Fox family returns for epic hike

by EVAN MATTHEWS

To those saying it’s been too rainy or they haven’t been outside enough this summer — take a hike — with people who have hiked before.

The Yellowhead Outdoor Recreation Association (YORA) works with the Terry Fox Foundation annually to put on the Terry Fox Hike, as the mountain in his name sits just north of Valemount. This will be the second annual hike to the peak with Fox family members.

“We do it to honour Terry Fox,” says Patricia Thoni, YORA’s president, who has been organizing shorter hikes and walks in Valemount for many years.

Every participant has stories according to Thoni, noting a specific family from last year.

“The father had cancer. I’m not sure exactly what stage, or where he was at with it, but he was really, really determined to make it to that lookout,” she says. “It was quite a struggle for him.”

The hike has three checkpoints throughout, according to Thoni: There is the first lookout, then a sub-peak, and then the summit, which is near the Terry Fox monument.

The monument, according to Thoni, is actually on the mountain beside Mount Terry Fox, due to the land being more flat and accessible by helicopter.

To reach the summit of Mount Terry Fox takes 12 hours return for a reasonably fit hiker, according to Art Carson, a YORA member who did the hike last year, and has done it six times in total.

He says while it’s an enjoyable trek, there are definitely difficult portions to watch for.

From the beginning of the hike to the mountain’s summit, hikers experience roughly a 6,000 foot elevation gain, which is the equivalent of taking the CN Tower’s stairs up and down six times, plus walking an additional 18.2 km, according to Carson’s website, www.carsons.ca.

“About an hour before the summit… you have to scramble along the side of a bouldery hill,” says Carson. “If you haven’t done it before, you should do it with someone who has.”

Which makes YORA’s Sept. 4 hike a perfect chance for hikers of all abilities to try it out, says Thoni.

“Most people who went to the summit last year only want to go to the monument this year… There is a moderate (difficulty) group too,” says Thoni.

“Although I shouldn’t say only, it’s certainly still a huge undertaking,” she says, adding she has seen people walk backwards on the way down to relieve pressure from their knees and thighs.

The Terry Fox Foundation is expecting about 50 people, which includes everyone doing all three distances, Thoni says.

Anyone can register for the hike at www.terryfox.org.

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