BY KELLY BROOKS
It was just a year ago Don Crowell conducted his first group hike.
Crowell, also known as the face of Scotian Hiker, provides “off the beaten track” experiences for hikers - right in Nova Scotia’s own backyard.
Crowell was living a computer-driven life: technical support, hardware and software installations, networking and repairs; when he decided to chase his dreams and make a living at photography.
He created the Scotian Hiker website as a way to market his photography. When people saw the sites he had photographed, they asked if he gave guided hikes. He thought it could be a good way to promote his website and photography. Focus soon shifted from spreading awareness about his business to promoting hiking and other outdoor activities in Nova Scotia, as group hikes began and became more popular.
“I love promoting my home province and helping people from away take full advantage of their brief time here,” says Crowell. “I'm happy showing Nova Scotians places they've never seen or heard tell of in their own province, too.”
Crowell’s hikes have brought out a variety of participants, from young children to the occasional senior.
“I try to accommodate as many people as I can,” says Crowell. “Whoever wants to show up for the hike is welcome to show up.”
Though many have taken him up on his invitations since, Crowell says he doesn’t think people are going outside as much as they should.
“The people that don’t get outside and see these things for themselves don’t know what they’re missing,” says Crowell. “It’s healthy, it’s free, it’s a lot of fun and it can be a challenge.”
Not only that, exploring Nova Scotia is a visually beautiful experience - what Crowell wants people to see. He enjoys sharing his love of the area with others.
“When you come out onto the vista or a beautiful waterfall, it’s just the looks on people’s faces...,” says Crowell. “It’s nice to be a part of that.”
Although he is not yet sure of a timeframe, becoming a professional guide is a distinct possibility. In the meantime, Crowell will continue hiking to new destinations, expanding his knowledge of the province.
“I’ll keep meeting new people and showing them some great places, some great scenery, getting some fresh air and exercise and sunshine,” says Crowell. “2010 is going to be a great hiking year.”