Westport, N.Y. - Champlain Area Trails (CATS) and friends invite all to participate in a full day celebration of community-connecting activities at the inaugural Grand Hike on Saturday, May 3, 2014.

The Grand Hike is an "Inn to Inn" walk in the spirit of self-guided inn to inn walks made popular in Europe. Hikers will depart at 9 a.m. from the Westport Hotel in Westport, N.Y., traversing along a mix of Champlain Area Trails and scenic back roads to the finish at the Essex Inn in Essex, N.Y.

The complete journey totals 14 miles, but participants will be able to select from several shorter distances. The hike is divided into 5 segments, with 4 "oases" along the trail from which hikers can start or finish. Each oasis will provide port-o-potties, water, snacks, maps and complimentary shuttles to and from the Westport Hotel, Essex Inn and the Essex Ferry dock.

The day will begin with breakfast available at the Westport Hotel at a special hiker's price. Box lunches will also be available for purchase and delivery to the oasis of choice. Heroic hikers will be celebrated at the Essex Inn block party from 5-8 p.m., with live music by the Wadhams Waddlers, restorative yoga and chair massages by Lake Champlain Yoga and Wellness, photo booth provided by Overtime Photography, face painting, food, drinks and more! 

"This walk is an exact reflection of the vision that the CATS founders intended," said Chris Maron, CATS executive director. "We're looking forward to this springtime ramble that will link communities, promote economic vitality, and connect people with nature and each other."

Participants who complete the entire Grand Hike will be rewarded with a free cocktail courtesy of the Essex Inn, and all participants will receive a reusable eco-friendly bag and 4×6 inch keepsake photo taken at the end of the hike.

Registration is $5 per person or $10 per family, and pre-registration is appreciated by completing the online form at champlainareatrails.com. The block party is free and open to everyone. More information is available by calling 518.962.2287 or visiting champlainareatrails.com.


IMAGE: Map of The Grand Hike from Westport to Essex on Champlain Area Trails

Chris Maron
Champlain Area Trails