Make Every Outing a Safe and Enjoyable Experience

The information provided here is intended for all participants in the Wednesday bus outings for either hiking or winter activities. Our club’s aim is to make every outing a safe and an enjoyable experience. Members are encouraged to take responsibility for their personal safety and to come to the outings prepared.

There is no substitute for being prepared ahead of an outing. The Bus Coordinators compile and supply basic information for the trail options offered, including the trail routes, trail conditions and the weather and circulate this information to registrants during the bus journey. However, members are encouraged to do their own research by consulting the appropriate trail guide books and other pertinent sources of information.

Always sign up for a hiking, ski or snowshoe trail that you are confident that you can complete during the allotted time and join a group whose abilities are comparable with your own. If not, you risk becoming separated from the group or wanting to turn back early. If new to hiking, bear in mind that Club members who come out frequently have a relatively high level of fitness and stamina. If you are having a low energy day, sign up for a less ambitious trail or join a slower paced group.

The following link provides an aid to assist you in deciding which hiking group best suits your level of ability Group Activity Guidelines Pace Distance Elevation

If you are unsure of a trail or which group to join, ask the Bus Coordinator who will be able to assist you.

Make sure we know who you are by attaching your Club name tag to your pack so it is readily visible. Always carry your Medical Information  Card which includes  your Alberta Health Care Number, the name of your Doctor, an emergency contact and other relevant medical information.

Members and guests are encouraged to carry a map similar to that included in the Bus Book, showing the proposed trails and destinations for the outing. Many carry a small compass, a hand-held GPS device, or a pace counter with them to enable orientation in wilderness settings.

Group leaders are given beacon locators and two-way radios for use during the hike or snow season outing. These devices allow the leader to keep in contact with other groups and the bus operator, as wells as rescue assistance in the event of an emergency.

Bear spray, with the safety catch on, must be placed in the dedicated bear spray boxes located in the cargo hold during all summer bus outings.

Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Obtain and read a copy of the Alberta Parks leaflet “Bear Safety” available at any Parks Information Centre and at many outdoor specialist shops.

The best protection from bears is to stay in a tight group of no less than 4 hikers, making sufficient noise to alert any bears in the vicinity of your presence. Look out for “bear signs” such as tracks, fresh bear scat, scoopings and diggings for roots.

Each participant should bring suitable equipment and clothing for the forecast conditions, together with essential emergency and personal items. Although participants are required to stay in groups of four or more, an accident, storm or loss of bearings may cause groups to become separated. By carrying emergency supplies and gear, members are equipped to help themselves and their trail mates should the need arise.

The following is a recommended list of basic equipment and clothing:

  • Water (or other drinks): 1 litre (with more for hot weather or a longer day)
  • Lunch
  • Pack: approximately 25-30 litres with wide hip belt; external cover or liner recommended (e.g. a strong plastic bag)
  • Hat: wide brim
  • Boots: comfortable with good ankle support
  • Socks: adequate to fit your boots snugly
  • Hiking pole(s)
  • Whistle
  • Clothing: comfortable (cotton not usually recommended)
  • Pants: quick-drying
  • Rain gear
  • Warm Clothing: toque, gloves, fleece
  • First-Aid Kit: personal medications / blister treatments / alcohol wipes / tweezers / scissors/ various band-aids / dressings / triangular bandage / tensor bandage / safety pins / notebook with pencil
  • Emergency kit: duct tape / nylon cord / small folding knife / butane lighter / candle / high intensity flashlight / shelter such as poncho, space blanket, or tarp
  • Bear spray
  • Small compass
  • Map of the area (e.g. Gem Trek) or a scan of the relevant section of the map that includes the trail
  • Trail map such as the ones available at Park Information Centres
  • GPS, if you own one
  • Cash and/or credit card
  • Sun glasses, sun cream, lip salve
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet paper (in plastic bag to keep dry)

Extra items for winter

Check through the list below to get some ideas on how to make your outing warmer and safer:

  • Consider a bigger pack, eg. 40 L
  • Long underwear/warm ‘base layer’
  • Warmer socks & boots combination
  • Ice grippers for your boots
  • Gaiters for snow and sometimes mud or water
  • Heat packets for hands and feet
  • Neck warmer (dickey, neck tube, or scarf)
  • Warm headwear (eg. toque)
  • Seat pad (eg. ensolite)
  • Mitts
  • Warm coat for rest stops or emergency – compact & light (eg. down parka)
  • Repair kit for skis or snowshoes (include duct tape)
  • Headlamp

If you are still unsure of what type of clothing or equipment to bring, ask advice from an experienced Club member or from a reputable specialized equipment supplier.

One of the guiding principles of our Club is respect for the environment. When a considerable number of members hike, ski or snowshoe in an area of sensitive vegetation or where there is potential for soil erosion, our primary objective is to avoid damage by following a code of environmental ethics. We also show consideration for other trail users by following the practices of accepted trail etiquette. When travelling on the bus, we respect the property of the bus owner.

To minimize our impact on the environment, and in the interests of safety, members are expected to observe the following trail etiquette:

  • Stay on the maintained, defined trail at all possible times.
  • Keep a safe distance behind the person in front of you.
  • Avoid making your own trail or short cuts and do not follow the person in front if he/she does so.
  • Avoid stepping/sitting on thin vegetation, soils and wildflowers when stopping or eating lunch.
  • Pick up and carry out any garbage you find on the trail (a spare zip lock bag is convenient and secure).
  • Observe wildlife from a safe, non-threatening distance.
  • Assist fellow hikers in difficulties by forming a smaller group of no less than four.

To promote safety for all trail users and help maintain the integrity of set ski tracks, members are expected to observe the following XC skiing and snowshoe etiquette guidelines:

  • Keep a safe distance behind the person in front of you.
  • Move aside from the tracks as quickly as possible if you fall on the trail.
  • Step clear of the tracks when stopped.
  • Avoid walking or snowshoeing on ski tracks.
  • Step aside when skiers wish to pass.
  • Avoid skate-skiing on classic ski tracks.
  • Keep to the right-hand pair of tracks where two sets of ski tracks exist.
  • Give way to descending skiers.
  • Yield to faster skiers on the trail wishing to pass you.