May 22, 2013

Fun in the woods geocache hunting

The Oskaloosa Herald


Several people went on a high-tech treasure hunt Saturday afternoon at Cedar Bluffs Nature Area.

The Mahaska County Conservation Board and the Mahaska Wellness Coalition held a geocaching hike at the 225-acre nature area to enjoy nature, get some exercise and learn to use Global Positioning System receivers to look for treasures.

“I love geocaching,” MCCB Director Dave Sedivec said. “ You can get kids outdoors and they're playing with an electronic gadget.”

MCCB Naturalist Laura DeCook said the group was searching for three geocaches hidden at Cedar Bluffs.

“They can be found on a Web site, www.geocaching.com,” she said. “We're trying different types of GPS — Garmin and cellphone apps. Everybody is learning how (to use GPS receivers.”

This is the second year of the geocaching hike. This past year, the MCCB held it at Edmundson Park in Oskaloosa. This year, the MCCB wanted to hold it in a different park, she said.

The group traveled along mown trails for a while; then they followed a deer trial to find the first geocache.

Darrien Chilcote, 5, of Oskaloosa, found the first two geocaches. The geocaches were old U.S. Army ammunition cans that were concealed in the woods. The first cache held items such as two pencils, trinkets, an eraser, dice , poker chips, car stickers and a log book that people sign when they find the cache.

The GPS receivers led the group across a field to a wooded hillside where Chilcote found the second cache and fellow hikers Ben, 6, and TJ Ahrends, 9, both of Pella, assisted him in displaying the contents of the second cache.

Sedivec said the third cache was a long hike from the second one. The trial to the third cache took the hikers up and down hills to the far side of the Cedar Bluffs nature area.

Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at oskynews@oskyherald.com