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Geocaching

 What better way to enjoy the outdoors than a good ole fashioned game of hide and seek, actually geocaching is hide and seek, but it certainly isn’t old fashioned. Geocaching utilizes high-tech smart phones, and GPS tracking software to uncover treasures hidden by other players. Geocaching is a fantastic way to explore the United States by finding yourself in majestic locations like Georgia’s lake country on the quest for buried treasure. With the emergence of smart phones, geocaching is easier than ever, visitors to Lake Oconee Georgia looking for things to do during their visit, will definitely have a new and fun experience geocaching in the area. Don’t worry about finding them all in one day, as there are almost 200 geocaches in Greene County.

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.

There are 1,001,001 active caches and an estimated 3 – 4 million geocachers worldwide. In Greene County alone, we have 189 caches.  Local, avid geocacher Ruth Hendrix (also known as “H2Obug”) has some tips for locating her geocaches in Greene County as well as some other favorite locations!

Pictured right: Ruth Hendrix (H20bug) finds a geocache located in the woods in Greene County.

Please describe geocaching

GEOCACHING is the ultimate hobby! You can make it as extreme as you desire. The game is using the technology that is based from your computer and taking it into the woods. Use your latest techno phone and/or a handheld GPS, you zero in on the treasure (cache). Once at the GZ (ground zero) you must use your geosense (wits) from the days of hide n seek to locate the container. Once you locate the container you must extract it without getting caught by any muggles ( bystanders, those who do not play). Open the container and sign and date the log. If there is SWAG (goodies) you may trade for equal value. Then you must replace the container into its hide spot and camouflage it as you found it or hidden just a little better. Upon returning to the computer you log into the www.geocaching.com website and post your finds. The owner of the container enjoys reading you comments on the hunt and find!
 

How were you introduced to geocaching? 

I read about it on the National Parks and Recreation Association website. My husband had an old Garmin GPS90 so I began plotting and planning with that instrument. Everything had to be hand entered as it had no cable to connect to do downloads. You enter the longitude and latitude of the cache.
 
Now this is when the challenge began. I increased my computer time learning how to do this by reviewing the website. We then took the GPS90 and a map to the field and found the cache not 10 miles from out home. It was well placed in the woods. The trail was wide and we easily zeroed in on the area. I searched and read the clues again and found a well hidden ammo box loaded with goodies to trade. Who knew adventure was so close to home!
 

What attracted you to become a geocacher?

My husband and I ride motorcycles. I am the passenger. I enjoy the ride but I wanted a destination. I wanted not just to ride but to have a goal for the ride. This combines his sport and mine! I plot our route and the cache stops and find places we would not have known about!
 

What types of items are generally used as a geocache?

Remember those small toys from the fast food places you got in meals as kids? Those make great items. Rather than yard sale my kids toys I put them in thecache containers!
 
The path tag is another item that is becoming popular and collectable for cachers. It is actually your signature coin (dime size) that you have made to trade at Geocache events or leave in a cache as a tradable. (pathtags.com)
 

What has been your favorite geocaching moment? 

I believe it would have to be hosting my first Geocache Event and meeting some of the cachers. The               Pictured above: Ruth Hendrix finds a geocache.   
cachers enjoy sharing those ultimate challenges on the ones found or DNF. Meeting the cachers is meeting friends. We never have enough of those. It is almost like a family reunion because there is always one cache story better then the last.
 

What would you say is the best thing about geocaching?

 
Geocaching gets you out to explore small towns, historic locations, and increases your problem solving skills at the GZ. You finally realize how much there is to see in your own state!
 
The GA State Parks just started a series of caches this spring of 2010. I have been waiting to explore more State Parks and this adds some excitement in doing just that! If you have to travel this increase your enjoyment of the trip.  
 

 

 

Pictured above: Union Point hosts a geocaching event during
their annual Union Junction Jamboree.

To date, what is your favorite geocaching site and why?

There have been several it is very difficult to pick one! We found waterfalls we didn’t know about. We climbed the second highest peak in GA to grab a geocoin. Hiked the highest point in Putnam County to find the cache and log my first Benchmark, another quest of the game.
 
I have to boast that I think Greene County has some pretty unique hides and makes a great caching trip for all types of cachers. We have micros and nano containers in historic places. I have the best time driving by one of the well placed caches and know that a cacher is trying to zero in on the container. Who else would be walking around in circles talking to herself?
And isn’t it a great feeling to finally be using all the tax money you have sent Uncle Sam…and play with those billion dollar satellites for nothing! 
 

For locations of local geocaches, please click here