Tuesday Hikers of Algoma!
Tuesday, March 3, 2020, marked 1,000 hikes with the most fabulous women in Algoma! What a celebration it is! Every Tuesday since 1994, women gather to hike and snowshoe all year in Algoma for the love of it!
Glenda Harten was the catalyst to starting “The John Wesley Strutters” who got a group of women together for their first hike at Hiawatha in September 1994 with twelve hikers who enjoyed the outdoors and the friendships that developed along the trails. On hike 1,000, I sat and chatted with Marge Kelland who joined the group on the third hike and she stated she was the leader from then on.
Marge led the group from 1994 to 2013. Marge put it perfectly, “Algoma is so beautiful with endless places to explore.” Copious notes and pictures were taken and each hike numbered and documented up to hike 1,000. On March 3, 2020, we were honoured to have the original members come to celebrate 1,000 hikes! The motto written in one journal is “Dream as if you will live forever, Live as if you will die tomorrow.” Now, you can’t argue with that!
The hikes were remembered and documented by 100 hike milestones: Hike 100 was October 2, 1997 with 7 women who hiked Connor Road as it snowed and then had lunch at Arby’s; Hike 200 was June 6, 2000 around Avery’s Pit with the Apple Trees in Bloom; Hike 300 was April 22, 2003 four women hiked White Fish Island and then 12 more women gathered to celebrate 300 hikes at one of the lady’s homes; Hike 400 was November 15, 2005 at Hiawatha; Hike 500 was March 18, 2008 behind one of the lady’s homes; Hike 600 was June 22, 2010 in the pouring rain and no hike but a brown bag lunch at Bellevue Park; Hike 700 was Dec. 18, 2012 with thirteen women who hiked Crimson Ridge Loop; Hike 800 was May 26, 2015 from Camp Korah to Davignon Creek and the women were assaulted by blackflies and mosquitoes; Hike 900 was November 7, 2017 with 24 hikers who walked the Crystal and inner loop trails at Hiawatha and Hike 1000 was March 3, 2020 with 43 hikers at Hiawatha and a big celebration at the Hiawatha Highlands Conservation Authority building.
Over time, the group began to expand and eventually became known as the “Tuesday Hikers” with the same goal of women enjoying the outdoors and socializing. The email list has over 70 women in the group today and on average 15 to 30 or so will show up on Tuesday ready for the next adventure! In the winter, we snowshoe and some women then go out for lunch after to the Sault Curling Club Restaurant and Bar. Once the snow thaws and you can hike the trails, we brown bag our lunches and eat out on the trails, especially if we do an all-day trip. I retired from teaching in 2018 and have been hiking with the Tuesday Hikers since my retirement. Illa Aho has been leading the group since before I joined.
In 2020, there are two start times. 10:00 am are for the women who want a longer hike with Ila and 10:30 am is for the women who want a shorter hike now known as “Wendy’s Walkers”. All women from the group are welcome to attend either time.
Every December is the annual Christmas hike celebration. All members meet at the Sugar Shack Conservation Authority Sugar Shack, 1100 Fifth Line East with their food prepared for the potluck. We go out for a snowshoe and then come back and enjoy the wonderful food and friendship!
Many of the trails hiked are along the Voyageur Trails and other trails in Algoma. Some of the trails the groups have hiked are Crimson Ridge, Maki/Aubin Roads, St. Kateri, Pancake Bay Lookout, Fort Creek, Whitefish Island, Sand River, Crystal Falls, and Red Rock just to name a few.
The Tuesday Hikers/Walkers are very giving. Erika Dieter spearheads a wonderful cause. Tuesday Hikers have been voluntarily donating $2.00 a week for more than 20 years. The Tuesday Hikers have sponsored one child to attend Camp MacDougall for one week in the summer.
This camp is operated by the United Church of Canada. It is located on Lake Huron, a few km west of Thessalon at 12679 Hwy 17 West. At one time, there were only 12 or 14 women. Over the last few years, the group has increased significantly. Now we sometimes have 30 participants or even more. The Tuesday Walkers are aiming to give two children the opportunity to enjoy life at camp with healthy outdoor activities. Erika stated: “Let’s be generous! Who knows they might be future “Tuesday Walkers” and inspire others”. Way to go Erika and the Tuesday Walkers!
I am a very proud member of this very dynamic, caring, adventurous group of women who support one another and “Dream as if you will live forever, Live as if you will die tomorrow.”
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