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Act of Kindness - Life is a treasure hunt

For the volunteer/creator of Scott County’s geocache trails, life is a treasure hunt

Written by Kathy Witt

 

Do you think outlaw Jesse James – infamous for stealing treasure via train robberies and bank heists – ever thought he’d be a clue on someone else’s quest for treasure? Probably not, but nearly 135 years after hanging up his Colt .45 Peacemakers, that is exactly what happened. And local geocacher Barbara Fox is the one responsible for putting him on the map – that is, the Historic Buffalo Geotrail map that takes geocachers to 10 historic sites throughout Stamping Ground.

Barbara

“Scott County is such a beautiful place with such rich history, so it is naturally the perfect place for geocaching,” said Barbara.

Marking its fifth anniversary this year, the Historic Buffalo Geotrail is one of two such trails – the other one being the Scott County GeoTrot – inviting treasure hunters on a hide-and-seek adventure through the county to such sights as Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm, Country Boy Brewing, the Rosenwald School and the Marriage Location of Jesse James’ Parents.

Barbara created the trails, including the one linking the community to the notorious bandit, in coordination with former Stamping Ground Mayor Kayla Jones and Georgetown/Scott County Tourism Director Lori Saunders.

Geocache ribbon cutting

“The trails are a lot of fun for families with children, as they like hunting for things,” said Barbara. “It also teaches navigational skills, which can come in handy if you ever become lost or disoriented.”

It is Barbara and her family who have taken on the responsibility of maintaining the caches and trails.

“Occasionally the geocache containers are not closed properly when people visit them, and the contents become wet from rain and snow,” said Barbara. “When this happens, we must dry out the contents or replace the wet or damaged logs. We also restock the contents in the cache.

“Unfortunately, sometimes a geocache is stolen so we also replace those that come up missing.”

GeoCache atRosenwald

For newcomers to the world of geocaching, Barbara describes it as a “real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices,” with participants navigating to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempting to find the geocache container hidden at that location. Inside the cache? Trinkets – anything from keychains to small toys for children. Called swag by geocachers, the goodies are stocked originally by the hider of the geocache.

“There are no set rules for swag, but most geocachers usually exchange items in a geocache,” said Barbara. “We have visited caches where some leave money and actually found a $20 bill once. That was truly a memorable geocache to find!”

Geocaches can be found all over the world and in a variety of locations – at local parks, at the end of a long hike, on the side of a city street – even underwater.

Stonehaven Geocache

“It is common for geocachers to hide caches in locations that are important to them, reflecting a special interest or skill of the cache owner,” said Barbara.

Between the Historic Buffalo Geotrail and the Scott County GeoTrot, Barbara has 21 sites to maintain, including the one connected to Jesse James, a letterbox geocache that brings participants to a historical marker (the actual house – or what’s left of it – sits on private property) where they can then read the geocache description.

GeoCache 1

Want to know what the marker says? Find out at www.geocaching.com, where you can learn more about geocaching and register for a free basic membership.

Did You Know . . . The mastermind behind geocaching is a computer consultant named Dave Ulmer who coined the name, “Great American GPS Stash Hunt.” His idea? Hide a container out in the woods and note the coordinates with a GPS unit. The year? 2000 – the year the U.S. government discontinued its use of Selective Availability, which led to an instantaneous upgrade and improvement of the accuracy of GPS technology.

 


Author: Kathryn Witt

Kathryn Witt is an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer, syndicated columnist and author of several books, including Secret Cincinnati, The Secret of the Belles and Atlanta Georgia: A Photographic Portrait. A member of SATW, Authors Guild and the Society of Children’s Books & Illustrators, she lives in northern Kentucky.


 


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