For the first time, Ottawa gay hiking group Time Out is hiking through the winter, thanks to a 6,000-year-old invention: snowshoes.
Glen Bugg, Time Out coordinator, is himself an avid snowshoer. The group snowshoed in the Adirondacks in February in a one-off event, but he wants to keep it up. This year, the group is planning a season of snowshoeing, which will likely stay in the greenbelt and go through Gatineau Park trails.
“We did a couple snowshoeing outings last winter. And this year, since I’ve taken over the coordination role, I’m personally interested in it, and I want to do more of it,” says Bugg.
During its hiking season, about 25 men and women ranging from their early 20s to late 60s go on two Time Out hiking trips per month. They advertise through email and a Facebook page. The snowshoeing group will be drawn from the regular hiking group, and, of course, new subscribers.
Bugg says snowshoeing activities are weather dependent, and people will be updated in emails and on Facebook.
“Because we haven’t really done much, it will be a wait and see. With the hiking group, we have over 200 people receiving notices. And we get around 25 people showing up. The same group will receive notices about snowshoeing. We’ll see what our response is,” says Bugg.
There is no fee to join Time Out’s snowshoeing group, aside from the cost of gas if you are carpooling. Because many people don’t have snowshoes, Bugg says renting them is an option.
Mountain Equipment Co-op in Westboro rents snowshoes for $15 per day and $12 for every subsequent day. Their weekend special lets you rent the snowshoes from Thursday afternoon and return them the following Monday for $27.