make a donation

Family hikes 22.6 km through Ontario’s’ Frontenac Park in support of nature conservation

I’ve just hung up the phone after talking with the energetic Rowland family, Dad Gordon, daughter Lesley-Ann (12), and son Graham (10).

I had called them to thank them for dedicating their hiking trip and fundraising efforts to CPAWS. I also wanted to ask them about their experience doing a Big Wild Challenge. Their adventure is a great example of how outdoor experiences can be fun and enriching family bonding times.

I hope it will inspire other families, like yours, to try an outdoor challenge of your own before the kids head back to school in a few weeks time.

Max:  Hi Rowlands! Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. Could you share with CPAWS followers as to what inspired you to dedicate you hiking trip to The Big Wild Challenge?

Gordon: Our pleasure Max. We have been doing family camping trips for…oh.. . about four years now. We had this one planned when we became aware of The Big Wild Challenge. We believe in the work CPAWS is doing. We’ve supported CPAWS in the past by taking part in action email campaigns and by making donations - so when we saw the opportunity to do this we all thought it just made sense.

Max: Great. I understand you selected Frontenac Park as the place for your hike. Was there any special reason behind why you chose Frontenac?

Gordon: Each year, we’ve been getting more and more rustic with our camping trips. We wanted to do a trip than was tougher than car camping. We’ve never been to this park and wanted to try something different. More rustic, less people – a different type of camping experience.



Max:  I read on your personal Big Wild Challenge page that you all did some preparation for the trip – can you tell us a bit more about that?

Gordon: (laughs) Yes, we figured it might be smart to do a test run with our packs, as both kids had never been on any kind of long hike before. So we organized our gear and did a there-and-back (1 night) hike from our house to a local municipal camping site…which was about 8 km.

Max: For this next question I’d like to hear from each of the kids– what was your favorite part of the challenge, did you have any special moments with nature?

Lesley-Ann: The turtle on the path we saw was cool. I also liked the wild blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.

Graham: We saw a fawn, coming down the path at us. Dad’s sleeping bag rolling down the hill into the lake and chasing after it on the second night was pretty funny.

Max: Awesome guys – sounds like you had fun. I’m curious what part of the trip you found the most challenging?

Gordon: We were pretty tired after a full day hike and then we experienced some rain. But you know…as we all huddled close under the tarp together…we started to warm up and our mood changed. We felt close as a family and that we could do this.

Lesley-Ann: the hiking was a challenge – but I liked it.

Graham: Yeah, the hiking.

Max: Would you do it again? What words of advice/encouragement would you offer up to other families who are maybe considering doing a Big Wild Challenge?

Gordon: Yes we would encourage other families to get out there…it’s great. You renew yourself and get in touch with nature. Practical advice would be borrowing gear if you can, and give yourself time to recover and enjoy thing between the big hike days. Research your trip…books, online resources, local CPAWS chapter are all good ideas.

Lesley-Ann: Yes! And don’t worry about the hiking – you get used to it.

Graham: Yes, I’d do it again! There lots to do…its beautiful.