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Group Hikes

About this blog

This blog will provide information about the group hikes we plan to offer on occasion. Look here for information about the hike, it's length, difficulty level and how to register for the hike.

In addition, the blog can serve as a contact point for hikers who are looking for a hiking buddy. You can use this blog as a hub to connect with other adventure and nature enthusiasts and find travel partners to explore places within or outside of Ontario or Canada.

About our group hikes

Over the years, we have been asked many times if we lead any group hikes here at TorontoHiking.com. The answer has always been that we are a resource site that provides information so that you and your friends can plan your own hikes around Southern Ontario and the Bruce Trail.

Now we have had an experienced hiker come forward and offer to lead some group hikes for TorontoHiking on occasion. We have written up a legal Activity Release form which you should read if you plan to sign up for any of these hikes. See Site Information at the bottom left of the Home page. You will be required to sign this release at the initial meeting spot before beginning the hike.

In addition, you will need to be a registered member of TorontoHiking.com in order to register for the hikes. It only takes a few minutes to register by way of Facebook, Twitter or Gmail and of course registration on the site is free. If you and a partner are joining one of our group hikes, only one of you needs to be a registered member of TorontoHiking.com. This is a legal requirement so that we know who is on the hike and that we have a working email address.

The hikes will have a convenient Toronto area meeting spot accessible by TTC where those participating will meet with the hike leader. At that point you will be asked to sign the Activity Release form. We will need some drivers for the hikes to be able to assign those that are passengers to various cars and drivers. You would be expected to pay your driver your share of the gas cost if you are a passenger in a car. We expect the hikes to be small in size and not busloads of people hiking in a long line.

Since we do not charge a membership fee to register on the site and use all of the information available, we are asking for a small donation form each hiker in our group hikes. We think $5 would be an appropriate donation.

More details will follow in due course, so watch this blog for further information.

Group hiking etiquette and safety

1. Listen to the hike leader when the group is addressed.
2. Stay behind the hike leader on the trail -let him control the pace.
3. Stay on the trail to avoid damage to the ecosystem.
4. Greet other hikers you pass with a smile and a hello.
5. Keep single file to the right on narrow trails. Allow others to pass.
6. Give priority on slopes to hikers going uphill as it's more strenuous.
7. Keep up to the group to prevent lags and becoming lost.
8. Do not litter. Take out what you brought in. Leave only footsteps.
9. Talk quietly. People enjoy nature for the peace it can offer.
10. Take photos and enjoy the hike and nature.
11. Tune out. Enjoy life without your cell phone for a few hours.
12. Don't leave the hike without telling the trip leader.

What to bring on a group hike

Bring plenty of water -at least one litre. More on hot humid days
Wear suitable footwear for varied terrain
Bring a snack and a lunch
Dress in layers
Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, sunglasses and a sun hat
Bring a camera
Double check that you have enough water -its important to stay hydrated.
Leave your pets at home.

Meet Walter our hike leader

Walter De Marco is a teacher and Meetup organizer with a true passion for travel and outdoor adventures. He has hiked mainly in southern Ontario and in central Italy, where he lived for over 20 years before moving to Canada in the mid-Nineties. He joined the boy scouts in Italy at the age of 11, and for 3 years he went on hikes and camping trips with his group on the hills and mountains of Abruzzo, which is home to its namesake national park.

In recent years, Walter started to hike with several adventure groups on Meetup in 2009. A year later he decided to take a more active role and start planning and leading his own hiking trips with said Meetup groups. The length of his hikes ranged from 10 - 17 km, and the group sizes ranged from five to 30 participants. The destinations also vary significantly, some of them as near as the Toronto Ravines and Beltline walk, which is accessible by TTC, and others as far as the Blue Mountains near Georgian Bay.

Walter has also planned and led hikes on various sections of the Bruce Trail, including Mono Cliffs, Hockley Valley, Crawford Lake and Shorthills PP. In 2013, he also started his own adventure Meetup group, and has been organizing a variety of outdoor events, from hiking to kayaking in the warmer months, and snowshoeing or dog-sledding in the cold season. His group is called the Adventure Club of Toronto, or ACT (www.actadventure.org).

In addition to the hiking events he organized for ACT and other local adventure Meetup groups, he has also joined guided hikes organized by local private and not-for profit organizations, including the Toronto Bruce Trail Club and Toronto Adventures. He also had the fortune to join hiking trips to the mountains of British Columbia and Northern Italy.

We welcome Walter as a leader of our new group hikes at TorontoHiking.com. We trust you will enjoy participating in his group hikes.

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