This weekend we stayed at the River Pond campground by Tuttle Creek Reservoir, just outside Manhattan, Kansas. Armed as I am now with a Garmin eTrex Legend HCx GPS unit, I was glad to see a few geocaches available in the area from geocaching.com. Instead of just finding some caches hid by individuals, however, my son and I were glad to learn about a new statewide geocaching contest in Kansas sponsored by the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks. KDWP has hidden 29 geocaches around the state, at least some of which are multi-caches. (The cache at Tuttle Creek was a multi-cache.)

multi-cache

The goal of the contest (which started May 1st) is to find as many of the 29 caches as possible. After finding a cache, participants enter a “site code” on a certificate found in the final cache and take it to the appropriate park office during regular business hours. In addition, participants complete an entry from and must receive a stamp on their form next to their latest cache find details. Entrants must mail in their completed and certified forms to the KDWP office in Pratt. 50 first prizes (a choice between a two- night stay in a Wildlife & Parks camping cabin, or one annual camping permit for 2009) are available to the first 50 people to find all 29 geocaches and mail in their documents. 100 second-place prizes (100 winners) who find 6 to 28 of the geocaches will win a choice between a one-night stay in a camping cabin or a 14-day camping permit for 2009. 200 third prize winners will take home two nights free camping and utilities at any Kansas state park during 2009, for finding 5 to 28 official KDWP geocaches. Complete details are available on the KDWP geocaching website.

This contest is a great idea on many fronts. Not only does it encourage more people to get outside, hike, and explore the state parks around the great state of Kansas, but it also will introduce more folks to GPS technology and the sport of geocaching. Way to go Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks! I hope we’ll see a similar contest sponsored in Oklahoma soon! :-)

Learn more about the contest from this KDWP video.

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  • Diane Main

    I’m excited for you and how much you’re enjoyed this. You’re one of “us” now. The video mentions that geocaching is new. We in the geek community know that anything that started in 2000 is nowhere near new, but it’s new to lots of folks. (Like you!) I like that they refer to it as a sport, as do you. That has seen some debate over the years, but the general consensus is it’s what you make it. Sport for some, pastime for others, hobby for yet others. Folks I know here in the Bay Area make it an extreme sport at times. Yesterday I had to pass on a GeoKayaing trip because I had to work. There’s an avid 4×4 Off-Road geocaching group here. Terrain challenges and other contests make it a high-level activity where I live. But we also have plenty of drive-ups and LPCs. (Bonus points for you to find out what that acronym stands for.)

    Try Cacheopedia.

  • http://teacherleaders.typepad.com/the_tempered_radical Bill Ferriter

    Hey Wes,

    Glad to see that you’re a geocacher too! I actually took a group of kids from the tech club out geocaching the other day. The kids had a great time!

    I think our proudest moment was when we were searching for a particularly stubborn cache whose hint was one word: arboreal. Not knowing exactly what arboreal meant, we jacked our tech skills to about twenty, texting Google from the middle of the woods for a definition.

    I knew that Google Text defined words, but had never used it before for anything meaningful.

    In a matter of minutes, Google texted us back: “Specially adapted to living in trees.” We found the cache hanging from a branch almost right away!

    Talk about a fun tech lesson for kids. Now, if they could only use their cell phones and text messaging plans in class!

    Anyway…thanks for bringing attention to a great sport!
    Bill

  • http://www.CreativeSomething.net Creative Something

    Wow, I definitely need to try Geocaching sometime. Do you think it would be worthwhile to buy a GPS device, simply for Geocaching?

  • http://www.wesfryer.com Wesley Fryer

    Yes, absolutely! As GPS functionality is added to more mobile smartphones, however, it may make more sense to use those devices for geocaching when you are in areas that have cell phone coverage. It will be interesting to see if those GPS features still function when you are in an area without cell coverage. In that case, if the functionality doesn’t work, it will be necessary to have a more traditional GPS unit…

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