A cool Saturday morning greeted the adventurous who participated in a scavenger hunt at the Cummins Nature Preserve in Mason County.
As part of the monthly activities held at the preserve, families and lovers of the outdoors can walk the many trails , given only a compass and a map marking a spot where a prize can be found. Preserve caretaker Grant Felice said the scavenger hunt is a way to test one’s skills in navigation.
“We love GPS, and it works great, but there’s times where you can’t get it, there just is,” Felice said. “You need four satellites to get a good GPS position, and there are places down in our hollows that you cannot get those satellites.”
Another reason for the event, Felice said, is to get people in the community outside and active. Getting people to be active is behind a lot of the events that are held at the preserve.
“We’re getting people out, and we’re really trying to get people to start changing their lifestyle a little bit, and get out here regularly — start coming out and walking,” he said.
Showing off the preserve, especially by having people walk the trails and incentivised by looking for prizes, surely comes as a bonus as well.
“Now, at this point, we’ve got about an hour and a half of trails out here to walk,” Felice said. “We’ve completed this entire Deer Scout trail all the way back to the campground, it goes all the way from the guard rail at the front of the preserve, and we’ve got it all the way to the back.”
Scott Stamm, along with his wife, Sarah and son, Jamison, were among the families which walked the trails for the scavenger hunt. Scott Stamm said one of the reasons for coming to the event was because his son is so enthusiastic about the outdoors.
“Jamison, our son, loves to do things outdoors and we’ve always tried to be involved with stuff that Grant does out here. We live close by, so we try to support that,” Scott Stamm said.
Jamison Stamm, 7, said his favorite thing about the outdoors is seeing all of the wildlife and that going to the scavenger hunt was worth it.
“I like seeing turtles and lizards and all that, it’s so fun,” he said.
The family said they completed their hunt in around 30 minutes, but that didn’t stop them from taking in the sights.
“We took some time to check out some squirrel nesting box, an old chimney we found, so it was more like a little adventure,” Sarah Stamm said.
Also on Saturday, the Tollesboro Fall Days invited folks to enjoy the nice weather and peruse the weekend-long flea market. Skeeter Shaw, organizer of the event, operated his concession booth and served barbecued foods to visitors. He intends for the event to become an annual gathering.
“We’re working on having four a year here,” he said, “and there’s going to be two in May, one in June, and one at the end of September every year.”
Shaw said the fees for those who open booths at the event all go towards supporting the town and its inhabitants.
“For the vendors that we get, all of the money goes to the Tollesboro Lions Club, which is a good deal,” Shaw said. “They furnish eyeglasses for the kids, and for the community it gives them something to do — there’s not much to do in Tollesboro.”
While starting small, Shaw says he expects the event to grow.