Backpack Essentials: Deep in the wilderness, it’s nice to have a best friend

Backpack Essentials (Image by NCC)

Backpack Essentials (Image by NCC)

May 24, 2019 | by Hai Lin Wang

This blog post is part of the Backpack Essentials series, a series that explores the items NCC staff carry with them when going outside. It is inspired by the quarterly Nature Conservancy of Canada Magazine and our Nature Destinations program. To learn more about NCC’s properties across Canada, please visit naturedestinations.ca.

As the communications assistant at the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), Craig Doucette’s weeks are filled with blog writing, meetings and media monitoring. But on weekends, he likes to de-stress by exploring natural areas near his home in Ajax, Ontario. His personal goal is to hike in these areas at least once a week. Glen Major Forest in the Oak Ridges Moraine is one of his favourite locations, as it holds all the experiences of a trekking adventure just next door in Uxbridge, Ontario.

Craig's dog, Chelsey (Photo by Craig Doucette/NCC staff)

Craig's dog, Chelsey (Photo by Craig Doucette/NCC staff)

To explore the wide variety of ecosystems in this forest, it is important to be prepared and equip yourself with the right tools. Craig likes to pack light — a water bottle, pocketknife and hiking boots — and he’s all set. Chelsey, however, is his most important companion on these trips.

“I always had dogs when I was growing up,” says Craig. “When they’re energetic, like Chelsey, they force you to get out of the house.”

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Craig likes to de-stress by exploring natural areas near his home in Ajax, ON. (Photo courtesy of Craig Doucette/NCC staff)

Craig likes to de-stress by exploring natural areas near his home in Ajax, ON. (Photo courtesy of Craig Doucette/NCC staff)

Chelsey often plays in the mud during their hikes, dragging Craig along as well. While most people would want to keep their clothes clean, Craig has no qualms about getting his boots and clothes dirty.

“It’s part of the fun. Playing with Chelsey in the wilderness allows me to let the pressures of the week melt away.”

For people who are not hiking experts, but still want to experience these trails, Craig recommends bringing a friend along. Having Chelsey around not only encourages him to go outside, but also gives him an excuse to relax and have fun — something we all need in our busy lives. A good pair of hiking boots can take you anywhere, according to Craig.

Try taking a hike with your pet to recharge your mind, and don’t worry about getting muddy because it’s bound to happen.

Hai Lin Wang

About the Author

Hai Lin Wang is the 2019 national communications intern at NCC.

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