Do I have to live in the lower mainland to participate?
Absolutely not! We understand that we have a big territory (all of BC and the Yukon) but we wanted to pick somewhere that would be able to host people from a variety of areas. We picked Manning Park as a middle location between Vancouver and Kelowna in hopes that people from the Okanagan would be interested in participating! We will also be providing a shuttle for those hikers coming over from Vancouver Island; in that way you can leave your car at home and not worry about the ferry expense!
Are there any physical restrictions?
Hikers should be physically able to endure a long day of walking. We ask that each hiker use their own discretion and consult with their family physician before committing to taking on the challenge. We reserve the right to stop any hiker at any point during the hike if we feel that they are struggling physically.
Do I have to train for the hike?
We do not require this, but we highly encourage you to train. You do not need to be an athlete to participate in this hike, in fact we encourage people of all fitness levels to participate. You will be given a suggested 20-week guide to help you build up your endurance. If you’re a complete beginner, you can prepare yourself with the whole 20-weeks. If you feel a bit more experienced, you can start using the training guide at week 5 or 6, wherever you think your comfort level is. If you are new to hiking we would recommend you train, as this will be an endurance event. We have a Hike Coach who is able to support you with your physical training questions. There will also be various training events from May to August for you to get out and train with other Trailblazers. Training events will be optional, but are a great way for you to get active, to meet other hikers, and to even share fundraising ideas!
Are there any age restrictions to participating in the Make-A-Wish Trailblaze Challenge?
Hikers as young as 14 are allowed to participate with parental approval, however, hikers who are 14-17 years old must have a parent/guardian who is also participating with them. Hikers of all ages are required to raise the minimum $2000.
Is this an individual or team event?
Either! We encourage anyone interested to participate. If you are on your own, don't worry. You will make friends along the way! If you want to register as a team of family members, friends, or coworkers, you are welcome to do that, too. And a bonus high-five for fun team names!
How many people do we need to make a team?
Two or more individuals that sign up under a team name and have raised at least $2,000 per person can be known as a “team”. There is no limit to the amount of team members you have.
If I am part of a team, do we hike at the same time?
You are free to hike with whomever you choose. If you are a part of a team you will start the hike in the same hike-group as them, however, you do not have to stay with the same group throughout.
What is the trail we will be hiking?
The trail system will be in the lower valley, including trails like the Similkameen River, Little Muddy, North & South Gibson Pass, Strawberry Flats, Three Falls, and Lightning Lake Chain Trails. There is little elevation gain, it is more so just lengthy. The Trailblaze Challenge will be a day to enjoy the land, taking you past turquoise lakes, along rivers, to a waterfall, through meadows and lush green forests. Photos at end of this section.
How will I know where to go on the trail?
There will be signage at all trail intersections and along the route. There will also be volunteer safety hikers on the trail to guide you and assist you if needed. You will be passing through checkpoints where our support crew will be waiting for you with snacks, drinks, and high fives!
How long is the hike? And do I have to do all of it?
The short answers are: approximately 40km and no you do not.
The hike will have many options to be able to skip sections. We will be monitoring everyone at the checkpoints and if we don’t feel that you will be able to finish in a reasonable time we can skip you ahead so that you are still able to cross the finish line. This is not a race or a competition, this is about the experience. If at any point you decide that you cannot do the entire hike, please let any of our support team know. You have the choice to skip yourself ahead if you would like. We want you to push yourself, but to be comfortable with your pace.
This sounds like it will be too hard, should I still do it?
Even if you are not a hiker we definitely want you to still consider participating! If you feel that you are not in good enough shape we also don’t want you to be discouraged. We have chosen this trail system to be at a beginner level and to be as inclusive as possible! The Trailblaze Challenge is about more than just the hike itself, it will be a memorable weekend of connection and celebrating the human spirit. We would love you to be a part of that!
This sounds like it will be too easy, should I still do it?
We have designed this hike to be able to include all skill levels and those who wouldn’t identify as an athlete. If you think that this trail is too easy for you we would still love for you to consider participating and being a part of the Trailblaze Challenge community. You could be a leader and motivation to others. Again, the Trailblaze Challenge is about more than just the hike itself, it will be a memorable weekend of connection and celebrating the human spirit. We would love you to be a part of that!
Where will we be staying?
Your weekend accommodations at CAMP TRAILBLAZE will be the accommodations at Manning Park Resort and are a mixture of cabins, chalets and lodge rooms. The cabins/chalets fit between 5-12 people in each and have multiple sleeping options ranging from private bedrooms to shared bedrooms with dorm style bunkbeds. They also have bathrooms and a kitchen. By default, we will assign you to your own bed in a cabin with other participants. If you want to be in the same room/cabin as a friend or a group, you will be able to let us know that information at the time of registration. The weekend rooming list will be processed on a needs assessment and first-come first-served basis. (If you’re curious to see the accommodations, you can find more info on the Manning Park Resort website.)
Do I have to arrive on the Friday?
Yes. Please plan to arrive at Manning Park on Friday, September 13th. You can check in and receive your participant package anytime starting at 4pm. If you are coming from the Vancouver area or Vancouver Island we will have an optional coach line bus leaving in the afternoon for those of you who are unable to drive yourselves. Once at CAMP TRAILBLAZE, there will be dinner and a presentation in the evening followed by an early bedtime to get you ready for your big hike on Saturday!
What happens if it’s raining on hike day?
Then we will all get wet! The hike is rain or shine and everything will take place as scheduled. Be prepared for whatever the elements throw at you. The historical weather for Manning Park over the past 10 years saw an average temperate of 25.5° with only 1 day of rain.
Can my family come and cheer me on?
Of course! There will be a few great locations for your friends and family to be able to come show their support and encourage you along the way. And who doesn’t love a finish line hug from a loved one?!
Where does the money go?
The money you raise will go towards wish granting for our local wish children throughout BC & Yukon.
How long do I have to raise the funds?
The final day that donations will be accepted is October 14th. You have until July 14th to fully commit to the program and the idea of raising $2000. Until that date you are under no financial obligation other than the $100 registration fee. After that date you are committed to raising the full $2000.
What if we raise money and decide we no longer want to hike?
All monies raised are NON-REFUNDABLE. Any funds that have come in will be considered a general donation.
Will donations get a tax receipt?
All donations will automatically get a tax receipt. Donations of more than $20 received via mail will also be issued tax receipts as long as full contact information and an address are provided.
How will I track the money I raise?
When registration begins in Janurary you will be given a personalized fundraising page. You can use this link to send out to friends and family to be able to donate to you. Tax receipts will be e-mailed automatically.
Can I raise money offline?
Yes, simply bring any cash or cheques made payable to Make-A-Wish, to our office for processing. Remember to bring full names and addresses for tax receipting purposes.
If I raise more than $4,000 can more than one person participate?
Each participating hiker must be registered by July 14th. The minimum fundraising amount per person is $2,000. If you are raising money as a team, you must still reach the minimum fundraising requirement set individually. For example: a team of 4 people must raise $8,000, a team of 5 people must raise $10,000, a team of 8 people must raise $16,000, and so on.
How will I reach my goals?
Make-A-Wish will support hikers each step along the way by providing each participant with a personalized fundraising website, as well as fundraising materials, tips, and advice.
We are applying the principles of Leave No Trace Canada to help minimize the impacts of our hike. To learn more about how you can have a positive impact when enjoying the outdoors, please visit http://www.leavenotrace.ca