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Geocaching Article from Laramie Boomerang - Featuring "The Perkys" from WNAG

"We never seek things for themselves - what we seek is the very seeking of things."
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

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       Geocaching can be a technological treasure

BY AMBER TRAVSKY
Boomerang Outdoors Writer

“It’s here somewhere,” David Perkins of Laramie said to Kathleen, his nine-year-old daughter. Using a Global Positioning System, or GPS, receiver, Perkins inched around a large spruce tree. “It should be right in there,” Perkins said and pointed to the darkened hidey-holes beneath the lower tree bows. Crawl around under the tree and see If you can find it,” he suggested to Kathleen and she scrambled into the brush.

The father-daughter team was geocachlng, which combines old-time treasure hunting with technology. Players hide a cache, usually an old army ammo case, Tupperware or other waterproof container, with a logbook and handful of goodies inside. The GPS coordinates are posted on the Internet at www.geocachelng.com to begin the hunt. Armed with handheld GPS receivers, other players track down the cache and replace some of the treasure with gifts for the next cache hunter.

This sunny fall morning In the Snowy Range, Troy Bryan, a geocacher from Bridgeport, Neb., joins the Perkins duo. Bryan has been Geocaching for three years. So far he’s found 153 caches and has hidden 42. His newest placement is within the Laramie city limits and is a special theme” cache. “The intent of that cache is rhyming,” Bryan said. “Instead of leaving an item, you leave a poem in the logbook.”

There are already over 90 geocaches within 40 miles of Laramie, making it easy to get started. To join the fun, just sign up on the Web site; download cache coordinates and descriptions, and head out­doors with a GPS receiver and a sense of adven­ture.

Perkins said he prefers Geocaching In the moun­tains. ‘It’s a great excuse to get out with the family,” he said. ‘We explore new country and make a day of it with a picnic lunch.”

This high tech spin-off of hide and seek was born on May 1, 2000 when the government removed a satellite scrambler that limited civilian GPS units’ accuracy to 100 meters Now private GPS units get within 10 meters of a sought-after spot. Two days after the descrambling, a former computer engineer near Portland, Ore. hid the first cache. Its contents included a can of beans and a $5 bill. He posted the details to an online news­group and within a day the stash was found and geocaching was born.

Now more than 750,000 people are hiding and searching out caches around the world. According to the Geocaching.com Web site, where most people post their caches, there are currently 123,679 active caches in 210 countries. The rules are simple: take something from the cache, leave something in the cache of equal or greater value, and write about it in the logbook in the cache and in the online log.

“I found it,” Kathleen Perkins yelled from under the evergreen. She crawled out with the dark plastic jug, grinning with excitement. A bright green label on the jug identified it as an ‘Official Geocache.”

“Opening a cache to see what inside is the best part is,” she said as she settled down and twisted the lid. It seemed like Christmas morning, as she reached inside and pulled out the ‘booty.” Among the Items were several keychains, a small disposable camera, several foreign coins and a logbook.

David Perkins went through the logbook to read what others had written and then added his own comments; meanwhile, Kathleen traded one of her heart-shaped keychains for one in the cache.

David Perkins added a special treat to the cache:

A Travel Bug. A Travel Bug is a track able Item that moves from place to place, picking up stories along the way. It’s usually a dog tag attached to a hitch hiker” or an Item that travels from place to place. Jeep 4x4 Travel Bug Is a 2-Inch die-cast yel­low Wrangler with an official Travel Bug tag attached.

Some geocaches required bushwhacking. Serious route-finding or even extra sleuthing to solve the location riddle. Small stashes, called microcaches, lurk in urban locations, often placed in a Hide-a-Key-style disguise. ‘Town caches can be especially well hidden,” Perkins said. “I heard of one disguised as a birdhouse.”

“Ws a high tech treasure hunt.” Perkins said. “All you need is a GPS receiver and a sense of adven­ture.”

 

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