Lennox & Addington County will host the ninth annual MEGA Geocaching event this Saturday. This event is hosted in partnership with the L&A County Geocachers and the Lennox & Addington Economic Development Office.
For those who may be wondering, geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played by adventure seekers using GPS devices or smartphones. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, and share the experience online.
Geocaches can be found anywhere. They can be as small as a fingernail or as big as a toolbox.
In anticipation of the event, Joe Tisdale, one of three organizers, spoke with the Beaver.
Tisdale and his wife, who also organizes the event, are founding members of L and A Geocachers.
“This is our ninth year and this is our seventh year as a mega event,” said Tisdale. “A mega event is designated by the geocaching headquarters as an event that regularly gets more than 500 people and we always have over 1000 people attend. Currently, we’re the only event in Canada that has that designation.”
There are only 63 Mega geocaching events worldwide, though this is the only one to be held in Canada. Most, as Tisdale states, are held in the United States or Germany.
“This year geocaching headquarters has sent an employee from Washington to come down and participate in an event, which is kind of unique and means they see it as a pretty big thing. We’re excited about that,” enthused Tisdale.
For yet another year, the geocaching event will have an on-water component.
The third annual Water Cache Canoe & Kayak Cruise will run Friday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the Salmon River beginning at the Roblin Boat Launch. A dozen geocaches will be placed along the shoreline of the river, spanning 5 km toward Croydon.
“We’ve provided canoes and kayaks to people who wouldn’t normally be able to access them so they can do this event,”said Tisdale.
“Friday evening we’re hosting an event wherein the geocache headquarters employee is actually hosting a meet and greet, so anyone with questions can come to that. Our big event is on Saturday, where we expect 1,100 people from all over the world. And, on Sunday, we’re hosting a big cleanup event as a way to give back to the community,” he explained.
The group will pick a local park in Napanee and intends to “do a full clean”.
“Basically, because the geocaches are in our community, our whole community is our game board and we like keeping it clean and tidy,” added Tisdale.
Geocaching, as Tisdale notes, is free to play, the only pre-requisite being that one has either a hand-held GPS or a smartphone. There is a free geocache app that attendees can download as well. This app registers approximately 20 geocaches depending on the participant’s location. From there, stated Tisdale, it’s just a matter of picking which one is most interesting.
“Once you get to the area where it’s hidden, you put your phone away and start an old-fashioned treasure hunt,” said Tisdale, adding, “Sometimes they’re really well hidden.”
Tisdale explains that he likes the event mainly for two reasons “It’s free and everyone has the same access. It doesn’t matter who you are-there’s a level playing field.”