Local eight-year-old boy sets goal of hiking entire Bruce Trail

June 10, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Henry Little doesn’t come from a family of avid hikers, but the local eight-year-old is setting out on a goal to hike the entirety of the Bruce Trail.

Henry, who goes by Henry the Hiker on social media, began going on walks or as he calls them “forest adventures” with his mom, Carola Little, last September. With the Bruce Trail crossing behind their family home in Mulmur, the walks started out as a way of getting out of the house while homeschooling during the pandemic.

“We ended up going out with some other homeschooling families to do a little bit of hiking on a whim and before we knew it we ended up finishing the whole 67 kilometer Blue Mountain section of the Bruce Trail, all in 5-10 kilometer bits,” said Carola.

Now, Henry is looking to complete the entire Bruce Trail, which spans 900 kilometers end-to-end from the Niagara River to the tip of Tobermory.

“We thought if we can do the Blue Mountain section maybe we can do some of the others, it’s a lot of fun so we decided we wanted to keep going.”

Since starting their hiking journey last year, Henry and Carola have already completed 143 kilometers in the Dufferin Hi-land, Beaver Valley, and Caledon Hills sections of the Bruce Trail. Going out for hikes around three times a week, Carol said they hope to reach 250 by mid-July and 500 kilometers by the end of the year.

While the hikes started as a way to get out of the house, Carola adds that they’ve also been great teaching moments.

“He’s able to become more tenacious, he has to complete the section of trail in order to get back to the car, there are no shortcuts or easy way out,” said Carola. “While we’re out there he’s also learning the difference between edible and inedible plants, map reading and compass skills.”

For Henry, highlights of hiking have been collecting badges from each of the sections of the trail as well as seeing the different wildlife along the way. Henry said a porcupine climbing a tree was the coolest animal he’s seen so far.

Walking on the trails, Henry can be seen handing out packets of maple seeds to other hikers, and sporting one of his custom Henry the Hiker t-shirts. A favourite t-shirt of his is one that says “it’s worth it” on the back.

“Though the thought of accomplishing it all, much like a long hike, can become daunting and arduous, in the end it really does all seem worth it,” said Carola.

Henry’s hiking adventures are being documented on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube under the handle, Henry the Hiker.

Henry says he hopes that other kids are able to watch his adventures and want to go out hiking to see for themselves.

“If a mom of 40 something and a little eight-year-old with a lot of spunk and adventurous spirit can get out there, anyone can,” said Carola. “I really hope that the local community will take a moment and follow him on his social media – send a message of support and cheer him on – it makes all the difference when you’re out there and your feet hurt, the bugs are biting and the truck is still at least 3 hours away. We pull up those posts and read the messages and it gives Henry the spirit to keep on trekking.”

The duo are hoping to reach the goal of hiking the entire Bruce Trail by next year.

“Little legs can only walk so far, our limit appears to be 10 km, but anything is possible if you just put one foot in front of the other,” said Carola.

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