I’ve been at Mt. Hood Meadows for many years and have had many incredible days - mostly when the mountain is covered with snow. And while I have hiked the mountain many times, the added adventure of Geocaching made for one of my most memorable days on the mountain.
The video above shows locations of Geocaches at Meadows. So you may want to fast-forward past those parts if you're coming up for our adventure.
Geocaching combines the best of hiking or a mountain run if you want to be competitive, with a scavenger hunt. You can turn your phone into a GPS locator by plugging in cache coordinates that guides you to the general area. Hints then help you discover the cache - in this case a shoe box sized plastic container with a rubber stamp to verify you found it.
The sponsor of our Geocache Dash was GAIA GPS - which offers a free app you can download for you mobile device. I wasn’t competing today and I used only my google browser and google maps for my GPS. It worked fine a long as I had cell service (the GAIA app doesn’t require cell service which is a huge benefit in remote locations.) I found three of the caches in a leisurely 90 minute hike. One of our competitors found all seven caches in the allotted hour and 15 minutes of the competition.
While much of the game was like taking a walk in the woods, as you hone in on the cache there is a rise of excitement as you become an adventurer and treasure hunter. The hints were well written, requiring some thinking, hit and miss discovery, alignment with landmarks and just plain getting down and looking under things. Then once the cache has been found, opened and logged, you need to strategize the best route for the next Geocache.
The amazing views, hiking trails surrounded with wildflowers and just getting exercise on the mountain was both refreshing and exhilarating.
We want to thank our sponsors - COAST and GAIA GPS for supporting this incredibly fun activity. You can have your Geocache adventure weekends through Labor Day at Meadows. We’re leaving the caches and you can pick up coordinate and hint sheets on the deck.