Having a guide can turn an everyday hike into the most amazing adventure. Although I’d hiked on my own in the past, making the hike with Tim Yearington of Bird Mountain Journeys wove together a story that allowed a deeper connection and different outlook on nature and history. It gave me a greater outlook on exploring.
Perspective was a big word on this guided hike, the view was phenomenal, the gifts and ‘good medicine’ from just walking and learning as Tim mentioned throughout helped me realize that sacred places like these really bring a new sense of power and respect for what is just in my own backyard.
The hike began with an explanation of how the trail was built: Tim is the original ‘trailblazer’ of the Griffith Uplands Trail, and as we hiked there was always something new to learn from him. Tim is an Algonquin-Metis knowledge keeper, teacher and healer that embraces and uses traditional teachings to help others on their life path.
His guided hikes are ‘medicine walks’ to the top of Thunderbird Mountain where you can gain a greater sense of awareness about the area and nature residing there. Tim passes on Algonquin and Métis history of the area and the stories, legends and teachings people can learn to use in everyday life.
I could see the beginnings, the creative work involved and how nature took this trail into its own. Tim’s awareness of different flora and fauna and how they connected to not only his Indigenous identity, but history itself, inspired me to continue walking to so that I could see and listen to more of what lay ahead.
The path started off slow and gentle and the embrace of different leaves, trees, fungi coupled with the sounds of the forest really felt like the heartbeat of the trail. As I continued to move towards the top the path became a little harder.
There were some places where I felt if I was doing this hike on my own and I would turn back and say: “I’ve done enough, there is no reason for me to continue it was a good hike.”
But every time, Tim’s story of how the Thunderbirds came to be and how they evolved, gave me the push to continue all the way to the top. I am so glad I got to see the change in nature throughout. Once I got to the top there was a beautiful Thunderbird nest that Tim created years ago and a tree where others leave respectful items and offerings for the Thunderbirds.
Nature is the greatest teacher and Tim the facilitator. I genuinely believe that taking the Griffith Uplands Trail is magical and one of Tim’s quotes really speaks to that:
“All the effort you put into exploring the low places will become good medicine for when you soon reach the high places.”
Knowing that bits and pieces of what was taught during the hike at the beginning and middle really tied into the end at the top, and being able to experience this put exploring this trail again on my list of things to do again with family with Tim guiding us.