Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Peterborough This Week Article!

News Jun 15, 2020 by Barbara-Ann MacEachern Peterborough This Week

This Week reader Johnathan Grey ran into Dr. Sonya Richmond and Sean Morton, who are hiking across the country, in Beavermede Park in Peterborough Saturday, June 13. - Photo courtesy of Johnathan Grey 

An epic journey across the country brought a pair of nature adventurists through Peterborough and the Kawarthas this weekend.

“We are hiking the longest trail in the world to encourage people of all ages, cultural backgrounds, races, abilities, genders, orientations, and identities to re-connect with nature through birding and Citizen Science,” says Dr. Sonya Richmond, conservation GIS analyst with Bird Studies Canada, who stopped in Peterborough Saturday (June 13) with partner Sean Morton.

With a budget of $20 a day, carrying everything they need in two backpacks and a small cart and camping along the way, the pair began their journey June 1, 2019 in Cape Spear Newfoundland. Last year they made it to Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec (more than 3,300 km) before stopping for winter. Although their route and timeline have been altered by COVID-19, they hit the trail again in Ottawa May 22. 

After hiking all day, Richmond and Morton set up camp and spend their evenings sorting through roughly 1,000 pictures and updating their blog and social media, often not turning in until 1 a.m. before getting up and doing it all over again the next day. 

Pre-COVID the pair would give birding presentations in the communities they travelled through. Now they hike with extra food and have mailed themselves resupply packages to limit contact with others.

“The lack of campgrounds, garbage cans, and public bathrooms has been a bit of a challenge, but since we’ve mostly been wild-camping so far it hasn’t been too much of an issue yet,” says Richmond.

“Since beginning this trek, one of the most surprising things to us is the generosity and kindness people have shown us.  Even during the pandemic, complete strangers will stop to chat, and go out of their way to find contactless and socially distanced ways to offer us water and help.”

After discovering their love of long-distance hiking on the Bruce Trail in Ontario, Richmond and Morton traversed Spain, France and Portugal, before deciding to explore the natural beauty in their own country.

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