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Pathfinders blazing a trail for Manitoba hikers

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With help from a break in the frigid weather conditions, a total of 34 members of the Prairie Pathfinders Walking Club suited up recently for a seven-kilometre hike through the Bois-des-Esprits and the Royalwood community.


In single file through the narrow, snow-covered path, walkers found their way through the forest and residential areas.


Several beautiful views of the frozen Seine River and a pair of cross-country skiers out with their canine friend were highlights of the hike.


Walkers stopped to greet Woody in his snowy "winter uniform". Woody is the three-metre tall wood spirit carving guarding the forest.


The group also caught a glimpse of the local wildlife. "At the far end of our walk, we crossed the Seine again on the John Bruce bridge. Just as we entered onto the bridge, a couple of deer dashed across the road at the far end of the bridge; the only deer I saw," says Garnet Ward, hike photographer.


After crossing the bridge and possibly pacing a circular pattern, the group retraced their route back to the Shorehill bridge along the Seine River.


The hike received a 4.5 star rating from members, including one who travelled from Sanford, Man., to participate.  Walkers say they enjoy the chance to get out and explore hidden gems like the Bois-des-Esprits.


With more than 400 members, Prairie Pathfinders’ dream is to not only make Manitobans enthusiastic hikers but also to make Manitoba a tourist destination for hiking.


Regular Prairie Pathfinders club walks are in different parts of the city. From October to March the group walks on Monday mornings and occasionally on weekends.


Walks may be cancelled due to high windchill factors or other extreme weather conditions. Any changes to the walks are posted online the morning of the event.


Prairie Pathfinders invites prospective members to be their guest for a hike or two before deciding to join. A yearly membership costs $25 and runs one year from date of payment. For more details, visit www.prairiepathfinders.mb.ca or check out the Prairie Pathfinders event calendar on their www.meetup.com page.

Tanya Misseghers is a community correspondent for Royalwood.

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