Saturday, 10 April 2004
How Geocaching Works
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In the beautiful upland forest 'park on a paha', Hickory Hills, 20 minutes south of Waterloo, IA.
Note: please read the notes or log entries near the bottom of this page to get the latest updates. Thanks! Recently, while cruising through Wal-Mart my eyes swept past some plastic Easter-eggs. Having caught the geocaching bug some months ago I now habitually evaluate containers as possible cache holding devices. Hence, upon seeing the eggs I thought, can I use these for caches? Then the idea came to me that they could be used for a high tech "GPS Easter-egg hunt!" I decided to ask the members of the new, "Eastern Iowa Geocachers Association" for help and invite the public to share in the fun of using satellite technology to help kids (and the rest of us kids at heart) find eggs in the forest! Kids from 8 yrs to 80 could participate. Hickory Hills, the 'park on a paha' some 20 minutes south of Waterloo, IA, and just east of HWY 21 seemed to be the park of choice. The hunt is scheduled for Saturday, the day after Good Friday, i.e. April 10th. [At this time I still do need some expert help hiding plastic eggs throughout Hickory Hills the day before, on Good Friday.] We will hold the event barring a snow storm or a downpour.Following are the details. The hunt is scheduled to begin at 9:00 AM. Hunters will have the option of going to any one of five sections of the park, one at a time. It will however, be possible for a person to visit up to three sections if they start at 9 AM and end at 2:15 PM or so. There will be three times of departure. I have allowed 1.5 hours per trek, probably more than enough, with at least a half-hour break between each venture. Each hike might require a mile or more of walking with some steep climbs along the way. One can chose to go on one or several hikes. Some will be longer than others and some may be more challenging in multiple respects. Specific times of departure and estimated times of getting back to base are as follows: 9 AM – 10:15 AM, 11AM – 12:15 PM, and 1 PM– 2:15 PM. If you hope to stay for the day, unless the plan changes, you should brown bag it for lunch. There are pop machines at the park and water is available. Being a biology teacher who is very familiar with this environment, I myself am planning on doing more than just hunt eggs. I plan to include within the containers, questions and answers about the flora and fauna that are there. A couple eggs on each route may be part of a multicache series as well. Routes may be rated according to difficulty in finding the eggs.There will be 10 or more eggs stashed per section (per hike). [This is still in the planning stage.] So far I am planning that inside each egg there will be a quantity of plastic beads (little brightly colored cylinders) to place onto a colored plastic string designed to hold such beads. At each egg found, the players will take a bead and add it to their foot-long string which at the end they can make into a bracelet of sorts if they care too. The last group out will actually gather the eggs up.One group (or two if there are a lot of players) will depart for any one section of the park at a time. If one group goes, they will have two Garmin III GPS units to use—loaned to us by the ‘Area Education Agency 267.’ If two groups go, each one will have just one receiver. [This is not considering any personal units that volunteers bring along.] If two groups head for the same section, they will take opposite directions and will cross paths somewhere along the route. The routes will be preplanned and will be followed waypoint by waypoint. To protect the wildflowers, human and deer trails will be used most of the time. There will be some experienced geocachers there that can answer questions about GPS units so if you have your own, bring them along! I will be trying to get a shelter but it may be nothing more than a roof over the heads of no more than 25 people. There should be signs in the park on Saturday leading the way to the parking and departure area. Some trails will probably be muddy and it would be good to bring an umbrella just in case. Because this is a public event participants don't have to know anything about GPS technology nor do they have to own a GPS receiver. If you have not already contacted me about wanting to attend, please do so by posting a note to this page. I need to know how many are coming and the approximate ages of any children. I hope to see you there!! Iowa TomHigh School science teacherWaterloo, IA
(No hints available.)