Field Trips are offered almost every weekend by Nature Vancouver and are the most popular activity for members. Non-members are welcome to join in these trips as a way to review the activities of the Society but are asked to limit their participation to three events.
Important Information for Participants
Members planning to join these trips should contact the leader in advance to confirm carpool arrangements, especially when ferry travel is planned. Please do not call after 9 p.m.
Preparation and Safety Tips for Participants
On the trip, keep together and stay on the trails. Keep behind or within voice distance of the leader, and ahead of the tail person if there is one. To avoid false alarms, please tell the leader or designated assistant if you're leaving the group and sign yourself off on the release form.
Essential items for all trips
Clothing that is sufficient for the weather expected. Consider the weather in the trip area. It’s often very different from where you live - it may be hot and sunny at home but cold and snowy in the mountains, even in midsummer.
For "A" rated trips, wear comfortable walking shoes; not sandals, flipflops, dress shoes.
For "B" rated trips, wear hiking shoes or light hiking boots with good tread
For "C" and "D" rated trips, broken-in full leather hiking boots with good tread and ankle support are necessary.
A spare pair of socks is always a good idea.
Hiking poles are recommended for trips other than A trips, especially for C and D trips.
Food and drink:
Bring more food and water than you think you'll need. Pack at least a snack or light lunch for trips under 4 hours, and a full lunch and snacks for longer trips. What you bring to eat is up to you, but the less messy the better. Fish like tuna, salmon and sardines are not recommended; the smell can attract bears and can be offputting to travelling companions.
For snacks, raw veggies like broccoli, cherry or roma tomatoes, carrots, and celery are good for energy and provide hydration. Fresh fruit is heavy but provides energy and hydration. Trail mix - raisins and other dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips - is easy to nibble on while walking and provides quick energy. Chips, cheesies etc make you more thirsty and are easily crushed, but lightly salted nuts are good for replenishing salt lost to sweating.
For short trips, bring at least one litre of liquid, more in summer and late spring. For half to full day trips, AT LEAST two litres of water, more on hot summer days. Water, iced tea, gatorade, crystal light or similar are good; hot chocolate, tea or soup in a thermos in winter. Soft drinks, energy drinks, alcohol are NOT recommended. Carry fluids in a resealable container, not cans or glass bottles. Hydration systems (Camelback etc) are a handy way to carry water; you can sip as you walk, rather than stowing it in your pack and then gulping half a litre at a time when you stop. But make sure you clean it out between trips - they can get pretty gungy. A water filter or purification system can be useful (and is essential on overnight hikes) for treating water found on the trail, but especially in late summer many trails are dry.
Make sure that you pack out EVERYTHING, including apple cores, orange peels etc.
Please have everything prepared the night before, and don't depend on being able to pick up water and food on ferries or at gas stations enroute. Exceptions: On US trips we often stop and pick up lunch after crossing the border, to avoid worrying about what kind of food the CBP has prohibited. And on the main Vancouver Island ferries you can usually get something at the snack bar or cafeteria (don't count on it on the Bowen or Gulf Island ferries).
In berry season, please use discretion when picking, especially in parks and protected areas. And watch for bears - you're trespassing in their berry patch.
Trip Difficulty Rating:
For risk management purposes Nature Vancouver uses a system of classifying field trips by rating their level of difficulty and adding an estimate of the time to be spent on the trail. The trip leader is responsible for deciding on the appropriate classification in conjunction with the Field Trip Coordinator. The difficulty rating system is as follows:
A: Easy path or road with minimal elevation change and minimal hazards.
B: Trail with possible rocks, roots or other hazards. Moderate gradient, occasional steep but short sections. Up to 100 m elevation change.
C: Moderately steep gradient. 100 m to 500 m elevation change.
D: Constant steep gradient. 500 m to 1,000 m elevation change.
E: Any of the above with some scrambling, use of hands or bushwhacking. Not commonly found on regular day hikes but sometimes experienced during Summer Camp field trips.
The estimated time spent during a field trip should not include driving time or time spent on ferries and should be estimated to the nearest hour. The expected duration is then added to the letter category to obtain a combined letter/figure rating. Example: A C6 hike will be a C hike, as described above, with an estimated time on the trail of 6 hours.