The Hunt is on!

Nationwide treasure hunt encourages local exploration

Those looking to spend some time outdoors this fall have a brand-new option.

The Great Trail Treasure Hunt is a collaborative project between the Trans Canada Trail and Royal Canadian Geographical Society aimed at getting Canadians out of the house and exploring the outdoors.

Jason Muscant, the director of development and partnerships with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, describes the Hunt as “a nationally scoped engagement program to get Canadians out on the trail, searching for treasures and joining together in a real Canadian experience.”

The team behind the Hunt has hidden 100 treasure boxes across The Great Trail, which was formerly a series of land and water trails across Canada. Last year, the trails were unified, which Muscant says “meant that from the far east coast to the far west coast and all the way up north as well, you could jump on the path and be on the same path as someone from a completely opposite side of the country.”

“In doing this, what they were looking to do was to create a vehicle for people to get outside and engage with their environment, engage with nature and engage with Canada,” Muscant says.

Nine boxes are somewhere in Manitoba. Muscant says hiding spots were chosen by a legion of volunteers, each responsible for maintaining a particular section of
the trail.

Each box has five clues related to it, which are released periodically on The Great Trail Treasure Hunt website. Muscant encourages those who worry they might not have enough time to review the clues that have been released for their most local treasure boxes, as each clue gets increasingly specific.

The final clue for each box is “a direct lat(itude) and longitude that people can put into their GPS and by virtue of that actually track down the box to within metres,” Muscant says. “The way you interact with the program really depends on how you want to interact with the program. I’d imagine someone with an hour’s time and the right clue could find a box fairly easily.”

However, the Hunt is far from the only activity that primarily involves thoroughly searching outdoor spaces for hidden secrets. Geocaching involves a similar search for hidden caches, though geocaches do not contain treasure and have more of a community aspect to them.

Nathan Kachur, the president of the board of directors for the Manitoba Geocaching Association, says, “If you like the Hunt, you would probably enjoy geocaching to a certain point.”

While the Hunt may draw a slightly different crowd, “it’s definitely a good reason to get people outdoors and exploring their environment,” Kachur says.

“Activities like this really get people out and exploring their local communities and take people to places that they would normally not go. It allows you to get a different view on the world as a whole,” Kachur says. “Being able to find something that the average person walks by and doesn’t know is there?
There’s something pretty cool about that.”

Those interested in participating inThe Great Trail Treasure Hunt can go to cangeotravel.ca/greattrailtreasurehunt/ to learn more about their local treasures.

Published in Volume 73, Number 2 of The Uniter (September 13, 2018)

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