40 per cent of participants locally while another 40 per cent were cottagers who had another reason to visit the area after Thanksgiving not including the long-standing studio tour last year. Getting more participation means greater exposure for the county because of friends and family of cottagers that also come to the area for the event. The remaining 20 per cent are people who have come specifically for the festival Martin adds.
He said this festival also enables hikers a unique chance to gain access to many trails on private property.
Among the many hikes still open but are standouts for their uniqueness Martin suggested the Hike and Climb on Thursday Sept. 21 and Hike a Homestead on the last day Sunday Sept. 24.
Hike and Climb offers participants as young as four an opportunity to learn the basics of rock climbing (all equipment provided) and to hike as it is led by Lorne Foisy of Basecamp 35.
Pariticipants will meet at the Old Firehouse Restaurant located on Hwy. 35 at the Ox Narrows.
Hike a Homestead takes people back to basics showcasing life on a homestead during the early days of the Highlands. Discover the way gardening is done on the Canadian Shield and learn about the history of farming in Haliburton. See the aforementioned and how contemporary agriculture is performed in Haliburton from hike leaders Andrew and Kira von Zuben at their Bedrock and Brambles property at 493 Salmon Lake in Gooderham.
Imagine the Highlands filled with the sounds of the bagpipes.
This year for the first time the festival is offering the Highland Hill Walking hike with Corina Mansfield of Deep Roots Adventure and the pipe major of the Haliburton Highlanders Andrew Mansfield on Saturday morning Sept. 23 at Silent Lake Provincial Park. The three kilometre hike will offer an interpretative component accompanied by the music of the Highlands.
This event isn’t just about hiking.
In addition to its diverse collection of guided trips Hike Haliburton also offers festival events such a concert with Ginger St. James the Fall Equinox Sacred Fire a concert with Lynn Myles with Keith Glass Hike Ontario AGM and presentations (and workshops) Family Harvest Festival Oxtongue Lake for Arts and Culture Artist’s Day Festival Fall Harvest Pork Dinner the First Autumn Open House Haliburton Highland’s Biggest Picnic Ever and the Blister Ball.
The Blister Ball is on Saturday night at the Royal Canadian Legion in Haliburton will be rocking with classic rock blues and country music performed by local band Custom Blend at 7:30 p.m. They are Walt Tose Andy Salvatori Cathy Salvatori Bill Hutson Charlie Davis and Dave Bathe.
Tickets are $20 per person can be purchased at the Source Canoe FM in Haliburton the Organic Times in Minden and at www.haliburtonfolk.com online.
For more information and to register for the festival hikes see hikehaliburton.com.