Saturday, June 28, 2008

Geocache Fun

Nearly 30 eager treasure hunters of all ages gathered at the Richard P. Gravely, Jr. Nature Preserve in Ridgeway to participate in the Virginia Museum of Natural History's (VMNH) first Geocache Day. The program was led by Robin Jensen of VMNH, and designed to teach families how to enjoy this fun sport.

Geocaching is an international game played using a hand held Global Positioning System, more commonly known as a GPS. Cache seekers, can simply log onto the website to find a cache nearby and go treasure hunting. Over 600,000 caches can be found across the globe, and 1,600 of those are within 50 miles of Martinsville!

After the initial purchase of a GPS unit there is no other cost to participate in the game, which makes it a popular form of entertainment for families. The sport is also good for tourism, as it encorages travelers to visit smaller towns and lesser known communities.

The Calbanese Family has been Geocaching together for several years. Below they are shown reading their first clue of the day.

Others who had never Geocached before recieved instruction on how to operate the GPS unit from Robin Jensen.

I followed the father-son duo: Brad and Connor Kinkema of Henry County as they embarked on their first Geocaching adventure together. It took a little practice to learn how to operate the GPS, but soon they were on their way to the first cache! Connor found a tiny container called a mini-cache. Inside the small aluminum container was a tiny roll of paper listing all the names of people who have found this particular cache. Brad added their names to the list of successful cachers and Connor re-hid the cache making sure to put it back exactly the way he had found it.

For the next cache, Brad and Connor worked with fellow cacher, T Butler of Reidsville. After about 15 minutes of hiking through the beautiful woods of the nature preserve, the group found the next cache. This box was larger and contained an assortment of items including a ring, AAA decal, a key chain, small toys, and a note book. When a cache like this is found the cache seeker can take an item to keep, and leave another treat in the box for others to find. All the cache seekers learned that candy, food and fragrant items are not allowed in caches because it might attract animals and make them sick. Connor did not have a trinket to put in the cache this time, but said that he would visit again another day to make the trade. The cache seekers all signed their names in the note book and Connor hid the cache back in the secret home.

The last cache of the day was a Puzzle Cache and required a little more thinking. Brad, Connor, and other cachers explored the historic Burgess cemetery located on the property to find clues. After answering all the questions they found the last cache. Everyone had a great time exploring the nature preserve and learning the sport of Geocaching. According to Conner, his first Geocaching adventure "was a great experience"!

Geocaching tips:
  • Read the section "Getting Started" on prior to going caching for the first time.
  • When Geocaching, please respect the land and dispose of waste properly. Many seekers also participate in "Cache In- Trash Out": after finding your treasure, pick up any trash that you see on the way back.
  • Never put food, candy, tobacco, or fragrant items in a cache.
  • When hiding a cache, make sure to get permission from the land owner first.
  • Always travel with a buddy!
Photos and Article by: Jennifer Doss

1 comment:


That looks like fun. Is there another one of these planned soon?