After a few weeks of challenging commentary, upsetting messages, and a large number of graphic and threatening emails. Many of which included a lot of misunderstanding about our trek as well as where we have hiked and where we intend to hike in the future. Most of which seem to have a very poor comprehension of why diversity and accessibility are important and how they impact upon everyone’s ability to connect with nature. And all of which included a startlingly significant number of grammatical and spelling errors amid their rantings, ravings and demands that we quit our #hike4birds, apologize to all ‘Real Canadians’, and supplicate ourselves to them personally…..
Our answer is this : When it is responsible to do so, we are definitely, definitively, certainly, absolutely heading back out to continue trekking across Canada on The Great Trail. (I hope that is very clear)
As of this moment, we are done with trying to respond to all of the negative commentary, hyper critical blog responses, and nonsense emails that we have steadily received for the past 2 years (and especially in the past 21 days). We began this trek to inspire people to reconnect to nature by enjoying their local trails and birding possibilities from their own backyards to the boreal and to foster a positive view of our amazing nation and its wild spaces.
We know that we are not perfect, we are aware that we are not the best hikers, lightest trekkers, or top birders. I am not a gourmet camping chef, we are not gear masters, professional photographers, life listers or in the best of physical shape (though I am confused why each of these critiques means that we must quit our hike immediately). We are, as always, simply two ordinary Canadians privileged enough to be able to share in an extraordinary adventure. We are out here striving to connect people to nature and hoping to inspire those that come next and who will be the stewards of our environment and nation in the years to come. That seemingly small goal is what we chosen and taken to be our essential undertaking in this life.
We are fortunate to have the opportunity to share our experiences, our stories, and photographs with everyone who wants to participate.
Regardless of the emails we continue to receive we absolutely intend to continue on with our message of youth engagement to the outdoors through birding and citizen science while advocating inclusion, diversity, and accessibility to nature across Canada (simply because the outdoors are the heritage of EVERYONE).
The digital world has enough frustration and negativity in it for us to try to address it and hope to fix it. It is time we moved on and went back to our core ideals in sharing our nation – providing everyone who wants to see and experience Canada from the world’s longest trail that opportunity.
Thank you to everyone who sent the mountains of kind messages of support in this past week and for sticking with us this far! As always it is you who reminds us that Canadians coast to coast to coast are wonderful, carrying, kindhearted people. As a national we help our neighbors, build up our communities, and lend a helping hand even to strangers who we do not know. Our kindness and compassion are the ties that bind us and we must never lose sight of that simple reality.
We are constantly aware of the fact that we could never have gotten so far across Canada without the generosity and kindness of so many people across the country. In every way this is not our hike, but a trek which includes those amazing volunteers who have developed and those who maintain the trails of the nation, to those who have followed and supported us en route, to those who help us in each community that we pass through. It is your hike as much as it is ours.
With that said, while we might be temporarily halted in our advance westward, we still have a long and amazing way to go, and we look forward to sharing every step with you when we get back to the trail.