Thursday, January 23, 2020

Camino Portuguese: Our Trek Across Portugal



For those who are interested in trekking the Camino Portuguese in 2020 and 2021, (or for those who are just interested in vicarious travelling across another country) we have just completed revising our blog of that route.

Just over a year and a half since we had trekked across Spain on the Camino Frances and across France along the Via Podiensis we were back on the Camino in Portugal on the Caminho Portuguese.

To read about our time on the Camino Portuguese click here.







Newfoundland's East Coast Trail: Our First Hike in Newfoundland along The Great Trail in 2018



For those interested in trekking the East Coast Trail (a part of the Great Trail) in 2020 and 2021, but we have just completed revising our blog of that route.

For us our hike in 2018 was undertaken to prepare us and our equipment for undertaking the 4 year trek across Canada. The ECT is the beginning of The Great Trail on the Atlantic Coast, and even though we are well into Quebec now – 3300 km later – Newfoundland trails and the East Coast Trail still call us back with their beauty, culture and amazing communities.

To read about our time on the East Coast Trail click here.

GR 65 / Via Podiensis: Our Trek Across France



For those who are interested in trekking the GR65 across France, popularly known as the Via Podiensis in 2020 and 2021, (or for those who are just interested in vicarious travelling across another country) we have just completed revising our blog of that route.

Six months after we had trekked across Spain on the Camino Frances we were back on the Via Podiensis in France hoping to recapture the adventure and spirit of our original 40 day hike.

To read about our time on the GR65 / Via Podiensis in 2017 click here.

Camino Frances: Our Trek Across Spain


For those who are interested in trekking the Camino de Santiago across Spain, popularly known as the Camino Frances in 2020 and 2021, (or for those who are just interested in vicarious travelling across another country) we have just completed revising our blog of that route.

For us our hike in 2016 along the Camino Frances came after 18 months of struggling. One of us experienced a collapse in their life after a year of loosing almost everything and experiencing extreme online harassment from a former colleague, we began to lose a family member to video games, and we both began to struggle with questions surrounding our work-life balance. In short we were lost. The Camino began for us a last ditch effort to save ourselves and along the route showed us the way forward. This is likely the reason that 6 months later we were back on the Via Podiensis in France and shortly after that on the Camino Portuguese and the Camino Finisterre. Hiking and being outdoors can be wonderfully addictive.

Today we have published our full trek along the Camino Frances from St. Jean Pied de Port in France to the Cathedral in Santiago Spain. For those interested, we hope you enjoy, learn and are inspired to get outdoors and hike!

To read about our time on the Camino Frances in 2016 click here.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Vancouver Presentation Announcement!

Exciting News! Come Walk With Us is presenting on birding and hiking along Canada’s Great Trail twice at the Outdoor Adventure Show in Vancouver in 2020. We are excited to present on the Best of Canada Adventure Stage!  
We have been offered a coupon to distribute to followers, friends and those interested in our talk a discount on the admission tickets to the show throughout the weekend. Please feel free to share this information and coupon if appropriate.

Vancouver's Outdoor Adventure Show, February 29th and March 1st, 2020 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

The Best of Canada Adventure Stage - Friday, February 29th, 10:30 am, "Exploring Canada Along the Great Trail", Sonya Richmond & Sean Morton, Come Walk With Us

The Best of Canada Adventure Stage - Sunday, March 1st, 10:30am, "Exploring Canada Along the Great Trail", Sonya Richmond & Sean Morton, Come Walk With Us
We look forward to seeing you there!


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Toronto Presentation Announcement!

Exciting News! Come Walk With Us is presenting on birding and hiking along Canada’s Great Trail twice at the Outdoor Adventure Show in Toronto in 2020. We are excited to present on the Best of Canada Adventure Stage!  
We have been offered a coupon to distribute to followers, friends and those interested in our talk a discount on the admission tickets to the show throughout the weekend. Please feel free to share this information and coupon if appropriate.

Toronto's Outdoor Adventure Show, February 21-23, 2020 at the International Centre.

The Best of Canada Adventure Stage - Friday, February 21st, 3:00pm to 3:30pm, "Exploring Canada Along the Great Trail", Sonya Richmond & Sean Morton, Come Walk With Us

The Best of Canada Adventure Stage - Sunday, February 23rd, 3:45pm to 4:15pm - "Exploring Canada Along the Great Trail", Sonya Richmond & Sean Morton, Come Walk With Us
We look forward to seeing you there! 



Wednesday, January 1, 2020

First Year on the Great Trail in Review



For us, 2019 began in an ordinary enough way, but as spring approached we gave up our house, donated most of our possessions, left the desk job behind, and embarked on a 4-year hike across Canada on the Great Trail. We started our adventures with a 650 km “warm up” hike across Portugal, which helped us train both mentally and physically for our trek across Canada. To read more about that adventure, and some of the birds we saw along the way, please click here.

 
Black-winged Stilt
 
White Stork

Since leaving Cape Spear, Newfoundland on 1 June 2019 we hiked just over 3,000 km on the Great Trail, reaching Riviere-du-Loup, QC on 10 November, two days after the first snow of winter fell.


In between we were screeched in and kissed a cod, stood on the spot where two continents collided, watched a tidal bore and experienced the highest tides in the world, survived two tropical storms and a category 1 hurricane, walked on the ocean floor with goats, touched some of the oldest exposed rock on the planet, participated in an historical re-enactment, and I became a member of the Explorer’s Club.


All this we did in an effort to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds, and especially youth, to get outside, be curious, explore, and re-connect with nature through birding. We did our best to spread a message of hope - sharing six simple steps we can all take that will help not only the birds in our own backyards, but those who breed in the Boreal and overwinter in the south as well. We encouraged people to join the vibrant and vital community of Citizen Scientists who contribute their observations of nature to monitoring programs that help us protect our birds and other wildlife.

Overall, we shared our message with more than 300 people we met in communities we visited along the trail, gave fifteen presentations and four bird walks hosted by naturalist groups, Parks Canada, Mountain Equipment Co-op, and three universities. Our story was shared by the CBC in 12 radio interviews, and by local, national, and international media outlets in 54 written articles. We took 139,000 photos and shared our experiences in 414 Instagram posts and 138 blog entries.

And what an experience it was. Seeing caribou, black bears, moose, beaver, rabbits and Arctic hares, a rare pine martin, and over 150 species of birds was a real treat. To see the 'complete' list of bird species from our #hike4birds along sections of the Great Trail in the Maritime provinces, Ontario, and British Columbia please watch the short video below (for the full 'Big Year' experience, turn your volume on!).
Experiencing the wild, rugged coast of the Atlantic, the open bogs and fens, and the mossy beauty of the Boreal forest in Newfoundland, the pastoral landscapes and rolling hills of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the expansive Bay of Fundy with the highest tides in the world, the rich red soils and beaches of Prince Edward Island, and the forested hills and lakes of Quebec was a real privilege. The wild beauty of Canada’s natural landscapes and its wildlife are stunning, and we hope we’ve inspired a few more people to fall in love with them, and to join the tireless efforts of volunteers, conservation groups, NGOs, and governments to help protect them.

What have we learned from our first year on the trail? First and foremost, that people are incredibly kind, generous, and caring. We were frequently left humbled by and enormously grateful for the help and random acts of kindness we received from people we’d never met before. We were also amazed by the stories and experiences people freely shared with us along the way, and we were grateful for the opportunity to listen. People across the Maritimes have been noticing imbalances in nature, and they’ve been seeing fewer birds and fewer species at their bird feeders than they did 40 years ago. They are deeply concerned about this and what it means, and eager to learn how they can help. This attitude of caring and generosity in the non-scientific community gives us hope for the future. Science is telling us that 3 billion birds have gone missing from North America since the 1960’s, but I think that more than the facts, it is our own observations of this decline that will spur us to take the steps necessary to bring back our birds.

As Canadians we are blessed with wilderness, natural resources, and open space, and we have an opportunity to make a huge difference to the whole planet if we choose to protect and use them wisely. We ended our first year on the Great Trail hopeful that we can rise to this enormous challenge.

We would like to thank everyone who joined us on our journey across the Maritimes last year, and invite you all to 'Come Walk With Us' again in 2020. As soon as we can do so in a socially responsible, safe, and legal manner we will begin our hike across Quebec and Ontario. We look forward to another season of exploration, discovery, learning, and sharing.