Geocaching


Wow! I had forgotten how much I love to find hidden treasure! A little over 3 years ago I heard about geocaching, bought a GPS off eBay and went crazy finding everything I could. Then, as most activities do, the fever waned and was replaced by something else.

About 2 years ago I placed a cache near our vacation rental in Alaska. At the time there were none in the area. The closest cache was about 15 miles away but the bulk being about 60 miles away. Now there are several in the Big Lake area of Alaska. As with all things, it was time to retire the cache and move on. Maintenance was a tough issue when cachers reported moisture. As part of the retirement of the cache I found that there was a geoCoin that needed to move on. I took the coin out of the cache and reported that I would move it on. This was an almost reluctant gesture since, as I have stated, much of my zeal morphed to fond memories.

Well, today things were slow enough at the office that I could afford a few minutes out to place the coin in another cache if there was one close by. Lo and behold there was an ideal one less than 1 mile away. It was straightforward to get in the general area but truthfully I lost my edge at finding caches. To be sure the GPS navigated me to within 12 feet. The all around me for at least 100 feet in every direction were 30 foot high piles of rock left over from a long forgotten mining operation. Somewhere under one rock was a 12″ x 4″ x 4″ steel box.

I had to look with an eagle eye and ponder where would be a good location to hide a cache as I tried to get inside the mind of the person who placed it. There was some frustration and a few encounters with those nasty burrs on my socks, shoes and pants but when I did find it what a rush.

I like this game!

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It’s been quite a few months since I’ve been out Geocaching. Yesterday afternoon I went out with a group of men to find a few caches in the Donner Lake area. Our first destination was one that we had attempted about a year ago.

The snow was still quite deep last year and with a larger percentage of snow melted this year we thought we’d have an excellent chance of finding this cache. The location was on the fringes of Donner Memorial State Park. We traveled directly to the general location but when we were within 500′ the forest was so think that the 2 GPSr’s were given very erratic readings.

Off we headed, empty handed, to a second cache near Donner Ski area (7000+ ft). This one was located near an old snowshed for the transcontinental railroad. There was a little bit of a trek through the snow. We were able to park within a quarter mile of the cache. It was a very nice walk with a gorgeous view of Donner Lake. On the way back we decided to walk through one of the snowshed tunnels. The tracks had been removed and the hand carved tunnel was full of ice. We estimate that it was about one third mile in length. The entire length of the tunnel was covered with ice so it was slow going and pretty slippery with street shoes on. It was a rather fascinating experience. Took me back more than a century and a half as I was thinking about the laborers hand carving the tunnel through the mountain.

A highly recommended family activity and specifically a great location.

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