Come Wander

*When wandering in Ontario’s Highlands, please be aware of any local travel restrictions and guidelines. Vaccine passports accompanied by photo identification are currently required to enter some businesses. 

Is there any better feeling of aliveness than the way we feel when we connect to ourselves and others? Connections give us a grounded, joyful sensation of awareness and interaction that runs through our veins and leaves us feeling utterly – alive.

Whether it’s a hug from loved ones, working with others in an effort to improve our community, or watching the sun rise – our inherent need for human connection is as important as our food choices and exercise. We all need it.

Maslow’s commonly referenced “Hierarchy of Needs,” includes the concept of social connection, and there is an abundance of research that supports both social connection and nature as significantly impacting our well-being.

So what-the-bananas does this have to do with you, hiking, and Ontario Highlands? The answer is: Everything.

Responsible Recreation is an overarching term that encompasses safety and environmental impact. It means being a good land steward while being respectful of oneself, others, and nature.

This article will take a closer look at our connection to people with that responsible recreation lens, an aspect that we can all nurture for our collective “wellth”.

 Environment and Community

Connecting with people and sharing the outdoors is beautiful indeed! How can we positively contribute to ensuring that we host nature trails and locations that are for all persons?

Answer: by learning, advocating, and implementing inclusivity. For example, when hiking,  inclusivity does not take away from those already out on the trails, yet it adds significantly to those experiencing barriers.

This is why GirlGoneGood® has launched the #goodhumanrevolution™. We don’t have all the answers surrounding inclusivity resources and environments, but as a community we can put effort into making this world a better place – one little change at a time.

As Brené Brown often states, “I’m not here to be right, I’m here to get it right.” As a #NatureForAll partner, the #goodhumanrevolution is our initiative to help the community connect with self, others, and nature. Learn more about our #goodhumanrevolution.

The Experience of Others

 Getting out into nature is often a personal experience, yet it is also a public space. It is through our individual habits with each interaction outside that we impact  not only the environment but the experience for the next hiker that comes along.

When it comes to preserving the ability for all to enjoy nature, there are a few responsible recreation tips and habits that can positively contribute.

  • Ditch the beer or wine nights and share your love for the outdoors by inviting friends and family to join you on a hike. Some may not know local trails or have the knowledge or skills to be comfortable going out alone. (Ok, ok, maybe hike first and still have a social afterwards!)
  • As in the Connection to Sound article in this series, leave the music to the car rides. Listening to music on the trails not only disturbs local wildlife but also robs others of the opportunity to enjoy and connect with self and nature.
  • With the same intention in mind – to allow others to fully enjoy their time outdoors and nature’s beauty – kindly take any dog poop bags with you versus leaving them on the trail to collect on the return. Same goes with toileting outdoors and camping food, remember always follow the Leave No Trace principals and pack out your trash!

Safety and Self

 When it comes to our own safety, there are a few responsible recreation tips for connecting with others outdoors.

  • Always let someone know your trail, route, and estimated return time⁠.
  • Choose a more popular trail if hiking solo⁠, hike in groups, and/or bring your dog⁠.
  • Catch up to another group of hikers if you feel unsafe⁠.
  • Have your phone on if cell reception, or carry an emergency spotter if none⁠⁠. Have a whistle on your person⁠ and accessible (My favourite being Storm Whistles that you can purchase online. It is extremely loud, weather proof, and should be used in emergencies only).
  • Do not hike with earphones in⁠.
  • Do not wander off trail⁠.
  • Carry bear spray…for bears…⁠and if your gut tells you something is off, leave.⁠
  • Never post your location on social media until you’ve left that location. Please seriously consider this habit. That awesome stylish picture at the lookout can wait until you’re safely off the trail and in your car.⁠

Now that we’ve explored the responsible recreation side of people in nature, what can we do to enhance our experience?

  • Prior to visiting our incredible Ontario Highlands, look up local meditation, forest bathing, and yoga events to enjoy.
  • Opt for a sunrise hike to start the day off with a heightened experience of connection with the world.
  • Adopt the 5,4,3,2,1 grounding exercise, although commonly used as an aid to managing anxiety, it’s also a great exercise to focus on the present while in nature.
  • Sit in nature to practice conscious breathing or the WimHof method of breathing techniques.

Final thought: There is no doubt that our ability to connect with self, others, and nature, is part and parcel with our well-being.

As Maxime Lagacé is quoted: “By discovering nature, you discover yourself”. When we gift ourselves that time to connect, we set ourselves up for enriching and deeply meaningful connections and experiences. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what life is all about?

Looking for more inspiration for connecting to people in Ontario’s Highlands? Click here  or read the stories below.

Connected to People: Ro Nwosu

Find Your Zen

Strengthen Your Connection to Yourself and Others

3-Day Journey of Self Discovery

 

Stories

Responsible Tourism: Stay Safe, Be Respectful in Winter

Believe it or not, winter is my absolute favourite season to get outdoors and hike! The trails are little more quiet, there are no bugs, and you don’t have to get up as early to catch an incredible sunrise.  If that’s not winning, I don’t know what is. The caveat of course, is that you […]

Snow Man: Andrew Twigg Meets Winter Head on in Frontenac County

When the snow blankets the ground for the first time each year it’s immediately clear there are two kinds of people in the world: those who huddle warmly indoors, and the ones who wrap themselves up and plow boldly outside, eager to experience winter’s harshest offerings. Andrew Twigg is one of the latter. For Andrew […]

Light Up the Holidays

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.  When the holiday decorations go up in December the whole world begins to shimmer with magic. Every car ride or stroll is filled with wonder as we drink in the night filled with sparkling holiday lights of all colours. For the next […]

Responsible Tourism: Building Connections

*When wandering in Ontario’s Highlands, please be aware of any local travel restrictions and guidelines. Vaccine passports accompanied by photo identification are currently required to enter some businesses.  Is there any better feeling of aliveness than the way we feel when we connect to ourselves and others? Connections give us a grounded, joyful sensation of awareness and interaction that […]

How to Strengthen Your Connection to Yourself and Others

*When wandering in Ontario’s Highlands, please be aware of any local travel restrictions and guidelines. Vaccine passports accompanied by photo identification are currently required to enter some businesses.  Let’s face it, we live in a pretty disconnected world. Especially over the last year and a half, we’ve begun to connect primarily through digital media like social media, cell phones, […]

Connected to People: Ro Nwosu

“My calling is to help people, to help them see the way they move is so unique to who they are.” – Ro Nwosu What do you get when you take the rich Nigerian and maritime cultures, pepper in a dash of Valley, a twist of determination, and combine? You get a people loving, community […]

10 Festive Events to get the Holidays Started

*When wandering in Ontario’s Highlands, please be aware of any local travel restrictions and guidelines. Vaccine passports accompanied by photo identification are currently required to enter some businesses. The holidays just don’t seem like the holidays without taking part in some fun community events. We miss seeing friends and neighbours during these once-a-year community gatherings […]

Shiver-Worthy Spooky Spots

There’s something lingering in the air throughout October, leading up to the culmination of all things spooky on its final day – Halloween.   October starts with the summer’s lush canopy of green bidding a final farewell through a stunning display of vibrant colours. When the leaves die off and settle as a multi-coloured blanket on the forest floor, and the fog rolls in over the lakes and […]

Food for Thought: Responsible Tourism Through Food

Raise your hand if you’re all about snacks while hiking, camp meals on the fire, or cabin feasts with friends? (we’re going to go ahead and assume that your hand is up because all these things are awesome). Plant life contributes to the ecosystem, meals are the cornerstone of communities, and packing the right food […]

4 Ways to Connect with the Land

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. The next time you are outdoors, take a moment to stand and truly feel of the land beneath your feet. If you concentrate really hard you may be […]

Connecting to the Land and Algonquin History: Amber Hein

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. On my mother’s side, I am Algonquin Anishinabek, an original inhabitant of Turtle Island, known today as North America. The traditional homelands of the Algonquin people are the […]

How to Give Back to the Land

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. – Amber Hein is Algonquin Anishinabek, an original inhabitant of Turtle Island, known today as North America. Read her perspective on how to give back to the land […]

Educate Yourself About Indigenous People and their Cultures

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. Canadians are becoming more aware of the injustices perpetrated against Indigenous Peoples since settlers arrived on the shores of Turtle Island (North America). Still, many of us aren’t […]

Responsible Tourism: Be a Better Ally to First Nations peoples

This content is part of the broader Our Connections campaign, and is intended to broaden the understanding of Indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their histories in Ontario’s Highlands. Canada is home to more than 630 First Nations, representing over 50 sovereign nations with their own lands, culture, language, creation stories, language or dialect. With such a […]

Fall Studio Tours, Theatre, Maple, and More

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. The summer may be over but that doesn’t mean the party has to stop. Events that take place in fall are in many ways even more amazing than summer events – there are no bugs, the weather is more reasonable, and we’re all eager […]

Responsible Tourism: Respecting Nature’s Soundscape

When you hike, is it to experience nature? Perhaps catch up with friends? Whether if it’s one or the other – or maybe both! – nothing trumps taking a pause to listen to nature’s ‘music’. There is beauty is listening to bird songs, frogs’ choruses, and the wind through the trees. In fact, it’s an […]

3-Day Creative Retreat

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. A creative spirit craves uninterrupted time to dream, wander, and replenish. It longs to absorb the creative vibes from others and bask in beautiful art and artistry. If your creative well has run dry or you are looking for an inspirational retreat to relax […]

Translating the Vibe in Haliburton: Nick and Benton

“In every season, Haliburton is inspiring – the pace, vibe and cottage feel creates the perfect setting for creativity.” ~ Nick Russell & Benton Brown, Haliburton musicians Picture this: You are at the cottage seated with friends and/or family around a roaring bonfire, the low murmur of voices competing against a chorus of crickets and […]

Find Inspiration in Ontario’s Highlands

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. We all want to be able to make beautiful music, paint stunning works of art or write beautiful prose, but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it, wouldn’t they? It’s fair to say that fostering creativity is difficult to achieve in a […]

Get the Most Out of a River Experience

*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out. Getting to know a river is almost like embarking on a wet and wild love affair. You forge a connection, learn everything you can, and then strengthen it over time. Sounds like a relationship, doesn’t it? The connection you have with a body of […]

Responsible Tourism: Discover the Benefits of Local Travel

When was the last time you discovered a local landmark or business that you didn’t know was there? In Ontario’s Highlands, we have some amazing spots and experiences that you might be surprised to hear about. For example, did you know the longest canopy boardwalk in the world is located in Haliburton Highlands? Or that […]

Finding Beauty in the Everyday: Meet Rosemary Leach, Almonte Artist

The community of Almonte has a habit of creating and fostering artists, a trend that’s perpetuated in the work and life of Almonte artist, Rosemary Leach. Rosemary and her husband, Jake, originally hail from Toronto and Peterborough, respectively, and intentionally went looking for a community with an unhurried pace in which to settle down when […]

The Evolution of Art: Wendy Wood, Haliburton Artist

Haliburton artist, Wendy Wood, has lived everywhere from Kapuskasing to the shores of Lake Erie, but says nothing can compare to the creative atmosphere in Haliburton, particularly when it comes to fostering art and artists. “There’s a little bit of everything here,” Wendy explained. “The art school here draws everybody…you have top-notch teachers then people […]

Local Love: 9 Local Gift Ideas You Can Order Online Today

‘Tis the season – for shopping. Yes, the leaves may have barely fallen from the trees but the jack-o-lanterns will shortly be switched out for ornaments and holly and the days are numbered before the holidays are here live and in person. This year when planning your shopping to-do list, we have two words for […]

Finding Good Medicine on Thunderbird Mountain

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 […]

Haunted Walks and Hair-Raising Ghost Tours

Have you ever wandered through an older building and felt the hair raise on the back of your neck, and not been sure why? It may be you are sensing something that others aren’t, some spooky aftereffect from a historical wrongdoing or the ghostly pinings of a disgruntled spirit. Many small communities in Ontario’s Highlands […]

The Artist’s Way

Who says art can only be found in big galleries or urban showrooms? To find fantastic local and Canadian art you need to head to the places that inspire artists to create, and Ontario’s Highlands is among the most beautiful places in Ontario (in our humble opinion). Beyond the inspiration found in the rugged hills […]

Big Attractions in Ontario

Are you the type to pull over when you see a comically large roadside attraction, or a picture-perfect spot to snap a few shots? Amateur photographers and Instagrammers alike can agree that a giant ice cream cone, a massive mural adorning the side of a building, or a full-size replica of a jet plane are […]

Ground to Glass

Discover how four craft drink makers harness Mother Nature’s flavours to elevate their beverages in Ontario’s Highlands.

With Love, to the Ottawa Valley

From the rushing waters of the Petawawa, Madawaska and Ottawa rivers to the unspoiled woodlands of Algonquin Park, the Ottawa Valley is a sultry enchantress, enticing us with adventure. Renowned as a world-class whitewater destination and for the challenges found in its rugged hills and lush dales, the Valley pushes us to do more, live […]

With Love, to Lennox & Addington

Known for its pristine wilderness, incredible views and rugged natural spaces, the majestic beauty of Lennox & Addington speaks to the wanderer inside us all. From the craggy peak of Mazinaw Rock at Bon Echo Provincial Park to the starry skies overhead, there is wonder waiting to be discovered here, a vivid reminder of how our […]

Your Guide to COVID-19 Safe Travel in Ontario’s Highlands

This year the key to exploring is to keep it local; this is the time to explore our own backyards, and the regions close to home that have so much to offer us in the way of exhilarating outdoor experiences, fantastic food and drink, and blissful relaxation. If you’re exploring a new corner of Ontario’s […]

Get in Step

April Verch, fiddler, singer-songwriter and step dancer extraordinaire teaches the basics of stepdancing.

Exhale and Unwind

Experience a slice of farm life at Dwyer’s Farmhouse in the Ottawa Valley.

Discover Hidden Gems

Feed your curiosity and explore the diverse geology of Ontario’s Highlands at these Recreational Geology locations.

Shine at Giving this Holiday Season

Today’s craft markets are full of fresh, hip products made by creative and talented makers. This holiday season, go above and beyond by picking up handmade items with a story to tell at one of these Ontario holiday markets.

Art in the Summer

Celebrate creativity at art festivals across Ontario’s Highlands this summer.

3 Cheers for Mom

Discover ways to give a mom a Mother’s Day to remember, with gift ideas that go above and beyond.

Batter up!

Get a behind the scenes look into the world of baseball at Sam Bat.

Get Your Hands Dirty

Find out where to appease your creative side on this Creative Cruiser road trip.

The Creative Cruiser

I’m a Creative Cruiser. I wander with a desire to feed my curiosity, to follow my passions, and to grow from my discoveries.

Where Am I

Explore the sweet moments and ageless beauty of Perth, Ontario.

Hidden Gems

Seven charming museums in Ontario’s Highlands.

Where Am I?

Discover breathtaking beauty blasted from the Earth at Marmora Mine in Ontario’s Highlands.