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TBTC E-Notes - March, 2020
We have a full issue for you this month. We start with an article about ticks and lyme disease and how you can protect yourself while you continue to enjoy the trails. Thank you, Greg Vincent, for submitting this article. Then we have club news about changes to our bus hikes, about the hike leader training course, and about nominations for Volunteer Awards. We're giving you a heads up about a number of big Club events coming up - you can see spring is around the corner! - our H.I.P. program, our AGM, and our E2E.

All that and so much more, as Rick Mercer used to say.  Happy March, everyone!
Lyme Disease, What’s a Hiker To Do?
By Greg Vincent

If you go out in the woods today you may be in for a big surprise”, goes the children’s song but the surprise may be a black legged tick with Lyme disease waiting for you! This tick is plentiful in the U.S. and is now in Canada, waiting for you along a trail and its blood feast. These ticks are carried to an area near you by many animals including migrating song birds. (pictured: a tick found by the writer's wife, Janet, following a hike.)

1) Long sleeved shirt and pants, light coloured clothing is better to spot the ticks. Pants tucked into your socks.
2) Insect repellent, DEET, 25% works well on clothing and skin. Shower after the hike and again check for ticks, some tiny. 
3) Insect repellent clothing with Permethrin. Availability in Canada is spotty.

I was able to purchase two Ex Offico shirts at EMS in Buffalo and have used them and they appear to be effective. I ordered a pair of permethrin treated long, light coloured pants from L.L.Bean but had to have them sent to a U.S. address. This type of treated clothing has been used by the U.S. military for years. In years past I led hikes along wooded trails in Central Florida and questioned the men working in the forest – they used Permethrin treated clothing. Hopefully this clothing will be available in Canada.

Ticks do not appear to bite immediately, rather they appear to crawl to a spot they like which is often difficult for you to see i.e. middle of your back, behind your knee… Keep an eye on yourself and have other hikers check your back.

If not embedded, whisk away with your hand. If embedded use fine pointed tweezers, get very close to the skin and gently pull straight out. You want all parts, mouth included. Pull carefully so as not to have the tick’s contents sent into your blood stream. Check the CanLyme – Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation website for other tick removal methods.

(Greg's wife Janet found a tick on her arm when she was showering. The picture shows the remains of the tick after removal. It eventually came out on its own.)

Symptoms are many, unwell, flu like, bulls eye…. Bottom line: seek medical care from a physician. Untreated Lyme Disease is very serious with life long consequences.

Notes from our Hiking Director

Changes to our Hiking Program
We are making changes to our bus hike program, effective Saturday April 4, 2020. In most cases, you will not be affected at all, except that because the low-registration threshold for cancelling buses is changing, you may find some of your hikes will be cancelled.

The reason behind the changes is that when we analyzed our 2019 program, we saw that a large number of our bus hikes were losing money.  On top of that, the company that provides us with buses and drivers, First Student, increased their rates in 2020. We know how much our bus hike program means to so many of our members, so our priority was to find ways to preserve the program while containing the costs.

In the spirit of transparency, here are the changes that will come into effect for approved bus hikes on Saturday, April 4, 2020. 
  1. Currently a minimum of 17 registered hikers is required for a bus hike to go ahead: this includes the hike leader and co-leader who do not pay the bus fare. This will change to a minimum of 22 registered hikers. (The leader and co-leader will continue to be exempt from paying the bus fare.)
  2. The current minimum number required for long distance bus hikes to go ahead is 32 registered hikers: this includes the hike leader and co-leader who do not pay the bus fare. This will change to a minimum of 37 registered hikers. (The leader and co-leader will continue to be exempt from paying the bus fare.)
  3. If the minimum number of registered hikers on the bus hike is not met 72 hours before the scheduled departure time, the hike leader will consult with the Hiking Director . The Hiking Director will then direct the hike leader to cancel the hike and inform the registered hikers.
Kudos are in order…
Our Club’s Hike Leaders are exceptional. Without their dedication there would be no organized hiking program, no laughter on the trail, no camaraderie of the day. We certainly owe them our thanks.

Our Board also wants to recognize the leadership of the Hike Leader Training Committee that has prepared an extensive program to train and mentor aspiring hike leaders. The Committee members are Wayne Crockett, Jacquie Van Dyke, Magdalena Vander Kooy, Peter Leeney, Brenda Menezes and Charles Whitlock. (See below for more information about our hike leader training course on April 4 and 5.)

David Royle, Hiking Director

Hike Leader Training Course April 4-5, 2020

Registration is now open for the hike leader training course for 2020. For full details on the course requirements click here.

To register please go directly to the Eventbrite page Hike Leader Training.

If you have any questions please contact the Chair of the Hike Leader Training Committee, Peter Leeney
The TBTC invites nominations for two volunteer awards

The Nina Carlisle Award is given to a longstanding volunteer (at least five years) who is actively involved in the activities of the Toronto Bruce Trail Club. Such volunteering could be in the areas of trail maintenance, hike leading, social event planning, communications, administrative tasks, fund raising and Board service. The award is not restricted to any one volunteer specialty. Todd Bardes Volunteer Award. In 2016 the Board decided to establish an award to recognize significant volunteer contributions over a shorter time span (the last one or two years).

For full details - and a list of previous award winners -  please go to the Nominations document on the Club's News and Event page. (Pictured here - Peter Leeney with Deb Brander, 2017 winner of the Todd Bardes award)

Save the date - H.I.P. 2020 and TBTC AGM

TBTC will once again be offering its very popular Hiker Initiation Program (H.I.P.) for new hikers. It consists of 3 parts - a presentation and information evening, an introduction to hiking gear and clothing at both Toronto  Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) stores, and a day of custom designed hikes.

Full details and registration information will come in an E-notes bulletin later in March. Meanwhile, you'll want to block these dates on your calendar: April 27, April 28 for the presentation and the MEC events, and Saturday, May 2 for the hikes.

Also be sure to mark April 19 on your calendar. That's the date of our Club's Annual General Meeting. Full details of this event and the (subsidized!) bus hikes to the location will be coming soon as well.
Toronto Section End to End

The Toronto End to End challenge will take place in May this year, on May 30 and 31. (Note that this is a change from previous years.)

Registration isn't open yet, but will be available on or soon after April 15, through Eventbrite. You’ll want to take note of these dates if you plan to join, as this event usually fills up quickly. If you want to know more about Club End to Ends, click here or email

We do need people to help with parking, checkpoints and signing in hikers each morning. Please email Jacquie Van Dyke ( if you can volunteer.

Look for more details in next month’s E-notes newsletter.
Coming up:

Here we highlight selected events and programs in the next months. Be sure to check the website for the full roster of programs.
  • March 14 - our last Coach ski and snowshoe trek
  • April 4, 5 - Hike leader training
  • April 19 - TBTC AGM
  • April 27, 28 and May 2 - Hike Initiation Program (H.I.P.) 2020
  • May 30, 31 - Toronto Section End to End

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Toronto Bruce Trail Club E-Notes Editors, Publishers: Magdalena Vanderkooy and Wayne Crockett

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Toronto Bruce Trail Conservancy · PO Box 597 · Toronto, On M6P4E7 · Canada