- Snack and water (Sailor’s Ration)
- Magnifying lenses (optional)
- Paintbrushes or Q-tips (optional)
- Water (small portion for straw spray painting)
- Adventure Journal
Start at the trail map sign at the start of the trail.
The Planet Earth has a secret message for its passengers. The challenge is that our 4.5-billion-year-old planet left the clues for us at 7 different times in history! To figure out the secret message, walk through this time-travel adventure.
Transporter Worms will take you back in time. Worms have the ability to travel through worm-holes in the spacetime continuum and they can take you along!
Before we go, we will need to give a gift along the way. Look at the ground and find something natural that is small and neat, no bigger than your thumbnail. Put it in your pocket for later.
Ready for a time-travel quest for Earth? Ok, here we go …
Jump up and spin in the air, you are spinning through space and time down a worm-hole…
Now you are back in time. But, where in the past are you?… You have gone back to 150 million years ago! Hear the roaring in the background? Maybe it’s a waterfall, or maybe it’s a… dinosaur?
Einstein’s theory of General Relativity predicts the presence of wormholes linking the past to the present. Some starry night, look up into the sky. You are really looking back into time billions of years! Your eyes are time-travelling! COOL! So, let’s use these wormholes to travel back in time!
Continue down the path 15 m until you come to an intersection. Go right 2 m and look up to your right.
Look up into the woods to the right of the path. Do you see the big dinosaur neck reaching for the leaves in the trees? This dino is a huge Seismosaurus. It only eats plants so it is safe to climb onto its neck and go for a ride!
The space worms were just here! They speed through time and are difficult to spot. They want to help you find the clues by giving you a hint at each time stop. Here is a note they left to help you with the first clue, they have filled in some letters to help you guess:
Oh no! Here comes a meat-eating Allosaurus. You’d better hide!
Use a different call at each stop through time as a signal to the others in your team when there is danger and when it is safe. Make sure your calls are appropriate to the time period so you don’t draw too much attention to yourself.
Back to the trail. This is a really dangerous place to be a small mammal. You had better get away now that you have the first clue. Plug your finger into the earth like a worm digging into the soil and say…
Jump up and spin in the air through space and time down a worm-hole! Where are you now?
Walk 15m to the next Y in the road and go right 60 m until you get to three rocks ahead of you and a bench to the left.
It is 200 thousand years ago, early humans are running about. We know from fossils that they looked like us, wore clothing, and made tools from stone. They also made cave art.
The Worms have another clue for you to discover:
Be a cave person and decorate your cave wall with art. Decorate the 3 rocks in front of you by dipping your finger, paintbrush or Q-tip in water and making a design. You can try making hand stencil prints, which were very popular back then.
We shouldn’t stay much longer here though, we don’t want to frighten the inhabitants when they get home. On to the next clue!
Crouch down and plug into the Earth again like a worm and say…
From crouching, straighten your legs slowly with your body hanging down and roll your back up to standing while slowly reaching for the sky like an un-furling plant reaching for the sun. We now squeeze ourselves out of the wormhole! Where are we?
From the bench, walk back the trail about 3 m to a tree on the uphill side of the trail.
This is Nova Scotia 500 years ago when the Mi’Kmaq were the only people living here. The land provided everything to the people; food, shelter, fun and adventure! Children explored with all of their senses every day and got really good at reading the Book of Nature all around them. Let’s read a page from the Book of Nature together! We are going to explore the mini-world of the decaying tree in front of you.
The worms have another clue for you:
Respect for all elements of creation is central to a Mi’kmaw worldview and that of many other Indigenous groups. This respect is reflected in how things are harvested and used by people. Robin Wall Kimmerer, an Indigenous writer, defines these guidelines for an ‘honourable harvest’ in her book Braiding Sweetgrass. Consider applying them to what you harvest and buy…
Do you still have the little gift in your pocket from your time? Let’s give this special gift as thanks to the creatures living in these roots for all they do to recycle nutrients in Nature. Using your magnifying lens, find the perfect place in the wood where the creatures would find and appreciate it.
The Mi’kmaw children want to share the Stick Catch Game with you as a gift to take back.
It’s time to move to the next time. Plug into the earth like a worm and read together:
From crouching, make your whole body wiggle like jelly as you slowly stand up and then jump up and say POP! What time have we landed in now?
From the bench, continue 20 m, walking down the steep hill and holding onto the trees for support. Stand on the shore.
It is 400 years ago. Explorers from Italy, France, England and Spain have just come to these lands for the first time. Their governments want the land for themselves even though the Mi’kmaq already live here. In the end, the Europeans are more powerful and take the land from the Mi’kmaq even though some explorers tried to get along. In our own time, the Canadian government is seeking to heal the wrongs of the past between the European settlers and Indigenous peoples.
The worms have another clue for you:
To be a European explorer, you need a boat:
Find some dry wood or sticks and make a boat and decorate it as you like. You can make a raft type boat by using long grass to tie twigs together. See if you can make a sail out of a twig mast and a leaf sail. Let your boats go and see who’s is the fastest.
Phew! Time travel is tiring! Time to eat your sailor’s rations before you travel any further. Open your backpack and have a snack and drink.
Let’s keep going! Just 3 more words to go and we can solve the message from Earth. Plug yourself into the Earth with your wormy little fingers and say:
From crouching, jump and spin one way, land and spin the other while yelling like you are on a rollercoaster! Wonder where we are in time now?
Just down the shore, there is a small trail junction, take the straight trail that continues along the shore, walking 40 m through dense vegetation to a bench with concrete slabs to the left of it.
These big slabs of concrete hold back the water of the Fales river, watch out for the large pond they make and don’t get swept away! We are in the year 1930 and the McMaster Mill is sawing logs and grinding grain using the energy of fast flowing water to run an engine and move saws and grinders. But there is a new invention just around the corner that would shape the future of human society.
The worms have another clue for you:
How does a water turbine or water wheel make a saw mill cut logs or a flour mill grind grain? Use your bodies to make machines! You are all machine parts of a watermill.
You are all moving parts, called cogs, of a water wheel that is powered by flowing water.
The Rockville Company began when a waterwheel was built on the Fales River to saw logs (sawmill) and grind grain into flour (gristmill) in 1858. When more efficient technology was discovered, the company built a water-turbine in 1913 to increase the production of sawn wood and to provide electricity for the community. All that is left of the construction are the concrete blocks that formed the dam and the penstock that held the turbine farther down the river. When electricity finally came to the community from other, larger, power stations, the watermill was closed and operations moved to Kingston. Look at the interpretive panels along the trails to learn more.
We are on our way to another place in time. Plug yourself into the Earth and say:
Stay crouching and scuttle around on the path like tiny insects and jump up extending arms and legs like a star. Brrrrr… it is unusually cold! Where are we now?
Continue along the river 10 m to a 2nd bench. Go around the bench and down the slope 5 m.
I’m freezing! We went back in time again. It is 10 thousand years ago when the glaciers were melting at the end of the last Ice Age. What a tough place to live. These scraggly trees and roots are the only shelter the little animals have against the bitter cold and wet. Let’s help the animals find shelter by building little homes for them among the roots! You can work together or separately and make a little village. Have a tour of your village when you are finished.
But what if predators are searching for your animal shelters? When you are done with them, take the shelters apart and make it so no one would know they were ever there.
Before we forget why we came this far, here is the message from the Worms with clue number 6:
Let’s go and find out what our last clue is! Plug into the Earth and say:
Jump up and down from crouching three times as high as you can. Let’s look around to see where we are now.
The Earth’s ecosystems and communities of life are always becoming something else. A rock slowly breaks down to become particles of soil. Fish move with changes in water temperature. The sea coast slowly falls into the ocean in the face of rising tides. Predators move to new areas if there is food available there. A field slowly turns into a forest as taller plants take the sunlight if humans do not intervene. Over time, creatures and natural communities slowly adapt and
Walk another 10 m through the boulders and trees to just past where you can see a waterfall to your right around a corner of rock.
Whooow! What a strange place. The rocks are bending and folding under our feet. This is 350 million years ago in the Middle of the Carboniferous Period when the 2 continents of Gondwanan and Laurasia collided to form the Supercontinent Pangea. Hold on tight to something! Here comes an earthquake! Shake and wiggle… What a dangerous place to live!
This is the time of the fishes, and early amphibians are just starting to walk out of the swamps onto land to catch the insects already there. The amphibians during this time looked like giant salamanders with sharp teeth! Let’s look for lunch as an amphibian! Maybe you are the giant ancestor of a frog or salamander? COOL!
The worms have the final clue for you:
Look to the left of the waterfall and see the rocks lined like the layers in a cake or the pages of a book. The erosion of soil by water has uncovered these rocks and now we are able to see them. Each layer is like a page in the book of time since the layers are deposited one on top of the other over time.
Let’s read the rock book:
Time to go before another earthquake hits! Plug into the Earth and say:
Spin while jumping high and tuck your knees up in midair. Say “Plop!” when you land.
This planet is always changing through slow natural processes, but in the last 50 years, humans have been changing things so quickly that creatures and ecosystems cannot adapt. Most important of all, we are rapidly warming and changing the climate. You can help slow the changes down by using less fossil fuel:
Walk uphill through the tree roots and rocks 15 m until you are back on the main trail. Turn right and walk 50 m to a boardwalk and up to a look off platform. [Please note: the left benches in the attached photo which has the plaque on it is undergoing maintenance as of Sept 7/23. Please tell us if you note that they have returned!] For now there isa no plaque and we are working to replace it.
This place looks familiar! We are back home in our own time and finished our time travel. Thank the worms for taking us through their wormholes across space and time by reaching up and wiggling your fingers in a goodbye wave.
Now that you have discovered all seven clue words, write down the key letter highlighted in the box for the clue at each prior stop. Write the key letters in your Adventure Journal and then unscramble them. Enter the final secret word here.
This word is a lesson for us all. We have learned through this adventure that the earth _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (same word) over time and we humans and other creatures living on this earth need to do this as well to adapt to different environments. Humans are changing the environment on this planet and we need to have respect for other creatures with whom we share the Earth. We need to give other species room to adapt and change with us.
There is one last challenge. Search around the observation platform to find the mystery creature plaque which is hidden on something where people sit. Make a rubbing of it in your Adventure Journal with the side of your pencil.
You might also want to draw a picture of the waterfall in your Adventure Journal. It is pretty spectacular! You could also upload a favourite photo from here or earlier on the trail.
The plaque symbol is:
Because this trail is an interpretive historic park, complete with signage, you may want to begin with a walk through the park to see the historic significance of this place.