On Saturday, at 8:00AM, we will have several semi-competitive, somewhat organized, get lost in the woods, geo-fun kinda caching activities (Please see the details about The Gauntlet and the Poker Run below and please register on our Florida Finders Fest web site - it's FREE!.). After the caching activities, we will be serving cooked animal, an assortment of side items, and ice cold drinks. No need to bring anything for dinner, but attendees should plan on bringing their own food and drinks for the rest of the day and/or weekend.
The posted coords are for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Outdoor Adventure Camp (OAC) in the Ocala National Forest.
We have placed a series of caches along a beautiful trail in the heart of the Ocala National Forest. The posted coordinates are the "Departure Point" where there is parking available. Teams should gather there and will be given the necessary information and coordinates. Teams will then be taken to the "Starting Point" and abandoned... er, I mean, dropped off.
From the Starting Point, teams will hike back to the "Departure Point". Along the way it will be necessary to find all the placed caches (which will be activated after the event). Also, there will be a list of "Targets" to find to earn "Bonus Points". These will be scavenger hunt type items. Some are existing features and some will be planted just for the event. In addition, there will be a number of special items placed at points along the trail. They will be numbered. Each team will draw a number unique to their team and will need to locate and retrieve the special items bearing that number for additional Bonus points.
Points will be calculated as follows. First of all, it's golf style scoring - the lower the score the better. The number of minutes it takes to complete The Gauntlet will be your Base Score. To that will be added Penalty Points for any caches DNF'd. From that total, we will subtract the Bonus Points. The lowest score wins!
It is HIGHLY recommended that you form teams of 6 adults. The trail has many spots where it is possible to take a wrong turn. If a team has to focus all its attention on staying on the trail it will likely miss a lot of targets. And vice versa. Therefore, there is an advantage to having a larger team allowing delegation of attention. However, due to logistical requirements, all team members must be able to fit in two Jeeps, which can each seat a driver, plus 3 adults, semi-comfortably for a short trip. We can probably squeeze in a few kids (literally) on top of them. In any case, the drivers will be comfortably seated. Transportation to the starting point from the departure point will be provided. You only need to worry about getting to the posted coordinates, which are easily accessible in any 2wd vehicle. It is on a well graded gravel road.
IMPORTANT -- There are a limited number of team slots available. Should we run out of slots, preference will be given to teams of six members and in order of receipt of registration. We reserve the right to combine teams and add members to teams to create teams of six members. So form full teams and sign up early. Please use The Gaunlet registration page to register the name and composition of teams.(Teams that participated in last years Gauntlet with fewer than six members are welcome to do so again this year.)
What to Bring - Each team will need a GPS and a Digital or Instant Camera. Also, a clip board may be handy as there will be some reading and writing involved. Walking/poking sticks will be a big help. Water is probably a good idea too. There will be an "Oasis" stop along the way, sponsored by the Spacecoast Geocachers Association (SCGA). Water, fruit and snack bars will be served by our delightful and vivacious Oasis Hostess, but depending on your needs, you may want to bring more. And bug spray. Lots of bug spray.
Trail Conditions - The trail is mostly firm and dry. There will be little if any bushwhacking involved.
Time/Distance - The total distance will be approximately 5 to 6 miles but that is still being finalized.
Weather - We are having regular discussions with TPTB (i.e. we are praying) for good weather, but we plan to go rain or shine. I mean, after all, we'll be back at base camp warm and dry regardless. Besides, weather should be viewed as part of the adventure.
Starting Coordinates - If I told you that I'd have to kill you. They will be provided to teams as they start, beginning at 8AM at the posted coords on the day of the event.
Prizes - We are assembling a selection of prizes. There will likely be geocoins involved.
Trophy - The Best Cacher In the Land - Traveling Trophy Will be awarded to the winning team.
A prize will be awarded on a Team basis for the best Geo-shirt. To qualify for the best team shirt award, all members of your team must have the same shirt (or shirts of a similar theme) and your team must participate in The Gauntlet.
We are working on a more formal judging process this year. Anyone interested in volunteering to coordinate the judging, please let me know.
There will be a Poker Run for those not wishing to participate in The Gauntlet, and for those ambitious enough to do both.
Twelve geocaches will be placed throughout the Forest. Seven of these caches will contain a token. Participants will find the caches and retrieve the token. Those who find all twelve caches will receive an eighth token. Poker play will be Five Card Draw. You will exchange your first five chips for a hand of five cards. If you have additional chips, you may discard up to three cards and draw an additional card for each additional chip. For an added twist, there will be a list of several scavenger hunt type items. Teams finding these items will have the option of converting one or more of their drawn cards to a wild card. High poker hand wins!
PRIZES: We are assembling an array of prizes. Participants will select prizes from the prize table in order of the strength of their hand until all prizes are awarded.
The list of caches and scavenger hunt items will be distributed at 8:00AM. The last hand will be dealt at 5:00PM
The Outdoor Adventure Camp is a beautiful site on Eaton Lake. Camping is FREE!. There is limited availability of electricity.
There will also be rustic cabins and bunkhouse accommodations available at cost. Cost of the cabins is $8 per person, per night, with a minimum charge of four persons per night and a two night miniumum (for you Bulldog fans, that's $64 for two nights minimum for a cabin. Bunkhouses are $5 per person per night in advance, or $7 per night at the event). We will have a Men's and a Women's bunkhouse, and depending on interest, we will have coed bunkhouse for couples and families. For reservations, please contact AUFishHead.
All charges for cabins and bunkhouses go directly to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission..
IMPORTANT> > > >REGISTRATION < < < < IMPORTANT
Please register on our Florida Finders Fest web site in addition to posting your "will attend" here. There is registration for all attendees and a separate registration page for team participating in The Gauntlet. Registration is FREE, as is participation in the event, camping, The Gauntlet and the Poker Run.