|The Kissing Bridge Trailway has a number of access points. This is the parking and trail access at West Montrose.|
Having a day and a couple of nights child-free is a rare occasion for us. So when we found ourselves with a weekend to ourselves (thanks, Brownie Camp!!) we were positively giddy with the prospect of having some grown-up-only time.
Oh yes! A full day to hit a trail and do some serious geocaching at a pace we simply can’t accomplish when our 7 year-old joins us for an adventure.
We chose the Kissing Bridge Trailway as our power-caching destination. It is easily accessible, has a lot of caches and can be either biked or walked. Since our goal was to snag 36 traditional geocaches along the 13 km section of the trail from just outside of Guelph to Elmira, we chose to take our mountain bikes. This way, we knew we’d be able to cover the distance (both ways) in an afternoon.
The weather was typical for early November – grey and cool – but that didn’t dampen our spirits. We started the ride excited with the prospect of finding a whole bunch of geocaches. And then magic happened. As we hit our pace our brains and bodies relaxed, and we discovered a lot more than geocaches. In fact, we found a back door view to rural Ontario that lasted for kilometers through cedar rows, over a river, along the back of farmers fields and the yards of rural homes.
The leaves had already fallen from the trees, which gave us great sightings of the Chickadees and Blue Jays that seemed to be everywhere along the trail. Alex found a deer antler while searching for a cache. We befriended a couple of friendly farm dogs who clearly wanted to be geodogs – they helped us find two caches right around their home. We saw farmers working their fields and homeowners working in their yards.
We also heard gunshots more than once at a few different sections on the trail, reminding us that hunting season is in full swing. (I was happy that I was wearing a bright jacket!)
The coolest thing we experienced was having three Mennonite kids drive their cart and very fat pony through a field and right past us along the trail.
|New World, Old World. Alex checks the GPS as a trio of Mennonite Children emerge from the field behind him.|
We found the 36 geocaches and logged 27 kms on our bikes. When we got back to our starting point we were exhausted and hungry. We were cold as the ride home was facing the wind and it had started to rain about five kilometers from our parking spot. But we were full of satisfaction with reaching our goal and discovering a wonderful trail.
You should go…. Here’s what you need to know:
The Kissing Bridge Trailway is a 45 km former railway that travels through farmland, wetland, rural communities and over rivers. There are access points at or near the communities of Guelph, Ariss, West Montrose, Elmira, Wallenstein, Linwood and Millbank.
It’s a multi-use trail that allows walking, biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling in permitted sections. Motorized vehicles and horses aren’t supposed to use the trail, although (in addition to seeing the Mennonites) there was some pretty clear evidence that horses do use the trail on several of the sections.
There is no fee to use the trail, and parking is free.
You may want to tuck a few dollars into your pocket before you hit the trail. There are a couple of places where you can stop for a snack, including Ariss Take-Out. This little restaurant actually has signage and access directly from the trail. We didn’t eat there, but we were really wishing we had some money for a bite of something…. especially on the way back to the car!
Check out the trailway website here to learn a lot more about the trail and to find your best access point: Kissing Bridge Trailway
Geocaching on the trail:
This is a great trail for some easy geocaching. Nearly all of the hides are quick finds and the terrain is super easy to navigate. While most of the caches rate a 1.5 difficulty and 2 terrain, there are a few along the trail that present a bit more of a challenge. Out of the 36 we found, only three of the caches were pretty tricky and took about 20 minutes for us to discover. Find out about the first geocache from the Guelph access point here.