All Rambler fair season hikes and winter snowshoe / ski outings are rated in ascending difficulty on a scale from 1 to 3. The higher the number, the greater the physical effort and fitness level needed. From a cardiac load perspective, even Level 1 hikes require more effort and therefore conditioning than rural, flatland outings such as the Mer Bleu and other Greenbelt trails.
Level 1: Relaxed hikes of 8 to 12 km on well maintained trails in sometimes hilly terrain with occasionally uneven footing; no bushwhacking; plenty of rest breaks.
Level 2: Moderate hikes of 8 to 16 km over frequently hilly, sometimes steep terrain with extended climbs, accompanied by poor footing such as on beaver dams. Expect passage over varying combinations of well maintained and faint trails, with occasional off trail (30 percent or less) through both open and thickly vegetated terrain. Good strength, reasonable cardio fitness, agility and balance required; adequate rest breaks.
Level 3: Demanding hikes of 8 to 20 km, mostly over arduous and frequently steep terrain, more than 30 percent off trail, populated with physical obstacles and navigation challenges in uncomfortable conditions. Best for those who possess superior conditioning and relish a big effort. Level 3 hikes often evolve into exploratory adventures, extending predicted effort and duration, and therefore demand that participants pack extra water, food and clothing; less frequent rest breaks. Participants should have level 2 experience.
Unless otherwise specified, hikes are conducted at the following pace:
- On-trail: about 4 kph
- Off-trail: about 2 kph
If a hike is designated with a level and a plus sign (e.g. 2+) the hike will be conducted at a faster pace than normal:
- On-trail: 5 kph or more
- Off-trail: 3 kph or more
If a hike is designated with a level and a minus sign (e.g. 3-) the hike will be conducted at a slower pace than normal:
- On-trail: about 3 kph
- Off-trail: 1 to 2 kph
The Club limits hike group sizes, to the greatest degree possible, to 25 participants on well maintained trails, and 15 participants on faint trails or hikes involving bushwhacking. When sign-ups exceed these limits, the Club will attempt to lay on one or more additional hikes to respect size limits.