Geocaching. Have you heard about that? It is quite a phenomenon among certain people. And we at Bur Oak Land Trust recently decided to jump in and promote our organization in this unique way by placing geocaches. Although I have had some experience with the geocaching world – my sister from Oregon loves geocaching where ever she goes – I haven’t embraced this activity myself. So it was very interesting (and helpful) to get instruction and support from an expert geocacher – Linda Mueller. She took the time to present Geocaching 101 to our property stewards, meet with Bur Oak Land Trust Executive Director Tammy Wright and me for a geocaching planning session, and accompanied Property Stewardship Specialist Seth Somerville and me out to Turkey Creek Nature Preserve to place a number of geocaches.
Although it was a cold and windy day, it was beautiful out. Linda took coordinates (and rechecked coordinates!) while Seth waxed poetic on the different spots he had chosen. And he chose well – they showcased this Turkey Creek property – which is really the point from an organizational standpoint: We have beauty and a great nature experience. Come out and experience this natural beauty and find our geocaches!
When we were done placing the geocaches, I was in charge of entering the geocaches into geocaching.com – coordinates, summary description, long description, waypoints (like parking), difficulty of terrain, and hazards or attractions of the geocache, to name a few. And then I had to wait for the geocaches to be approved by an oversight geocache volunteer for Iowa. Fingers crossed that I had entered everything correctly.
Within a day, our geocaches were live! And it turned out that one set of coordinates was not right – but a very helpful geocacher immediately let me know and I was able to correct that error within a very short time of going live.
This community of geocachers is just great. We immediately started getting notifications of log visits to the geocaches. And I immediately knew that I needed to learn their language. FTF was the first log entry. What did that mean? I had to look it up. It turns out it is “First to find” for that geocache! There are many other acronyms in the geocaching world. If you also want to be fluent, check out this link: Geocaching Acronyms
How fun is that! And then longer logs were submitted. These people could easily write blogs for us as they presented their love of the land so effortlessly. Here are some excerpts:
Of all of the hides out here, this one is my favorite. As a young boy, geography and the lines and rivers on a map always fascinated me… I finally got to the destination and I surveyed “my” island. A neat spot. Thank you for bringing me here.
It had rained tonight, and the encroaching darkness set the tone for a refreshing and peaceful walk here tonight. I stopped short of where I needed to, but with the help of the GPS I finally figured out I had a few more steps to take…. I’m still laughing over this one.
A nice description of this pretty area…. I try to think how Iowa was 200 years ago and how much prairie isn’t with us anymore because of our incredibly rich soil….Thank you for allowing us to visit the “place out of time.”
I huffed and puffed up the hill…. Believe me, the climb is worth it! You were right when you said that Iowa is not flat!… This cache earns a favorite point from me.
Stay tuned for more geocaches!