August 9th, 2020
~ submitted by Jes Garceau; photography by Linda Fynes
How dare I! My first hike as a trip leader and almost three months later I am writing not only the trip report but handing in the participant list to the club for the records. Well, I suppose this year everyone has a built-in excuse for anything that has gone awry, right? As most club members are familiar with this hike I will spare the details of the route as it is well travelled and documented. What I would like to write about is what this first year of being a Rambler’s member has meant to me and how this was portrayed in my first leadership role. I realize this may sound like too big of a deal for the Judge’s Route, but for me this opportunity was a big deal. Organizing and leading an activity is a new experience for me and an area I would like to gain confidence in.
I was given the opportunity to lead my first hike when due to popular demand, Matthew’s group for Mt Arrowsmith became full. This opportunity gave me the chance to lead while having the safety net of an experienced leader along with me. As forewarned in an informative and light course of trip leading taught by Matthew, the biggest part of
trip leading is the extensive pre-communication required about trip details as well as finalizing the ever-changing participant list. This club course gives you access to all of Matthew’s highly touted organizational tricks, tips and habits to help you succeed as a trip leader. After everything, the two full groups ended up Matthew’s and my family units and 4 additional club members.
Our hike began with Matthew hoisting his youngest child into a carrying pack intent on giving her the opportunity to climb Mt Arrowsmith as well. Most of the not so glamourous lower section of Judge’s Route was led by two of the youngest members of the group. It was truly inspiring to see Trace and Hemingway set the pace and encourage everyone up the climb! The group’s value of team-work shone through in this hike as I noticed club members instinctively and happily rein in the eager quick stepped, young leads when they seemed to forget that the following group of old fogeys were not as fleet of foot. I saw members having trouble deciding who would take over carrying one child’s pack; everyone wanted to help. The sweep position was held by Matthew (carrying children up mountains tends to slow a guy down, yes Matthew is a mortal), due to his helpful nature.
As we gained the alpine and started the first bit of scrambling, a member quickly realized they were uncomfortable with their lack of skills and the terrain at hand. Shortly after, another younger member also made aware their lack of confidence to continue on. Feeling comfortable to admit this to a group can be a daunting task on it’s own and by doing so, the supportiveness of this group was revealed. In yet another display of good club spirit Matthew quickly and without hesitation or display of regret declared he was happy to take a moment with his kids and the uncomfortable members, have lunch and head back down as a group. In a day and age where the norm seems to be seeing children stuck in the world of the almighty screen, having young members involved in the hiking club and watching them take on a small leadership role gives everyone else a little smile or pep to their step in a day.
I continued to the top with the remaining members and the day proceeded without a hitch all the way to the summit, which was quite lovely with very clear views. After a short snack the group saddled up and made quick time back down. The two groups happened to link back up for the last stretch of the route and were able to finish as the original team we started as.
Becoming a member of the Rambler’s has created a platform for me to gain knowledge and feed my desire to expand both my hiking skills and hiking community. I take something from every individual I have participated on trips with and I am very grateful to have this opportunity to be part of this team. Hiking is a novel passion for me, beginning two years ago and I would never have imagined I would be accomplishing the objectives I currently am. I owe so much to this club and look forward to giving back what I can.
~ All photos courtesy of Linda Fynes