Caching in on the South Tahoe Geocache this weekend
Among the items in the metal ammunition box carefully placed underneath chunks of bark behind the Harrah’s Lake Tahoe parking lot were a dingy tennis ball, an Adrian Gonzalez rookie card, an “Electric Lime” Crayola marker and an Albert Einstein bobble head doll.
Also included in the knickknacks was a list containing dozens of names of people who have previously discovered the box and its bounty of curios as part of a 24/7 worldwide technology-assisted scavenger hunt known as geocaching.
“It’s the whole essence of finding the treasure,” said Mike Frye, sales and events manager for the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, which will host a geocaching event on the South Shore this weekend for the fourth year in a row.
Although the geocaching event has been included in LTVA-sponsored summer kickoff events in the past, the LTVA will not host a summer kickoff this year because of a reduced budget.
In geocaching, participants use a Global Positioning System device to find a cache – a specific location that has its coordinates posted online, often on “The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site,” http://www.geocaching.com.
Although proof you’ve found a cache can take a variety of forms, it typically includes signing a guest book-type list in a container hidden at the location.
Promoters of this weekend’s activities expect hundreds of people to fan out in search of the 50 new caches that have been placed at the South Shore and the prizes associated with them.
“They’re scattered from Eagle Falls to Cave Rock to Meyers and all points in between,” said Bill Angel, a course designer for Geoteaming, the Seattle-based company organizing this weekend’s event.
Angel, a biomedical engineer by trade, promises new caches to keep competitors interested this year.
“Bill’s going to take people to places locals may not even know about,” said John Chen, the CEO of Geoteaming.
Just getting to the cache’s coordinates won’t always be enough, Angel said, noting some of the puzzles requiring some mental acuity to access their contents.
“We have everything from beginner to the expert,” Chen said.
And while this weekend’s event offers some extra incentives for people to participate, geocaching doesn’t require an organized event, just access to a computer and a GPS Unit.
The long list of names in the cache behind the Harrah’s parking lot, as well as one located near the Pony Express statue in front of Harrah’s, indicates geocaching has attracted a following at the South Shore.
Caches from this weekend’s event will remain scattered around the South Shore and a search of caches near the 96150 ZIP code on http://www.geocaching.com shows more than 3,500 caches on the South Shore, just waiting to be discovered.
– Tribune reporter Sara Thompson contributed to this report.
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