SUDBURY -- A day full of nature, fresh air and exploring is what the 2020 Sudbury Camino is encouraging hikers of all experience levels to take on this month.

"This is Rainbow Routes capstone event of the year," said Lynn Bulloch, who is the board president. "It's our biggest free community event and the reason that we do this is to get people to learn more about all of the trails in Sudbury."

Now in its fourth year for the Camino, things look a bit different for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's different than previous years in that we won't have a mass start, it doesn't happen on one day," said Bulloch. "It's for the entire month of August this time, it's a self guided hike, [and] there are maps available."

With the new way of operating, officials will be able to ensure that all hikers can maintain proper physical distancing. However, it has also lead to a larger participation this year with 250 people already registered compared to 200 in 2019.

"We're seeing people very excited," said Ashely Campeau, the event coordinator. "We're seeing a lot of participation. We've had 100 trail activities so far with 20 people, brave souls, who have completed the full 30kms."

Scott Florence is one of the participants who tackled the full 30kms in one day, a hike he said took about 8 hours with stops.

"It was a great time. Tracey and I had a lovely time chatting on the trails," said Florence. "I mean, a lot of the trails are so absolutely beautiful, especially at the beginning, you're just walking through forest and along Long Lake and it's just such a beautiful site."

However, he admits that although it was pretty, the journey didn't come without some obstacles.

"My legs were quite jelly-like at the end. Near the end of a little giggles we were like 'do you think we could still sprint? Do you think we could?' So we tried to do a small sprint and it was ridiculous. It was like watching two 98-year-old people pretending to run really," he said. "We had nothing left to give at that point. It was hilarious."

Sudbury Camino 2020 is a free community event and participants have the opportunity to win three different prize packs from Kivi Park. Along the route hikers are encouraged to take pictures and document their adventure on social media in order to be entered into the draw to win either one family pass, one adult pass or fiev family day passes to Kivi Park.

"Everyone and anyone is welcome," said Campeau. "We've seen young families hike this trail in its entirety, but we've also seen someone in their 90s who has completed segments of it. So really, anyone who is interested in getting active outdoors is welcome to participate." 

Bulloch adds, "The Rainbow Routes trails range in difficulty. But this hike, really your biggest challenge, if you're doing 30 kilometers is just the distance. You can hike it at your own pace. Some people run it, they're hoofing it, they're going really quickly. Some people are doing it as a very slow intersected walk and they're using it as a time to forest bathe. Other people do it as something to do with their family members or close friends." 

There are two different options that people can sign up for. The first challenge is for hikers to complete the entire 30 kilometer trail that starts at the Kinsmen Sports Complex and ends at Moonlight beach. The second option is to commit to different trail goals which include exploring a minimum of four local trails, eight local trails or nine or more local trails during the month of August. 

Erin and Mitch Chouinard were at the Kinsmen Sports Complex early Friday morning ready to take on what they expected to be at least a five to six hour adventure.

"It's our first time participating. We've done a lot of parts of the trail and we thought it would be a fantastic challenge to get out and enjoy the city from one end to the other," said Erin. "Previous years we've had obligations and prior commitments and it worked out just fabulously that we were able to participant this year." 

But from those who have completed this challenge in the past, a good pair of hiking shoes and a lot of water is a necessity before heading out on the trail. 

Registration is still open. You can click here for the details. Hikers have until August 31st the complete the challenge.