Vernon Outdoors Club helps hikers navigate back country

Hiking session at Vernon Library June 20

As the snow recedes, many head out into the hills.

There are hundreds of backcountry hiking trails, but finding the way can be a challenge for a beginner, especially if they end up on a poorly marked path that fades away from time to time.

The Vernon Outdoors Club (VOC) is hosting a free session on hiking GPS navigation for complete beginners, co-sponsored by the Okanagan Regional Library, June 20 from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at the Vernon Library.

When Ritchie Leslie, president of the VOC, first arrived in Vernon and wanted to go explore the backcountry, he discovered that true wilderness was not far from his home — a very different to experience to southern Ontario, he said.

He could not find any local courses on backcountry navigation and safety, so he went out and bought a hiking GPS. He soon discovered the limitations of a GPS, realizing that the GPS “out of the box” had a lack of accurate maps of trails, particularly in more remote areas.

“If your GPS is turned on at the trailhead and its batteries are charged it will record exactly where you go, so it is easy to find your way back out. But finding and following the trail is a whole other challenge. Many of the trails on are based on submissions by trail users and are not necessarily verified independently (on the ground)” he said. “And there are no consistent ways of signing trails across B.C.”

Leslie resorted to buying additional maps for his GPS, which are expensive. Then he discovered the VOC, where he met a number of knowledgeable hikers and has enjoyed a lot of backcountry hiking without the worry of getting lost. The bonus is that he has met a lot of great like-minded people.

“The VOC does more than coordinate and scout hikes, bike rides, rambles and snowshoeing outings for its members. It also serves the broader hiking community,” he said.

“We are hosting an information session for individuals who want to explore backcountry trails. It’s aimed at those who are considering buying a hiking GPS or have one but have no idea how to use it. That’s where I started.”

VOC activities include cycling, hiking, rambles, snowshoeing and social events. Annual membership to participate in all these activities is $25. For information and schedules, visit

Related: Club gears up for summer


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Sagmoen to stand trial, bail sought

Sagmoen, whose charges were split into three separate matters, has been in custody since Oct. 2017

JCI Vernon presents annual gift fair

Ninth annual Alternative Gift Fair set for Nov. 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Vernon’s Schubert Centre

Vernon Panthers, Fulton Maroons ring up wins

Interior Senior Varsity AA Football League action

Vernon voting results official

Victor Cumming and new-old council will get to work Monday, Nov. 5

Former Kamloops sheriff caught in sex-related sting pleads guilty to lesser charge

Kevin Johnston will be sentenced on Nov. 6 for his role in communicating online with a person posing as a 14-year-old girl.

‘She’s charging. Oh God’: Mama grizzly runs at B.C. man armed with shotgun

People online were quick to question – and defend – a man’s decision to shoot a grizzly bear charging him on a Bella Coola front yard

Canada announces $20M fund for women entrepreneurs

New federal program will provide up to $100,000 for female business owners to grow their operations

Vancouver Island man claims falling ice smashed his truck windshield

Man discovered volleyball-sized chunk ice on his truck Saturday, near Nanaimo, B.C.

B.C. veteran combats PTSD in the ring and on the farm

Cam Tetrault is a valuable contributor at Quesnel’s Two Rivers Boxing Club

B.C. vegan butcher to appear on Dragons’ Den

Victoria’s Very Good Butchers will star in Nov. 29 episode

BC SPCA runs for People’s Choice award for the best PSA

The winner with the most votes will be announced at the 2018 Annual Conference takes place on Nov. 9 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Shuswap offers one-stop wellness for seniors

Salmon Arm centre for seniors with chronic conditions offers collaborate approach to health

Fast ferries from B.C. spotted in Egypt

Controversial aluminum BC Ferries vessels ’big white elephants covered in dust,’ eyewitness says

Canadian troops, families take shelter in hotel after Florida hurricane

Most of the Canadians were evacuated from the military base before Hurricane Michael

Most Read