The Champlain Area Trails (CATS) Grand Challenge began on September 21. People can hike any or all three of the “challenge trail loops” and get a limited-edition commemorative patch. There is even a picture frame on each trail where people can memorialize their hike by posing and taking a fun or funny selfie of themselves and their hiking group.
“The Grand Challenge is a great way for people to get outside, hike a trail that fits their abilities, and celebrate this wonderful Champlain Valley where we get to live or visit,” said Chris Maron, CATS executive director. “Many people love the idea of completing hiking challenges, getting patches, and now with the picture frames, taking their picture along the trail.”
The Grand Challenge is a fundraiser for CATS to support its mission of making trails, saving land, connecting people with nature, and promoting economic vitality. CATS invites people to register with a $25 donation and complete one of three trail loops designed to meet each hiker’s trail comfort level; thus hikers can choose from a 1.5-mile “easy” trail, a 5.3-mile “moderate” route, and an 8.3-mile “difficult” hike. Hikers who complete the Challenge between September 21 and November 15 will get the iconic patch designed by Willsboro resident, Rob Powell.
The 2020 CATS Grand Challenge routes are the easy Wildway Passage Trail on Angier Hill Road in Westport, the moderate Viall’s Crossing to Woods & Swale Trail to local roads in Westport, and the moderately difficult Boquet Ridge Ramble in Essex. The trails take hikers through forests and fields during one of the most beautiful times of the year. They’ll be treated to spectacular views, especially for those who hike the new North Boquet Summit Trail that is part of the Ramble route.
Full details, including downloadable maps and directions, are available on the CATS website at champlainareatrails.com.