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Southern Oregon Coast Geocachers offer new challenge
Coos Bay - North Bend - Charleston

The World Article by Rachel Finney

Starting Feb. 13, 2010 local geocachers will offer a new test ” Oregon’s Adventure Coast Challenge.

Erin's Flickr Photo

With 21 sets of coordinates to lead cachers to chosen locations around Coos Bay, North Bend and Charleston, avid participants in the increasingly popular, technology-fueled treasure hunt will find a fun and difficult test, even if you’re familiar with the area.

“A lot of them are things that people don’t even know exist out here,” said Steve Wilcox, a local geocaching enthusiast who helped organize this event.

Challenge completions, to be submitted to the Coos Bay-North Bend Visitor’s Center, will merit a trackable geocoin, uniquely made of myrtlewood thanks to the Oregon Connection House of Myrtlewood.

The coins can be hidden in a cache and those who find it can hide it again and again, often allowing the coins to travel all over the world. You can watch online to see where it last made its stop.

If none of that makes sense to you, here’s some enlightenment. Geocaching is a relatively new phenomenon of outdoor exploration (10 years old, to be exact), and geocachers search for hidden containers with trinkets inside, or “caches,” anywhere fellow cachers can hide them.

“It’s the fun of going out and trying to find something that’s hidden,” Wilcox said. “It’s just the challenge of finding it.” holds all the information needed for geocachers to find the hidden treasures. Coordinates and clues set cachers armed with Global Positioning Systems on the prowl. Paths to a cache can include breathtaking views, fun hikes or an interesting fact about the area that the hider wanted to share.

Geocaching originated near Portland, and since then, the Oregon Coast has become ripe with caches. Wilcox said that from Reedsport down to Bandon, the area holds about 700 total caches. The new challenge is meant to show off how great this area’s geocaching crowd is, and how fun it is to search along the coast.

Lincoln City has held a successful geocaching challenge for the past few years, and Wilcox thought it was about time the adventure coast tried it, too.

For local geocacher Sarah Boyd, it won’t be a surprise if this event becomes a tradition.

“The level and quality of caches here is just amazing,” Boyd said. “If you’re a cacher and you want to make a cache vacation, you could stay here for weeks and not get everything.”

She added that her friends from California love to visit, and call it “cache heaven.” Boyd, who’s been geocaching for nearly two years, takes her 2-year-old daughter, Josephine, and mother, Linda, caching all over the area, and she said her daughter absolutely loves the sport, even if at her young age it’s just a box of toys.

“It’s the adventure of what the next one is going to be like,” she said.

Wilcox said the local group likes to challenge one another, and hiders can get clever” some hidden caches even require a canoe trip to reach.

Plus, geocachers are in good company in the Bay Area, though non-cachers may not even realize it. Wilcox said there are probably a couple hundred people around here who geocache, and many of them discovered the sport by seeing someone mysteriously searching around hiking trails.

Often, you kind of need to stumble upon cachers. Wilcox saw a man searching for something with a GPS in 2006, and inquired.

“I asked, ‘What are you doing?’ And he said ‘Geocaching,’” Wilcox said, adding that he then helped the man find his cache.

He’s been hooked ever since, and wants to spread that love of local geocaching with fellow fans from California up to Portland that plan to attend the event.

Wilcox’s wife, Nancy, who also helped in organizing the challenge, stated their goal best.

“Geocaching got us out there,” she said. “And this is what we’re trying to do with the Oregon’s Adventure Coast Challenge ” bring visitors to our area and take them out to our best places.”

The World Article