All in the Family

ATVers in Support of Ontario Snowmobiling

Being the President of an ATV club in Ontario, sometimes to truly enjoy an ATV rally, you need to go outside of your club’s trail system. So, I was excited when out of the blue one winter, one of my friends told me about a snowmobile club up north putting on a geocache ATV rally in the Spring. I was intrigued that a snowmobile club would put on an ATV ride as a fundraiser for their club, and I was excited that it was in my old stomping grounds near Stonecliffe, in Ontario's Highlands. I wanted to see what this whole geocaching thing was all about.

entering gps coordinates

On the first Saturday of May for the last four years, the Missing Link Snowmobile Club has been putting on a geocache ATV ride to raise money for their Trail Improvement Fund. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Todd Dowser, Treasurer of the Missing Link Snowmobile Club and one of the organizers of this fantastic event. In talking with Todd, I was able to get to the bottom of the idea of a snowmobile club putting on an ATV event as a fundraiser. Located in the sparsely populated Stonecliffe area (boasting 220 permanent residents and 140 members of their club), the Missing Link Snowmobile Club must rely on fundraising to keep their club and trails going. They already host two snowmobile rallies a year and, after investing $18,000 in a brusher, they were clearing the trails one fall in preparation for the winter snowmobile grooming season and realized that ATVers were also reaping the benefits of their brusher investment. Thus, the Annual Missing Link Snowmobile Club GeoCache ATV Poker Run was born, and they have been running with it ever since.
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lunch booth
morning mist pavillion and comfort station

I joined the ride for the first time in 2012 for their third annual event. 2012 brought 70 participants out for the event, and 2013 boated 140 participants. The event begins and ends at the family-owned and operated Morning Mist Resort, in Stonecliffe. Open year-round, the resort offers cottage and camper rentals, and on-site camping. The Morning Mist Resort Pavilion is the perfect launching spot for this event. Each participant is provided with a map and GPS coordinates where they can find seven geocaches containing poker chips. For each poker chip you return with at the end of the day, you draw a playing card to make your best poker hand… so the more you find, the better your chances! Halfway through the GPS’d wonderland, you will come upon Missing Link Snowmobile Club volunteers serving up bottled water and grilled hot dogs with a donation jar sitting on the counter.
geo cache x
geo cache map

Each year the geocaches are moved to a completely different section of trail, so even year to year, it's a completely different experience! These trails have a bit of everything: forest, logging roads, snowmobile trails, pipelines, powerlines, mud, hills and hidden lakes.

geocache ontop of sandhill
At the end of the day, you return to the comfort of the
Morning Mist Resort and its on-site comfort station to wash up for a potluck dinner put on by the Missing Link Snowmobile Club members. Dinner is accompanied with prizes, an auction, and stories of the day’s adventures. At a modest cost to participate, breathtaking scenery, fantastic trails, buffet-style dinner and prizes to boot, you will be hard pressed to find a more economical and enjoyable ATV adventure than the Missing Link Snowmobile Club’s Annual GeoCache Poker Run. I cannot wait until 2014’s event!

Update: Click here for the 2016 event going down May 7!
About Dave Baker

An avid outdoors enthusiast, Dave is active in hunting, fishing, trapping and ATVing. He has been involved with the Nation Valley ATV Club since its inception, and is a past president of the Ontario Federations of ATV Clubs.

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