Thursday, October 24, 2019

A response to recent emails and messages online....




We recently published an article on the hiking forum, The Trek, on our experiences and our opinion of the beautiful Fundy Footpath.   This is a trail in New Brunswick which is noted across North America and in hiking magazines as one which is rewarding and challenging. In our article we detailed – as best as we could – our time on the trail.   We highlighted its natural beauty, the well kept camping areas, and wonderful experiences we had during our 3 nights and 4 days.   Since words often fail we posted a great number of images as well to show people what this wonderful trailway looks like.  However, we also detailed that in our opinion that there were some anomalies between what the Guide Book said, what the AllTrails APP indicated and our experiences.  For instance, in the Guide Book and accompanying maps there are a number of different means of measuring the trail used, which does at times lead to confusion as to where precisely hikers are.  In addition, at one point the trail ceases marking the kilometers covered which again makes knowing your location challenging.  Beyond these points we felt that the nature of the pathway – along cliff edges where trees have been cut to provide views – amid a region fraught with coastal erosion was problematic and challenging for those nervous of heights.  We also noted that while the guidebook suggests the final 7-9 km of the western edge of the trail in the Fundy Parkway area were much easier – that we felt after 3 days of hiking that this stretch had its own challenges and that description in the book was somewhat misleading.  

In addition to these comments we also strongly highlighted the wonderful job done by volunteers and trail staff (post Hurricane Dorian and in the new rerouted sections) as well as the welcoming and encouraging comments we received from the Fundy Parkway staff and online hiker’s community.

However, despite our attempt to present our opinion of our experiences and detail some things which we felt other hikers might wish to know about the Fundy Footpath we have received an enormous and rather hateful backlash from previous hikers on the trail and many on the trail staff.  These comments have included:

 

“you tell cute stories, too bad you are a stupid woman”



“you should leave the path, the trail is better without people like you on it”



“toobad you didt fall and die out there on FFP, wuld have sved us reading more of  YUR crap online”



“these are your opinions not facts and you are a weak and dumb cow of a woman for finding the trail challenging”



“the guide book is absolutely accurate and written with only the interests and safety of users in mind”



“the design of the trail is perfect and does not endanger hikers and places the primacy of environmental concerns at the forefront of all of our decisions.” 



“These hikers are idiots and should not be listened to.   I …… can assure everyone that this article is utterly misleading.  Our guide book is accurate with the interests of hikers paramount in our descriptions.  The stories and information provided in this article should be ignored as widely misleading and the produc[t] of an overly dramatic and stupid woman.”



“if hiking Fundy scared U then U should have stayed home and stayed scared.  U claim to want to inspire kids but U are small and pathetic. Stop lecturing us until U learn how to handle easy hikes”



“maybe you need a good husband to help you handle trails since this one scared you”



To these comments we can only say, that if we “mislead” anyone that it was not our intention.  As with all of our blogs and online postings we are simply trying to inspire youth to get outdoors, get back into nature, learn to lead lives where their time online is balanced by experiential endeavours, and to promote the natural beauty of Canada.  With that said, of course many of our comments are subjective and reflect our experiences.  To that end, if you are interested in any of the trails or areas we talk about then we would encourage you to research them, learn about them and be prepared when you head out on them.  

I hope this clarifies the ongoing debate and slows the flood of hateful emails and messages we have received since the publication of this article.  The Fundy Foot Path, as with the Dobson Trail and Fundy National park are natural treasures that should certainly be enjoyed and experienced by as many people as possible.  Our time in New Brunswick along The Great Trail, has continued to be rewarding and exciting and we would encourage everyone to come and visit this region (especially in the fall). 

Sadly this is hardly the first time we have received such messages about our hike, and I doubt it will be the last time.  We seem to live in an age where it is easier to attack and criticize than to take risks and explore.   I worry when any endeavour or risk taken by people is met with vitriol and hope that the youth of this nation do not encounter such commentary when they are striving to attempt something new, learn about the world, and figure out their own life goals and about themselves.    I also worry however, that these types of comments are very much part of the daily lives of youth today and am continually amazed by their strength, resilience, and courage in continuing forward.  I hope that anyone who endures online commentary and digital threats knows that they are certainly not alone in this experience.  As my favourite TV show used to say "Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together." 

Hope to see you on the trail as we continue westward….

8 comments:

  1. A balanced and fair commentary on some distasteful vitriol. Press on, Sonya and Sean. I love your reporting and comments. Fortunately, we have not received similar comments as we continue our Walk Around the Island. :-)

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  2. Wow, I'm lost for words for the appalling sexist comments you've received Sonya. I'm so sorry this happened and am truly shocked and saddened that so many members of the hiking community behave in this disgusting way. You are an inspiration to young women like myself that care about nature and birds, and your resilience in the face of these comments is inspiring. Keep doing what you do, your insight is valuable and appreciated by so many!

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  4. Very sad you received that kind of response from any members the hiking community of New Brunswick.having hiked the footpath myself you should be proud of the accomplishment,especially if like me,you are afraid of heights! (Some areas were "challenging" to me,to say the least, especially alone) I hope your furthur adventures in N.B are successful and that the good comments far out weigh the bad! Hike on!

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  5. It does seem from the wording of some of those comments that maybe one troubled person was pretending to be several. But wow, where does all the hate come from anymore? But hike on, a lot of us are enjoying seeing a woman out on the trail.

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  6. Wow. I agree with Kandi. I have a feeling it maybe one person. Whoever they are they are very juvenile. Actually that may be too nice a word for them or him.
    Please ignore those comments. Your real followers enjoy your blog and pictures. What you are doing is a great accomplish!

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  7. Hi Sonya, I have been following you over on The Trek and I was sad to see all your posts had disappeared. I find them really interesting and I have enjoyed hearing about your progress. I'll try to follow you here instead.

    I have seen a few of these comments on your posts in the past, and I also suspect that it's one person who is leaving the vast majority them - to be honest I'd count it as online stalking. I don't think comments like this tend to appear elsewhere on The Trek (though I could be wrong) so it really feels like they're obsessed with you in particular.

    Good luck with your continuing walk, and thanks for sharing everything that you do!

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