Over the last few months, we toured Oswego County to discover the hidden treasures Ã¢â‚¬â€œ from trinkets to history – left by those who came before us. We owe a debt of thanks to Tim, our personal guide and savant, for introducing us to the excitement of geocaching.
Similar to the 150-year-old game letterboxing (see Jessica’s blog), which uses clues and references to landmarks to find hidden treasures, geocaching also uses latitude and longitude coordinates on a GPS receiver.
A History Lesson:
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a radio-navigation system that provides accurate location information through the use of satellites. In May 2000, Selective Availability was removed and the accuracy of civilian GPS receivers was increased from 100m to 20m. The hunt was on!
The first-known cache was placed by Dave Ulmer in Oregon to test the accuracy of GPS. The coordinates were posted online and readers were directed to locate the Ã¢â‚¬Å“stashÃ¢â‚¬Â using their GPS receivers and report back. There was only one rule: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Take Something, Leave SomethingÃ¢â‚¬Â. Originally called the Great American GPS Stash Hunt, this new hobby eventually became known as geocaching and a Web site was developed to track caches all over the world.
A New Adventure:
Our first geocache search took us to the Town of Oswego Rural Cemetery, the burial site of Dr. Mary Walker. Not only did we enjoy the great outdoors, but we learned a bit of our local history, as well:
We had great fun in this multi-cache hunt! Using GPS coordinates and clues from the Web site, we found the first cache; which gave us the coordinates to find the final cache. With the prize in hand, we took a token, left a token and signed the log book. Later, we went online and registered our find.
Careful not to include spoilers, we took these photos of our quest:
It was equally fun developing clues as unraveling them! I cannot give you any further hints as to the whereabouts of this cache; however, if you would like to discover it for yourself, you can start online at http://www.geocaching.com/. Click on Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hide and Seek a CacheÃ¢â‚¬Â and enter Ã¢â‚¬Å“GC1Z9RQÃ¢â‚¬Â in the GC code box at the bottom of the screen.
There are hundreds of caches hidden all over Oswego County. To find one in your neighborhood, visit the Web site listed above. Becoming a basic member is free, quick and simple.
Happy hunting, cachers!