Hiking Guidelines

You’re never lost; you’re just exploring. However, exploring grows old very quickly if you are cold, hungry and exhausted
~ Cam Honan

What we do and how we do it ..

Valley Outdoor Club is run by volunteers and organizes hikes for fit people who are approximately 50 years and older. The Club offers both weekend (usually Saturday's) and weekday hikes (Wednesday's).

All hikers hike at their own risk. Upon becoming members hikers sign a waiver accepting that risk. All hikers are expected to wear appropriate footwear and clothing, carry sufficient water and food as well as be prepared for changes in weather. Hikers are expected to contribute to the club by offering to lead/coordinate hikers or walks once they are familiar and comfortable. Our club is as vibrant as our volunteers who contribute!

Although carpooling is recommended and facilitated as much as possible this is a personal choice between participants.

Guests on a Hike

If you are not sure that our hiking club is for you, we welcome you to join us for 1-2 hikers as a guest.

USA Hikes

We do hike fairly frequently in the USA especially on the Wednesday mid-week hikes. In particular Chuckanut/Bellingham area and Mt Baker for day trips. Mt Baker is a very popular location in early fall. For these hikes you are expected to have current medical insurance and proper ID for crossing the border. Any medication required for a medical condition should be included in your supplies.

Basic Preparation

Make sure you are fit and experienced enough for the trip you are interested in attending.

Participants are encouraged to ask the leader/coordinator about the level of difficulty (terrain and gradient) and pace (slow, moderate or fast) of their hike or walk. Coordinators will ask new or unfamiliar participants about their hiking experience, fitness level, and recently completed hikes/walks to ensure that the outing is an appropriate match for the individual.

Be honest with yourself about your abilities. If you overestimate your abilities, or underestimate the difficulty of the trip, you put your safety and the safety of the group at risk. Make sure you have the appropriate equipment, that your equipment is in good working order, and that you know how to use it.

If you are a New Member

If you are a new member or a visitor/guest, please contact the trip leader in advance to get his or her consent to attend. (Contact information is available both on our website & in our bulletin).

Please do not call the coordinator before 9:00 am, after 9:00 pm or on the morning of the activity. Think ahead.

Honestly assess your abilities and decide if you will be able to do the trip. Remember that it is your responsibility to fit into the group and you are expected to hike with the pace of the group.

Discuss any questions you have with the trip coordinator.

  1. Select a hike suitable for your fitness level. Please also read the guidelines below before you attend the hike.
  2. Sign the waiver at the trailhead when meeting with the trip coordinator.

At the Meeting Place or Trail Head

  1. Arrive at the meeting place at least 10 minutes before the stated departure time to give yourself enough time to sign up, get ready and meet the other members of the group.
  2. Carpooling: You are welcome to ask the leader who you could carpool with (always happy to help!) from your area but note that it is not the trip leader's responsibility to arrange for your transportation to or from the meeting place.
  3. If you do carpool with someone, remember to reimburse them for the carpooling costs at the end the day. We suggest $5.00 per person per hour of driving time on paved roads, and up to $8.00 per hour on rough logging roads or in poor conditions, at the discretion of the driver.
  4. As a courtesy to the driver, please put muddy hiking boots in a clean plastic bag and change into spare shoes after the hike.

On the Trip

Club trips are group trips. The coordinator will do his or her best to make the trip an enjoyable experience, but as a participant you have a responsibility to:

  1. Show up on time
  2. Be properly equipped
  3. Be considerate of others and their abilities
  4. Keep the pace of the group. If the pace is too fast or if you are having difficulty, tell the coordinator or the end-person
  5. Never leave the group to set out on your own without telling the leader. The leader will then assess if it's safe to leave the group alone or not (IE bear country)

Hiking Etiquette

We do our best to keep our forests and trails unspoiled for everyone to enjoy. Carry home all litter (including biodegradable material such as orange and banana peels) and leave plants and rocks where they are (except on trail clearing parties).

Dogs are not permitted on our trips. Neither is smoking. Please do not wear colognes or perfumes on trips. Some members are extremely sensitive to these chemicals plus scents may attract bears & other wildlife!

Safety

The Valley Outdoor Association has an excellent safety record. We are cautious when faced with changing weather conditions and unstable or icy snow. We are happy to share our knowledge & experience when supporting new hikers.

Trips are organized to be as safe as possible. Participants are expected to join suitably clothed, with proper boots and equipment, and be self sufficient with adequate food and drink. Participants are expected to choose trips that suit but do not exceed their capabilities.

Risks and Hazards

Outdoor activities can involve hazards and risk of injury. Persons who participate in Valley Outdoor activities do so at their own risk. In the event of accident or injury, Valley Outdoor, its members or Executive, cannot be held liable as per the Waiver signed by each trip participant.

Each hiker is responsible for his/her own health and safety.

The 10 Essentials suggested by North Shore Search & Rescue

Even the best weather can change rapidly, and even the wildest trail can be lost. It pays to take a little extra...

What to Bring - North Shore Rescue

Hikers Checklist Year Round

There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing
~ Ranulph Fiennes

Always be prepared and self-sufficient. Plan to have what you need if the weather turns bad.

Essential
Optional
 
Clothes
  • Suitable Boots
  • Wool socks (recommended)
  • Water & Wind Resistant
  • Jacket Pants/Shorts (not cotton!)
    (not blue jeans - worst possible thing when wet)

 

  • Extra warm shirt/sweater
  • Gloves and Socks (recommended in winter)
 
Extra Clothes
  • Rain Gear (IE Rain pants, rain hat, etc.)

 

  • Sun Hat
 
Food & Drink
  • Water and/or Sports Drinks
  • Lunch
  • Extra Food/snacks

 

  • Thermos
 
Equipment
  • Headlamp or Flashlight (if long hike)
  • Whistle, Knife
  • Lighter/Matches
  • Rain jacket
  • First Aid Kit, Moleskin
  • Sunglasses (anti-glare, 100% UV block)
  • Sunscreen, Lip Balm

 

  • Repellent
  • Antihistamine IE Wasp Stings (if required)
  • Large Orange Plastic Bag
  • Duct tape
  • Toilet paper
  • Mini crampons (winter)