Saturday, January 16, 2021

Geocaching Along Clearfield County's Five Trails

Geocaching has seemed like something I'd like to do -- I just didn't know how to get started or what was involved. 



Not familiar with it? Has the idea of treasure-hunting every appealed to you? Geocaching is similar, except that it's real, unlike the myths of gold buried in them thar hills. In fact, gecaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Using your phone or some other GPS device, you navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then hunt around trying to locate the hidden geocache -- usually a container -- hidden at that location.



During a recent stay in Clearfield County, I realized that trying out some geocaching would be a great way to explore the county and enjoy the scenery of this region. The county offers five geocaching trails, with a total of 150 of the more than 3 million geocaches available worldwide. A dedicated geocacher can complete a trail in one weekend if they plan their route well.




Expert geocachers will be excited to know that if you complete all five of the geocach trails, you'll receive a trackable geocoin. A more modest goal is to collect 25 codes -- located within each cache -- on any single trail which you can redeem for a collectible geocoin.



Clearfield County's five geocaching trails include:

  • CCGT Cemeteries will take you through the county's historic cemeteries, where you'll discover hometown heroes and important local figures; 
  • CCGT Wet N' Wild Waterways takes you from the largest rivers and lakes to the smallest creeks and ponds
  • CCGT Parks and Recreation will take you to the county's most popular parks and outdoor spots;
  • CCGT Hometown Heroes brings you to the spots that pay tribute to local soldiers and servicemembers; and
  • CCGT Forgotten Clearfield County carries you to see the places of the county's rich history through mining, ghost towns, abandoned cemeteries, Civil War uprising and its Native American presence.

Clearfield County recommends that you plan your route ahead of time to maximize your time, creating loops so you don't need to constantly backtrack. If you're coming from out of town, book a hotel room ahead of time, or stay in one of the county's cozy bed and breakfast inns, such as The Road Less Treaveled, Victorian Lofts, the Depot at Doolittles, or Oak Mountain Hideaway. Create loops so you don't backtrack. Be sure to book your hotel room ahead of time.


If you're a leisurely geocach hunter, then take your time to explore both the geocach sites and all that the county has to offer: some lovely parks (most/all of which offer geocaches), Bilger Rocks, ride one of the rail trails (we've riden parts of the David Ammerman Trail as well as the Houtzdale Rail Trail), going to one of the local wineries, and my absolute favorite activity, viewing the wild elk.



For our most recent trip, we stayed at Oak Mountain Hideaway in Frenchville, so we started out at Keewayden Cemetery, which turned out to be our very first geocach find ever! 



Then we headed over to Congress Hill Cemetery and Centre Cemetery. Some we found, some we didn't. After the first cemetery, you sort of figure out about where to look.


The one at Panther Rocks was rated as very difficult. Despite three of us hunting for it, we didn't find it, so yes, I can confirm completely that it was in fact difficult to find -- we were probably staring right at it. A disappointment, but it was so worth visiting Panther Rocks.

 


One of the reasons why I'm hooked on geocaching is that it's a great way -- read, "great excuse" -- to get outside and see different things. Like another game that I wrote about -- Ingress, which combines the virtual with the real world, geocaching will lead you off the beaten trail. And yes, we tried this during the Covid-19 Pandemic -- it's a great activity during the pandemic that kept us safely away from folks outside of our bubble.



As we left Clearfield County, we decided to check out a couple more geocaches, at the Frenchville VFW and the Frenchville Old Schoolhouse. We found both -- and are definitely hooked on geocaching!



Geocaching.com suggests the following steps to get started:

  • Register for a free Basic Membership.
  • Visit the "Hide & Seek a Cache" page.
  • Enter your postal code and click "search."
  • Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
  • Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.
  • Use your GPS device to help you find the hidden geocache.

Know before you go: wear sensible shoes (hiking boots?), download the geocaching app, bring a pen and a "passport" (available at the Clearfield County Visitors Center) or notebook to record your finds; for fun, bring along some inexpensive trinkets to put inside the containers -- if you take something, give something!



For other things to see and do in Clearfield County, check out the articles below:

24-in-24 Clearfield Challenge
Adventure Awaits in Clearfield County
Bee Kind Winery
Benezette Winery
Bilger RocksUpdate to Bilger Rocks
Bloody Knox Cabin
Clearfield County Historical Society Museum
Comfort Suites Dubois
David S Ammerman (Rail) Trail
Daytrip into Elk Country
Denny's Beer Barrel Pub
Depot at Doolittles
Depot at Doolittles Bed & Breakfast (Presidential Suite)
Elk Visitors Center
Grice Museum
Houtzdale Rail Trail
Kayaking on Shaggers Inn Pond
Kayaking on the West Branch Susquehanna River
Marion Brooks Natural Area
Oak Mountain Hideaway Part 1: Northstar Cabin
Parker Dam State Park Cabins
Road Less Traveled Bed & Breakfast 
Starr Hill Winery
Strawberrytree Teahouse & Boutiques
Victorian Lofts Bed & Breakfast
Winery at Wilcox

Website: https://www.visitclearfieldcounty.org/geocaching; https://www.geocaching.com/play/geotours/clearfield-county; http://visitclearfieldcounty.org/geocaching





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