Experiences of a Rookie Hike Leader: Leading a Group on the Bruce Trail Peninsula E2E Hike

Peninsula E2E Hike leader Saabir Sohrab obtained his Ontario Hike Leader and First Aid certifications in preparation for the 2022 E2E hike series.
Submitted by Saabir Sohrab, Peninsula Bruce Trail Club

Since moving to Tobermory, my wife and I have enjoyed hiking the Bruce Trail on the Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula. Hiking the peninsula end to end, or E2E, from Wiarton to Tobermory was on my wish list. When Covid restrictions began to ease in the winter of 2022, I reached out to Barb Reuber, the Peninsula Bruce Trail Club’s Hike Director at the time, about a Peninsula E2E. At the time, the availability of hike leaders to lead a Peninsula E2E was uncertain. I offered my help in any form to organize a Peninsula E2E. While I had prior experience leading friends and family on hikes, leading a larger group required additional skills in managing group dynamics and ensuring everyone’s safety. To prepare, I obtained my Ontario Hike Leader and First Aid certifications. The Peninsula E2E 2022 was close to becoming a reality! 

Tom Hall, PBTC’s Director of Trail Maintenance, played a key role in jumpstarting our Peninsula E2E 2022 journey. He designed the entire 11-day schedule and helped us keep track of participants for each hike. Barb led the initial two hikes, and I took on the responsibility of leading subsequent hikes, including makeup hikes for those who missed the regular hike days due to various reasons. Our journey began at Bluewater Park in Wiarton, spanning over 160km until we reached the Cairn in Tobermory. Along the way, we created memories with lots of fun and memorable moments. 

Our hiking group consisted of amazing individuals who shared their passions and knowledge. Some hikers educated us about birds, plants, and even wild mushrooms! They graciously posed for numerous pictures without complaint, and their faces radiated excitement whenever we reached a scenic lookout. 

A group of Peninsula E2E hikers pose at one of the many scenic lookouts on the Peninsula.

As someone who primarily works indoors in the field of information technology, leading hikes provided a much-needed escape for me – as Barb remarked “you’ve found your calling in being a hike leader!” Leading a group of hikers on the Bruce Trail Peninsula E2E 2022 hike was an enriching experience for me. I learned so much about nature from these individuals and carved new friendships. I’ve also learned to be careful about how I share my snacks with others. When hiking, instead of other sugary treats I always carry dates for snacks. On a hike that my wife missed, during snack break I offered dates to our Peninsula E2E 2022 hikers who happened to be women. My offer of “would you like to have a date” was met with amusing looks. To this day my wife teases me that I go around offering women ‘dates’ in her absence! 

During the Peninsula E2E 2022, I had the pleasure of meeting Randy, a fellow hike leader with PBTC, who co-led some of the hikes on this E2E. Since then, we have become good friends and collaborated on other hikes, including the Blue Series of hikes for the side trails on the peninsula. This year, we are once again collaborating on the Peninsula E2E in 18 hikes.

Leading a group on the Bruce Trail Peninsula E2E 2022 hike as a rookie hike leader was a transformative adventure. It allowed me to immerse myself in nature, learn from fellow hikers, and create lasting memories. The Peninsula E2E 2022 journey not only enriched my understanding of the trail but also connected me with remarkable individuals who shared their expertise and passion. Through this experience, I have found a new calling and formed valuable friendships. 

I encourage anyone with an interest in hiking and leadership to seize the opportunity and embark on this incredibly rewarding journey. Let the trail guide you to new heights and forge lifelong connections along the way. The Peninsula Bruce Trail Club offers many different hikes – from the more ambitious E2E, to leisurely rambles, to interpretive hikes focused on learning about the flora and fauna on the peninsula. Information is available on the Club’s website and facebook page. Happy hiking!