Gold Country Communities Society (GCCS) is gearing up for their “Prequel GeoTour”, set to take place throughout the Gold Country region from September 9–11.
“It’s a prequel because our past geotours focused on pioneers and settlers,” says GCCS marketing manager Brandy Cooper-Chardon. “We wanted to take the opportunity to feature the people who came before, and highlight things that go back in time prior to our Phase 1 and Phase 2 geotours.”
This year’s geotour features Indigenous sites of significance, handed-down traditions, flora and fauna, historic points of interest, and Indigenous culture and heritage, with 50 new geocaches placed all over the region. Cooper-Chardon says she’s learned a lot while preparing stories for the caches.
”It’s hard to get facts from pre-colonization, pre-contact times as they were handed down orally. I’ve worked with a lot of First Nations bands, and we’ve really honoured the way they worked with the land.”
The event kicks off at the coverall in Cache Creek at 10 a.m. on Sept. 9, where there will be Indigenous demonstrations, crafts, and cuisine, plus an opportunity to buy geocaching swag. The event is open to everyone, and is free to attend.
“The only time money is involved is if you want to register for swag,” says Cooper-Chardon. “If you’re curious about geocaching then it’s a great way to come and learn, as a lot of this geotour is mobility friendly. The majority of the caches are park and grab, but junior event coordinator Leith McLean reminded us that a good chunk of geocachers enjoy the challenge of a hike, so we’ll have a few that are hike-worthy.”
She adds that McLean, who (along with his family) has been geocaching for many years, was a huge help planning the geotour.
“Leith was a godsend to us, because of his first-hand knowledge of geocaching.”
Geocaching is a worldwide game that is open to everyone, and people travel from all over to attend major events. Participants go in search of caches, where they will find a logbook so they can record they were there, along with trinkets they can take; they can also leave items for other geocachers to find and/or take.
“You might even find a trackable,” says Cooper-Chardon. “You log it online to show where it was found, then move it to another site.” The next person to find it logs its new location, then moves it again. “Whoever owns it can watch it travel. A trackable left here can be picked up by an international visitor and end up in Germany.”
The Prequel GeoTour will have “first to find” prizes for those who are the first people to arrive at one of the new geocaches. There will also be stickers at all fifty caches; anyone who finds and collects stickers from 24 caches will be able to get a special prize.
At 10 a.m. on Sept. 9 the GPX files for the new caches will be sent to participants using GPS trackers. Those who don’t have GPS will be able to get paper copies of the coordinates. The geocaches will remain in place for all to find once the event is over.
Cooper-Chardon says that what’s awesome about geocaching is that there’s something for everyone.
“If you’re looking for a three-hour hike we have you covered in Lillooet; if you’re looking for park and grab sites we have those. If you’re looking for stuff in between, like vistas and viewpoints, we have that too.
“Geocaches aren’t just placed somewhere for the sake of it; we want to show you something, or highlight an area of importance. We’re really excited to have geocaches from the Skuppah/Lytton area to 70 Mile, and from Lillooet to Savona.”