Geocaching along the W&OD Trail
What is geocaching? An activity enjoyed all around the world by people of all ages and of all athletic abilities, geocaching combines sport, technology, and treasure hunting. With the help of a portable GPS unit that accepts coordinates, one player hides a cache (typically in a small, water-tight container) that contains a log book and other items, and often also a “treasure” that a second player who finds it is invited to take in exchange for the leaving of another “treasure” for yet another player. (Clues or puzzles are associated with the location of some caches; so, finding these requires some thought as well as a GPS device…)
Please note that, in order to play this environmentally-conscious sport along the W&OD, the guidelines of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority must be observed, and the NVRPA’s form submitted. (Both are available by clicking on this link.) In a nutshell, geocachers should abide by the acronym CITO (“cache in, trash out”).
For more details concerning geocaching and its etiquette, and to see how many caches are located in our area, visit Geocaching: The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site. Other great resources for the activity include (but are certainly not limited to) the following:
• the locally oriented web site of the Northern Virginia Geocaching Organization
• the web site of Gentle Dental (located in West Chester, PA)
• a collection of helpful links compiled on Angies’ list
• A Boy Scout’s Guide to Navigation Skills (thanks to Trevor of Lake Jennings BSA Troop 325 for suggesting this link)
Are there caches hidden near the W&OD Trail? Yes, several. Some are linked to historical events along the Trail (e.g., a local geocacher has hidden one related to a Civil War skirmish involving the railroad), others to natural features, hobbies, etc. One good thing about playing this sport during the winter months: some caches may be easier to spot!