The Pender Harbour Hiking Club is now into its second year and boasts nearly 50 members in this small community of 2,500 residents.
The group has scheduled morning hikes twice a week, year round, on trails extending from Egmont to Halfmoon Bay and has a Facebook page to share members' photos and experiences.
The hiking club evolved out of a Nordic pole walking clinic, called Walkabout Pender Harbour, put on by the Pender Harbour Aquatic and Fitness Centre (PHAFC) in summer 2009. The clinic introduced participants to the use of poles for walking and to the many trails in the Pender Harbour area.
After the clinic completed in fall 2009, a small group of dedicated walkers decided to carry on meeting once a week, and once the new Suncoaster Trail opened, expanded the schedule to twice a week to explore the new/upgraded trails. The group has now moved from walking the easy trails in the area to exploring the more challenging trails and mountains down the Coast. There have been many positive remarks from members about their increased fitness level over the months they have been hiking.
The focus on fitness and outdoor recreation on the Sunshine Coast has certainly contributed to the formation and continued activity of the Pender Harbour Hiking Club. The many publications including Fat Tires & Walking Sticks: A Pocket Guide to "Some" Pender Harbour Trails (sponsored by Rotary Club of Pender Harbour); the Official Recreation Map: Sunshine Coast; and the Forest Service maps are all used to identify trails and plan the hiking schedule.
It is gratifying to see that a clinic put on by the Aquatic and Fitness Centre can inspire a group of people to organize themselves to form a club and continue their dedication to health and fitness.
The two-month schedule is posted at the Pender Harbour Aquatic and Fitness Centre and on the Sunshine Coast Regional District website, www.scrd.ca, under PHAFC.