Lunatics to hike around Gabriola in the moonlight

Jane Reddington

Sounder Staff

Tuesday, July 12 2016

With a start time of 10pm, the Lunatics Round-Island Hike this Saturday, July 16 will have enough light from the full moon to making walking around the island something pretty special to do on Gabriola. 

“You don’t have to be crazy to walk around the island at night,” says Steve Earle who is the organizer of this second annual event. “The walk will be close to 30 km or more like 28 km from the Village down South Road to Silva Bay. We’ll walk on the road. After midnight last year there was no traffic so we walked down the middle of the road.”

Earle says he likes walking and says he got the idea while walking around the island. With all the traffic, he came up with the idea of walking at night. “It’s about walking somewhere you’d normally drive. When you’re in a car, things whizz by but at night it’s an entirely different perspective on the place where you live.”

Last year nine walkers showed up, says Earle. The youngest was about 40 and the oldest was 83 years old. “We left at 10:00 p.m. and we were back to the Village between 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. Earle suggests people bring water and reflective gear. The only difference this year is that last year it was held on a week night and this year it’s on a Saturday night. So Earle says people have no excuse not to come.

Earle himself has done several long walks before. He walked from Victoria to Nanaimo, which took two days, and from Courtenay to Nanaimo, but those walks weren’t at night. “Thirty kilometres is not enough for sore feet, but from Victoria to Nanaimo I got really sore feet. The night walk will give people a different appreciation for the island. You might have conversations with someone you wouldn’t normally talk to.”

Earle is a geologist and teaches at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops by distance education. Before that he taught at Vancouver Island University for 25 years. He says the Gabriola walk is flat and relatively easy and there are lots of ways to make it shorter. If people live at the south end they might come to the Village and just walk home. 

“You do need to have a bit of walking under your belt, but if you’re only going part of the way, anyone could do that. It’s fun and absolutely beautiful in the moonlight when you’re walking past people’s fields or forests. It’s tranquil and gorgeous. Everyone is invited and if you want to know more contact Earle at steven.earle@viu.ca. 

Earle is also a GERTIE driver and a member of the organizing team for GERTIE. He is on the Ferry Advisory Committee, Village Visioning, and the Transportation Advisory Commission. He and his family moved to Gabriola in 2009. Earle says he has a car but doesn’t like to drive it. He prefers to walk.