This past summer a group of Christian Reformed young adults from Alberta, ages 18-30, headed out to conquer the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island, one of the world’s top hiking trails.
They came from Christian Reformed churches all over Alberta to participate, carrying everything they needed in their 50-pound packs for the full seven-day hike.
Ken Vis, pastor of education and church development for Covenant CRC in Edmonton, Alberta, headed the group.
CRC young adults who hiked the West Coast Trail
“I hiked this trip this two years ago with my sons, and I always thought that this would be a great trip for young adults who have interests in hiking—a way to connect different young adults from different churches with similar interests,” explained Vis.
The hike is 75 kilometers (47 miles), and the trail is open only from May 1 to Sept. 30 each year. It is extremely rugged and requires a high level of fitness, knowledge, and skill to complete, although in the past 10 to 15 years it has been upgraded to facilitate safe hiking for those with less experience.
Leema Berkenbosch, a member of Fellowship CRC in Edmonton, said, “The West Coast Trail is known worldwide, and to have it in my backyard seemed like an opportunity I would never pass up. I learned patience comes in many forms but that I was capable of doing it all regardless of how hard it felt some days.”
Jodie Van Meetelen, from Covenant CRC, echoed those sentiments. “It was a really great group and I’m so happy I got to meet such awesome people. I’ve always been outdoorsy and enjoyed hiking and so many people have talked about how great the West Coast Trail is . . . so I wanted to see for myself. And I completely agree—it was amazing!”
There are already plans for future hikes with young adults from all over Alberta. “I am reminded again of how young adults are great people. I was amazed how appreciative they are that I organized this, they are willing to work together, help each other out, and look out for each other,” said Vis.