A decade ago, I spent two summers as a camp counsellor. I took groups of teenage girls on four-day camping and hiking trips.
I became very good at planning meals for 10, packing tents into tiny bags and scaring away rabid squirrels. (That’s another story…)
And leading trips! I also got pretty good a leading trips.
Since getting involved with the Alpine Club last, I wanted to get back into leading trips. But felt a bit intimidated by how much more experienced everyone else seemed to be.
On my last ACC trip on 5040, I was encouraged by our trip leader, Colin, to just give it a go. He explained to me the logistics of how it worked. It seemed pretty easy, so I put a trip to Empress Mt. in the Sooke Hills on the calendar.
We had a full trip — 11 people and 2 dogs. I asked my friend Dave to co-lead with me, as I knew it would be hard to keep a group that big together. Dave stayed at the front and I stayed at the back to make sure we didn’t lose anyone.
Empress is the tallest mountain in the Sooke Hills. It’s not a particularly nice hike, as it’s a long slog up rocky trails and through creeks. So it was great to be rewarded with a nice view!
The experience of leading a trip is different from just going for a hike.
I was always very aware of where everyone was, how they were doing, what time it was, where we were on the map…
Some of the benefits of hiking for me are getting a chance to think deeply about something or stop thinking at all. This was not the case at all on this particular hike, though I don’t mind at all. It’s nice to take people out to places I love.