After a period where they were online-only, forced by the pandemic, members of a local outdoor adventure group are meeting in-person once again to strike a pose on local trails.
“The members comment constantly how great it is to be in-person again,” said Rhonda McMahon, owner of Stride and Stretch. “The ability to connect in person has such a phenomenal impact on everybody’s mental health, it feels so much better to be back with our community of friends.”
The membership-based group, which met up twice a week before the pandemic, would hike different trails throughout Guelph and the surrounding areas while incorporating yoga poses. Last year due to COVID restrictions, members met in limited numbers to do looped hikes in places still open for hiking.
“We missed these trails, because at the time there was a limit to where we could go, based on closures and such, and so it’s really exciting to get back to our regular trails,” said McMahon.
While members are back together, McMahon mentions there are some safety protocols she is keeping in place, including that every member has to be double vaccinated.
“It’s a private group, so if that’s not your thing, then you don’t have to join us,” said McMahon. “We want to be as inclusive as possible, but we also want to be mindful of all our member’s safety.”
Along with focusing on reconnection, there is a new concern for "mindfulness" within the group by learning about the Indigenous peoples and history of the trails they hike on.
“We love to hike, we love to get out there, but we really try to enjoy the journey,” said McMahon. “It’s great to hike the Bruce Trail to power through and get a good hike in, but I want my group, and my group has been receptive to it, to get to know more about the land, the conservation of the land, and what we need to do to protect it.”
“For my part, I feel that it gives us a much better ethos, in the sense that we’re guests in nature and we need to protect it. We’re guests on these Indigenous lands that go way back and we’re guests of the trails that people work to maintain.”
To learn more about the hiking club and the yoga sessions, go to strideandstretch.ca.
This story was made possible by our Community Leaders Program partner.
Thank you to Dietrich Law Office for helping to expand local news coverage in Guelph. Learn more
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