This Saturday, the US celebrates National Scavenger Hunt Day, and Experience Cortland has a high-tech twist on this classic game. Grab your Smartphone and your sense of wanderlust, and embark on the Experience Cortland GeoTour.
This tour will take you along the byways of Cortland County to the secret and not-so-secret hideaways where we have stashed our caches for you to discover. Along the way, you will learn about our county history that includes underground railroads, civil war camps, major league ballplayers, and possibly the best trucks ever built. You will also experience some of the nicest countrysides and rural villages you will ever find in New York State.
If you're new to geocaching, here's the scoop on this modern-day treasure hunt.
WHAT IS GEOCACHING?
The Experience Cortland GeoTour hosted by the Cortland County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Geocaching.com, stretches across Cortland County, from Preble to Cortland, McGraw to Marathon.
Geocaching is an outdoor activity similar to treasure hunting, but instead of a treasure map, you use GPS-enables devices to find hidden "caches". Caches are filled with trinkets and a log of other geocachers who’ve found it before you. You can give and take what’s in the cache to make trades, but at its heart, it’s all about going off the beaten path in search of adventure. It's an inexpensive, interactive family-friendly activity that's a great way to learn about Cortland County's history and it's geography!
Download and print the Official Tracking Sheet to begin your adventure.
WHAT YOU NEED
Most importantly, you need a GPS navigator. There are plenty of mobile apps you can download to search for geocaches, but going old school with an actual GPS navigator is also an option.
Besides your sense of adventure, pack a bag with with water and snacks, as well as gloves, possibly a little digging device, small items to exchange and a camera. Don't forget to take a pencil with you to sign the log and the Tracking Sheet.
HOW TO PLAY
At its simplest level, geocaching requires these 8 steps:
- Register for a free Basic Membership.
- Visit the Experience Cortland GeoTour page.
- Print out the Experience Cortland GeoTour Tracking Sheet.
- Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
- Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.
- Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.
- Record the unique CVB code identified the geocache log sheet on the Experience Cortland GeoTour Tracking Sheet.
- Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location.
WHAT ARE THE RULES
At its simplest level, geocaching requires these 7 steps:
- If you take something from the geocache, leave something of equal or greater value.
- Write about your find in the cache logbook.
- Log your experience at www.geocaching.com.
The Experience Cortland GeoTour has 20 caches. Download your passports from the links above and you’re ready to go. When you find one of the caches from the GeoTour, record the code letters. When the passport is complete, decipher the correct message, and either it fill out the form online, or send it to Cortland County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 42 Main Street, Cortland NY 13045, and your unique prize will be sent.
As you're starting out on your geocaching adventures, reading logs can be like trying to decipher a foreign language. Here are some geocaching terms and their meanings.
- Cache - a hidden container that usually includes a logbook for geocachers to sign. Also known as a cache. There are currently over a dozen geocache types, each type being a different variation of the game.
- Cacher - also known as a geocacher. One who participates in geocaching.
- Coordinates - a pair of numbers (latitude and longitude) that pinpoint an exact position on the Earth. Latitudes are horizontal lines on the globe that run parallel to the Equator (similar to rungs on a ladder) and Longitudes are vertical lines on the globe that converge at the North and South Poles.
- Earthcache - a special place that people can visit to learn about a unique geoscience feature of our Earth. Learn more at www.earthcache.org.
- GC Code - a unique identifier associated with every geocache listing. The GC Code starts with the letters "GC" and is followed by other alphanumeric characters, such as GCK25B.
- Geocaching - a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache hidden at that location.
- Global Positioning System (GPS) - A system of satellites working with a GPS receiver to determine a person’s location on Earth.
- Logbook - a physical record of everyone who has found a geocache. Usually made of paper, logbooks come in many different sizes, shapes, and formats.
- Travel Bug - a trackable tag with a unique code that can be attached to an item. The trackable is then carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world, and its progress can be followed on Geocaching.com.
- Waypoint - a reference point for a physical location on Earth. Waypoints are defined by a set of coordinates that typically include latitude, longitude and sometimes altitude.
Find general information about geocaching or locate possible geocaches at the following websites:
Share your Experience Cortland GeoTour adventures with us for a chance to be featured! Tag @experiencecortland and use hashtag #experiencecortland.