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Cache is king: celebrate geocaching with six town hunt

Fifteen years ago a computer consultant hid a treasure box in the woods near Estacada and asked his friends to find it using newly available GPS systems.

That lark turned into a world-wide phenomenon called geocaching.

Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory has organized a free three-day celebration of this home-grown sensation called “Cache the Stash Challenge.” Six communities — Estacada, Damascus, Sandy, Canby North Clackamas and West Linn — will host geocache challenge hunts Saturday, Aug. 8.

The original idea of geocaching was to hide a container with a few small trinkets in a cache and note coordinates with a GPS unit. The seeker then would have to locate the stash using only the GPS. Once found, the finder would then take a trinket, leave a trinket and sign a logbook in the cache. This hide-and-seek game among a few friends grew to a hobby with about four million participants worldwide.

In the “Cache the Stash Challenge,” participants will attempt to find six different puzzle pieces, representing six Clackamas County communities. Five hundred stamp-shaped coins have been minted for each challenge and the coins fit together to form a puzzle cube.

Once the seeker finds the cache, there will be a code in the cache box which the seeker will use to redeem for a postage stamp coin.

“The idea is to get people out and moving and visiting these communities,” said Jarrod Lyman, communications specialist for Mt. Hood Territory.

Participation is free for the “Cache the Stash Challenge,” but registration is required to be eligible for prize drawings. The kick-off is at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, 1726 Washington St., Oregon City.

There will be a Geo-Heritage Tour on Friday, Aug. 7. Cost is $14. The tour will visit important cache sites and is expected to take about 10 hours. Participants should bring a lunch, snack and drinks and wear appropriate clothes for hiking.

On Sunday, Aug. 9, there will geocaching-related activities at the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., ending with prize drawings, announcements of winners and photos at 6 p.m.

For more information on geocaching visit: geocaching.com. Cache the Stash Challenge details are at Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory website: mthoodterritory.com.

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