IMPORTANT: For hikes in winter, participants MUST have some form of traction device on their footwear (commonly referred to as "icers"). Event leaders have the right to refuse people from participating in an event if they are not properly equipped.
Waiver and Emergency Contact Form:
The Waiver and Emergency Contact Form must be filled out for all Durham Outdoors Club events. The form can be downloaded here.
Participant Information Form:
For all overnight events, the Participant Information Form must be filled out and submitted to the event leader prior to the event. This form is in addition to the standard Waiver and Emergency Contacts Form that must be filled out and signed for all events. The event leader will carry a hardcopy of each participant's form with them for the duration of the event. All forms will be returned upon the completion of the event. If a participant wishes to, they may put their form in a sealed envelop which would only be opened in the event of an emergency involving the participant. However, participants are still required to inform the event leader of any medical conditions that may impact their ability to safely participate in the event. The form can be downloaded here.
Risk Management Plan:
The Club's Risk Management Plan is available here:
The Club's Events Policy is available here:
Incident Reporting Form:
If there is an incident during a Durham Outdoors Club event, the following form must be completed by the event leader as soon as possible:
Our hikes are rated based on ORTA guidelines so you can judge if they are suitable for your capabilities:
- Slow - 3 km/hr (family friendly)
- Moderate - 4 km/hr
- Fast - 5 km/hr
- Very Fast - 6+ km/hr
Hiking poles are recommended especially in hilly areas or where there has been a recent thaw and conditions have become frozen again. Pack a lunch and hot drink if the hike is for the day. If you are carpooling with someone, make sure you take a plastic shopping bag with you for your muddy boots and offer to help with the cost of gas.
Ensure that you are sufficiently prepared for all events with: appropriate foot wear, hat, mitts, extra socks, a change of dry clothes, backpack, water and a snack. Come prepared for all conditions including rain and mud. Wear comfortable boots, dress in layers; so you can remove or add layers to be comfortable climbing hills or standing exposed to the wind.
Neighbourhood walks go for approximately 1.5 hours. Walks are usually rated easy or moderate and the terrain is generally flat - usually city streets, bicycle trails, or nearby conservation areas. Wear comfortable shoes or hiking boots, dress for the weather and in layers, bring water and a snack.
Most of our canoe trips tend to be flat water trips; that means we mainly paddle lakes and creeks with little current. Moving water has a different rating system. This does not mean to say that the trips are any less adventurous. Flat water trips are rated by length, pace of trip, remoteness in wilderness areas and also length, number and ruggedness of portages. It is important to remember that cold water, strong winds and changing weather conditions can create dangerous situations for any paddler, no matter how experienced or skilled they may be. To come out on any overnight trip some camping and wilderness skills are required. Ability to perform basic paddling strokes and some knowledge of canoe rescue techniques are required from Novice up. If in doubt check with the Trip Leader.
We use four categories to rate our paddling trips:
- Easy - Usually day tripping on small sheltered lakes or slow moving creeks with very little or no portaging. Base camp trips depending on area and trip. However some exploratory Base Camp trips can be strenuous. Check with the Trip Leader. Length approximately 10 kms.
- Novice - Easy paddling on small to medium lakes, 1 - 3 short easy portages in an easy wilderness area. Overnight trips. Distance approximately 15+ kms.
- Intermediate - More strenuous paddling on larger lakes, longer length of trip. Paddler must be able to paddle in moderate windy conditions and choppy water. Distance approximately 20 kms.
- Advanced - Large lakes and flowing water. Paddler must have extensive experience in canoe and ability to pack up camp, reset up and paddle day after day, trips can be several days long to over a week. Strenuous portages, no set path on many and very rugged, with distances up to and more than 3 kms long. Paddling distance per day can be 25+ kms.
Remember that you must have a good working bike with a bell, helmet, good footwear, and no loose clothing. Our Club policy is that a helmet must be worn and your bike must be in good working condition and equipped with a bell. Under the Highway Traffic Act your bicycle falls under the same legislation as a motor vehicle and must be equipped with a bell. Also carry a spare tube, water, and a small snack for energy.
Rides are easy to moderate, usually about 30 to 40 kms. Most routes are on paved trails/roads. You will enjoy beautiful scenery.
Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing:
For cross-country ski and snowshoeing day trips, it is essential to dress in layers to deal with starting out 'cold' and then getting very warm after exertion. A light shell wind-breaker, long sleeve top of quick-drying material and a fleece vest works well. Avoid cotton. Bring a change of clothes, including socks. Wear sunglasses and consider sun-screen. Pack a light lunch and a hot drink (and take water with you on the trail). Extra gloves are a good idea. It is recommended to carry a small first-aid kit, hand warmers, and a cell-phone in your waist pack.
Club members are encouraged to get together for games nights, bowling, the theatre, musical performances, educational opportunities, outdoor shows and a range of social and cultural events throughout the year. These often incorporate an element of the outdoors such as camping, walks or hikes. Members are generally responsible to arrange their own transportation and admission fees.