The Cat Trail Quest has one month to go! This fundraising Quest is part scavenger hunt, part mystery. Get on your bike or take a hike on the Cat Trail to find clues. The Quest has three challenge levels, so it can be fun for the whole family! Passports provided after registration give guidance on how to start the Quest.
The Cat Trail Quest started on June 1 and the first person to complete the quest was an adult who did it all in the first day! Quest clues are within three km of a parking area (most are a little closer – if you are hiking, take an extra snack for the clue between Harrowsmith and Sydenham!) to make it easy for the hikers.
Natasha Klink and Keval Shah live in Ottawa and are working on the Quest with Natasha’s parents who live in Kingston. They are escape room enthusiasts who enjoy the outdoors. The four of them have hiked to two of the clue locations together, then they split up to find other clues. With their combined knowledge, they will be able to put their heads together to solve the Quest.
Alex, a pre-reader, provided the driving force in his family to go out and complete the challenges by bike. His favourite part was searching for the hidden clues on the trail and loved it when he found them before his parents! His parents found the Quest fun as well because they explored parts of the trail that they have not been to before. They look forward to doing questing again next year!
Emile and Yvette are working completing the Quest together. Their mother, Justine Lord, commented “We've really enjoyed the Quest so far, especially the opportunities to see different parts of the trail. We have a beautiful section of the trail behind our house in Harrowsmith but have never ventured further east then Sydenham or west from Yarker. The best part of this experience has been seeing the interesting features of the trail: the stream under the bridge in Smiths Falls, the river in Yarker, Chaffey's Locks, and lots of wildlife. Our girls are really loving the different animal clues, along with their colours and favourite foods.”
Jim takes his grand kids James, Evelyn, and Sophie (ages 8-12) out on the Quest. He feels it is a good way to take a break from their electronics and out in the fresh air. He feels it is a good grandparent project and really liked the quality of the clues.
Another Quest participant walked sections of the trail she hadn't hiked in several years. The joy of the sights and sounds of the outdoors put her in "a happy place", but the excitement of finding the clues was the "cherry on the top" of her experience.
Margit lives in Kingston and is biking the Quest with her friend Paula. As recreational bike riders, they did a bit of planning, and were able to find two clues is one outing. They are looking forward to riding the wildest part of the trail north of Opinicon Road next, and finding the clue near Chaffey’s Locks.
There is still time to participate in the Cat Trail Quest. Register at https://cataraquiconservation.ca/pages/cat-trail-quest to download a passport and information. Follow the guidance in the passport, look for clues, complete the activities, then go back to the website, click on the ‘complete Quest’ button, and answer the question correctly to complete the Quest. Les passeports sont aussi disponibles en français for both francophones and francophiles.
Prizes can be picked up at on Cataraqui Trail Day, Saturday, September 25. This day will feature a Ghost Train Bike Ride from Strathcona to Harrowsmith, where participants will get a Ticket to Ride listing the stations along the Trail. At the stations, participants can learn about the history of the trail when it carried trains, and maybe even meet a conductor. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to volunteer to help out on September 25.
Funds raised from this event will go to trail maintenance. The Friends of the Cataraqui Trail have developed a survey https://cataraquitrail.ca where users (both Questers and non-Questers) can indicate where they feel maintenance is most needed. Information on joining Friends of the Cataraqui are available on that website too! The next on-line meeting the Friends is August 26 at 7:00pm. Contact email@example.com for details if you would like to attend.
Cataraqui Conservation and the Friends of the Cataraqui Trail ask participants to not spoil the quest for others by sharing photos, clues, or your passport on social media. You are welcome to take photos with the ‘I found it!’ sign near the clues.
Also, please be respectful to other Cataraqui Trail users by following all Public Health COVID-19 guidelines such as physical distancing, limiting group size, wearing a face covering when physical distancing is not possible, staying home if you or a family member is not well, and practicing safe hygiene. Please leave no trace - pack in and pack out and dogs must be on a leash at all times.