Geocachers search Craig with a GPS and an ‘eye for adventure’
There are more than 100 hidden treasures in and around Craig.
Tucked away behind logs or in hollowed-out trees, they are waiting to be found by the next breed of treasure hunter, the geocacher.
About 15 people, each armed with a GPS and a set of coordinates, gathered at 10 a.m. Sunday at Loudy-Simpson Park for a day of hunting for these modern-day treasures.
Each person, group or family received a list of the day’s caches: five unknown objects that could each be found at one of the coordinates.
Wasting little time, the cachers typed the numbers into their GPS units and jumped in their cars to get the search under way.
“It’s a real family thing,” said Patt McCaffrey, a local resident who organized the event, the first of its kind in Craig. “Sometimes, the kids are better with the GPSs than the parents.”
It’s an easy hobby to break into, added McCaffrey, who owns the Craig Campground. A GPS is the only equipment required, and other than that, one only needs an eye for adventure.
Local geocacher Bob Arring said the hobby can take people to places they’ve never been.
“It really can teach people about the outdoors,” he said. “There are places around here that people normally wouldn’t go, but they can explore when they’re looking for caches.”
Geocachers worldwide are plugged into one Web site – geocaching.com – that lists the coordinates of every one of the 900,000 geocaches across the world and each time it’s found.
Each time someone finds one of the buried treasures, they can log their discovery on the site and leave comments.
Geocaches can be anything, but it’s usually a small canister or Tupperware containing a logbook for cachers to leave their names.
Sometimes there are trinkets, like marbles or bracelets, for children to take out and replace with something else.
The Herring family, of Craig, which has been caching since April, has a collection of toys it calls the “cache stash.” Their children pick and choose which toys to bring with them on treasure trips and leave in new caches found during their next adventure.
“We like to see if the kids can find it first when we get to the site,” Chris Herring said. “The kids just love it.”
Chris and his wife, Rachel, have four children, including 16-month-old Piper, who also came along on Sunday’s hunt.
It’s become such a family pastime that they’ve incorporated geocaching into their regular vacations and camping trips.
“We went on a trip to Oregon, and we found about 50 of them throughout the trip,” Herring said. “At rest stops, campgrounds, they’re just everywhere. It’s great because you get to see places you normally wouldn’t go. You start to plan your trips around finding caches.”
As for the first local geocaching event, McCaffrey said it was a success.
“Normally, when you go caching, you only see people’s names in a log book, or their screen names on the Web site,” she said. “This is great because you get to put names to faces.”
The event featured raffle prizes for every participant, including a grand prize of a new Garmin GPS.
“It really was a good time had by all,” McCaffrey said. “We definitely want to do it again.”
Nicole Ingles can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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