Hike for Pakistan relief draws small crowd

The turn-out wasn’t what they expected, but they didn’t need a crowd to have a good time.

The Rouge Valley Foundation hosted a hike and bike ride Sept. 11 for victims of the Pakistan flooding. The floods began in July and have affected over 20 million people, according to the Canadian Red Cross.

Rouge Valley Foundation president Murray Johnston hoped to meet or surpass the $2,000 in donations the foundation collected during their fundraiser for Haiti held in February. As the noon start time for the bike ride approached, however, Johnston and bike ride leader Diana Forster began to worry that no one was coming.

“This cause just hasn’t gained any traction,” Forster said.

Shortly after noon with no participants in sight, Forster headed home disappointed.

Johnston remained outside the Rouge Valley Conservation Centre, optimistic that the hike would draw some participants. He greeted each one as they arrived and at 1 p.m. a group of five headed out with hike leaders John Foster and Robert Marshall.

One experienced hiker forewent a hike with one of the groups she belongs to so as to take part in the fundraiser. Another hiker, Alfred Wong, came to the event on a whim.

“We just decided to go hiking last night and we searched on the Internet and this was near our house,” Wong said.

Foster and Marshall took the group on Rouge Park’s Cedar Trail which was designed to attract butterflies.

“We try not to lecture on our hikes, we like to share,” said Foster as he taught hikers the difference between early and late golden rod and pointed out photo opportunities for those toting their cameras.

Foster was also sure to check that everyone was enjoying themselves throughout the hike, while Marshall scouted ahead for the next point of interest.

All proceeds from the event went to Canadian Red Cross for the Pakistan Flood Appeal 2010.