A cold February day wouldn’t typically be appealing to most people for a 7.5 km hike in Terrence Bay, NS, but to a bunch of Eco-tourism students from Nova Scotia Community College it was just another opportunity for an amazing adventure.

Around 20 of us carpooled to an Irving station just outside of Exhibition Park, which we used as a meeting spot to follow one another to Terrence Bay. As our four cars pulled out of the parking lot of the gas station, the sun was beaming through the windshield of the car, creating the illusion that it was a hot summer day. The anticipation in the car was almost unbearable. We all knew how much fun we were about to have together as a class and we couldn’t wait any longer.

We started off our hike practically in someone’s driveway beside an old rusted washer and dryer, an abandoned pick-up truck, and other unwanted household appliances. I started to question how rewarding our hike would be; the first few hundred metres of the hike didn’t appear to be anything special and we couldn’t even see the ocean. I’ll admit now I was too quick to judge and as we continued on my whole attitude changed.

The Ecotourism program at NSCC is a unique experience in my opinion. Students learn to look at tourism in a more sustainable way. This makes activities like hiking more enjoyable because you’re respecting nature while appreciating it at the same time. Outdoor guiding is among one of the classes required to graduate and it has been in that class that we really experienced the true beauty of Nova Scotia.

Our instructor Fred Stillman is an experienced guide and is practically an outdoors guru. Having a resource like Fred is an enormous benefit to the program, and besides he knows all the best places to visit in Nova Scotia.

The best part of the day was when we unfolded a 10×12 orange tarp beside a flowing-snow covered waterfall and spread it over the cold snow for a picnic. Together we enjoyed lunch that consisted of croissants, homemade sushi, bananas, veggies and dip and chocolate cake. And the best part about our program is that there are students from across the world, including the Bahamas and Japan, and we’re all together because we’re passionate about the same things, the environment and traveling.

As we hiked through the forest we came across certain obstacles that we had to climb up (191 feet was the highest point), climb down, or slide down to continue on. It was because of these obstacles that we bonded as a class. At one point we had to jump across a narrow part of a river and two people went over first to catch the rest of us. Some people jumped too short but most of us made it. There were a lot of other instances when we lent each other a helping hand and offered some encouragement to one another.

I encourage you all to scout out a beautiful area of the province and go exploring. Just remember to stay on the trail and pack it in, pack it out. As for my classmates, I can’t wait for our next adventure together.

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