Thirty special “Time to Explore” geocoins have been created for this year’s event.

Gold Country geocaching event a time to explore

The fourth annual event, on the Labour Day weekend, has a night cache, a Munzee walk, and the chance to win one of 30 limited edition coins.

It’s almost “Time to Explore”, as the Gold Country Communities Society (GCCS) gears up for its fourth annual geocaching weekend from September 2 to 5. It will give participants an opportunity to explore several Gold Country communities, take part in a wide variety of events, win prizes, and try to collect a rare “Time to Explore” geocoin, of which only 30 have been produced.

“We are thrilled to partner with the B.C. Geocaching Association (BCGA) to promote this great pastime in Gold Country,” says GCCS chief operating officer Terri Hadwin. “Gold Country and BCGA are co-hosting the starting day in Lillooet, and we are expecting one of our highest turnouts ever for the event.”

It starts in Lillooet on Friday, September 2, with registration beginning at 9 a.m. at the Cayoosh campground. There will be an evening barbecue, then a pancake breakfast at the campground on the morning of the 3rd. The new geocaches, created specially for the event, will be uploaded at 9 a.m., with participants ending the day at a barbecue at the Dabbling Duck N’ B&B at Loon Lake.

The third day, Sunday the 4th, ends with a free movie night in Clinton and the release of a special night cache. The event concludes in Cache Creek on the 5th, with a Pokémon Go and Munzee walk beginning at 10 a.m. at the visitor centre. A prize draw at noon at the Cache Creek park concludes the event.

“Munzees are a new way of exploring a community,” explains Hadwin. “It’s a smartphone ‘hide and seek’ game, where you are guided to various spots within a community to seek out and add that find to your virtual list. It will be interesting to see if Munzees become as popular and successful as the geocaching program has been.”

The Geocache Event received funding from Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT), and was the NDIT’s 2,000th funding project since it was created in 2005. In recognition of this milestone, NDIT and GCCS have teamed up to create special “trust tokens”, which will be hidden in geocaches throughout the area. These “pathtags” can be found in the permanent Gold Country GeoTour geocaches, or earned at daily events. Geocachers who collect 10 of the trust token pathtags can redeem them for one of 30 specially-made geocoins.

A registration fee of $30 gives participants a bag full of goodies, including a barbecue voucher for Friday night, although anyone who wants to drop by the events is free to take part. Participants do not have to take part on all days; they can do as much or as little as they want, and mix-and-match the events to customize their weekend. Hadwin says there is a good mix of new geocaches to find, from easy to difficult, with most of the geocaches released for the event located outside communities on hiking trails.

“On average we have about 400 unique entry logs for the geocaching weekend,” she says. “About 90 per cent of the participants are from outside the Gold Country region.” She adds that organizers have been told that some people plan their yearly vacation around the annual event. “We have people come from Alberta and Seattle every year.

“We hope to keep the event going and growing every year. As long as we have community support and interest from our visitors, we will continue to host this annual geocaching event.” She gives a big thank you to all the funders and supporters: the province of B.C.; BCGA; NDIT; the District of Lillooet and Village of Cache Creek; Landsharkz; Worldcaching; Backroad Mapbooks; and the residents of Clinton.

The registration form, as well as complete details of the weekend, can be found at www.goldtrail.com/events.cfm.