Instead of snuggling down lower in their beds Saturday, a couple dozen folks headed down to Elachee Nature Science Center for an early morning adventure.
The occasion that drew the crowd to the center was the inaugural Chicopee Woods Trillium Trek, where teams navigated their way through a wooded course.
“The trek was designed to test participants mentally and physically. It’s about 12 to 13 miles long, depending on how far off course a team gets,” said Claire Perko, an Elachee volunteer.
“There are around five miles of biking, five miles of hiking and two miles of orienteering.”
“Orienteering” is competitive land navigation.
In addition to being a fundraiser, one of the goals of the trek was to inform the public about the many educational programs Elachee offers, Perko says.
Overall, the challenge took around four hours to complete, and participants welcomed the opportunity to test their skills.
“I’ve done a few road races, but this is the first adventure race that I’ve done before,” said Chris Moore, a Lawrenceville resident.
“But when I heard about it, I thought it would be a good opportunity to get out and experience nature.”
Dubbed an “eco-adventure” race, in addition to the physical racing, the trek also included several team challenges and a few environmental trivia questions.
Since this was the first race of its kind, Elachee held several training clinics to help interested participants learn the basics of navigation, and even beef up on their eco-trivia skills.
As trying as the trek’s course was, a number of family teams decided to participate.
“This is for a good cause, so we decided to give it a try,” said Jennifer Loggins of Gainesville.
Loggins’ team was rounded out by her son, Alece Zais, a Gainesville High School freshman, and her brother, Brian Mott, also of Gainesville.
As can be expected, team members knew from the onset what part of the race they were dreading the most.
“The uphills of course,” Mott joked.
“The downhills are my favorite.”