Saturday, October 16, 2010
Geo-Caching with Reserve Rangers in November!
The Ebey's Reserve rangers have been busy preparing for this year's Ebey's Forever Conference. Rangers Sally & Lauren have plenty of fun activities planned for this years conference, including Old-Fashioned Geo-caching. What's that you say?
Geo-caching is a fun family activity using GPS to find hidden 'treasure' or cache. Geocachers have hidden their treasure boxes around the world in public places. After placing a cache, they usually post the cache and GPS coordinates on geocaching.com. Currently there are more than 1.2 million active caches listed on geocaching.com, some of them placed in easily accessed places... other in very difficult places requiring special equipment like scuba or mountaineering gear to get to them.
Anybody with a GPS, time and the desire to geocache can go on a hunt. The first step is to decide where you want to look for a cache. At geocaching.com you can search by zip code for your potential cache hunt. A quick search of zip code 98239 yielded 1692caches located within twenty five miles of Coupeville. Within the list are details including the difficulty of finding the cache on a scale of 1-5, special items called travel bugs (more on them later) that might be in the cache, the date the cache was placed, and the last time the cache was found. Select the cache that interests you from the list to see more details. (You'll have to register with the site to get the main GPS coordinates, but you should be able to read any background information written by the person that placed the cache. Some geocachers add interesting historical or regional information to their cache posts, such as the Mosquito Fleet #5 Rosalie cache which gives a history the steamer Rosalie and her service as a ferry around the Puget Sound and farther.
After you get the coordinates, you head out to the location given in the geocache listing and start your search. Be sure to bring a pen or pencil and a small, family friendly trinket to place in the cache when you get there. Once you find your cache, you'll want to sign the geocache log inside if there is one. You'll also want to select one of the items in the cache to swap with the trinket you brought with you. As a geocacher its important to follow the take one leave one rule in order to keep the fun going for other geocachers. When placing geocache items, its a good idea to avoid leaving food too, so animals aren't attracted to the cache.
After you head home, the next part of geocaching fun is to check back in with geocaching.com and log your discovery on the website. You'll be able to leave notes about your adventure. If you've found a travel bug, you'll be able to announce your find too. Travel bugs are special, registered trinkets that taken from geocache to geocache by players. Once you find a travel bug, to keep the game going you'll need to hide it in a different cache and log your move on the website for other people to look for.
There's your quick background on geocaching, now back to what the rangers have planned with their 'Old-Fashioned Geo-Caching'. We've been busy mapping out a game of our own for registered participants of Ebey's Forever Conference. We'll be starting out with an introduction to map, compass & GPS before sending groups off on their own adventures. Each group will start with a set of directions (similar to the Amazing Race show on TV though we'll keep it local and avoid dangerous and/or embarrassing stunts) leading them to an envelope containing more directions. They'll have several stops where the group will sign a log and get the next set of directions before ending up at the final cache.
We're looking forward to playing our game, having fun, and learning at the same time. What a great way to spend a fall Saturday morning with your family. Children are welcome to come too, you must bring a parent if you are under 10 years old. Register for Ebey's Forever Conference at http://www.ebeysforever.com.
Here's a list of family friendly options at this year's conference:
Junior Rangers to the Rescue
Adventures with Giant Trees
Don't forget about the Friday night potluck dinner at the Crockett Barn. Bring your family and a dish to share!