by Jon Sudar
HUERFANO- I had been working as a volunteer at Lathrop State Park for almost three years when John Brandstatter, the Lathrop State Park Manager, asked if I knew anything about geocaching. I told him that I had heard about it. John had been to a regional State Park Managers meeting in Colorado Springs, where one of their outdoor activities was a geocaching event. John said that geocaching was fun and challenging, and he would like to have additional geocaches in Lathrop SP. John asked if I would develop a challenging geocache program. Grinning from ear to ear, I accepted his offer.
Using the park premium membership, I accessed Geocashing.com. The first thing that caught my eye was that over 5 million people worldwide participate in geocaching. Reading the list of geocaches in Huerfano County, I found that there are four geocaches in Walsenburg, four about ½ mile out of town, and eight within Lathrop SP with more geocaches planned before the end of the year. There are other geocaches in Huerfano County including La Veta and Gardner.
Most geocaches are named Traditional, indicating a single hidden container with a log-in sheet and quite often souvenirs. The finder may take the souvenir of their choice and replace it with one of equal value.
There are 16 types of geocaches besides Traditional located worldwide. One of them is an EarthCache. There are two of them in Huerfano County. One is Huerfano Butte and the other is Devil’s Stairsteps. Lathrop SP is currently developing two or three EarthCaches. There is no container to find. The coordinates to find an EarthCache are listed in the description. Some are close to the EarthCache and some are quite a distance away, but the seeker can easily indentify the distant EarthCache. The EarthCache information sheet has instructions on what the finder must do to receive credit for the find.
Interested in geocaching? You’ll need a GPS unit or some other device to determine latitude and longitude in degrees, minutes and seconds, and you will need access to a computer. On the computer, type in http://www.geocaching.com or use a search engine and type in geocaching. The geocaching home page is full of information. One of the first items you see is that it is free to become a geocacher. Type 81089 where you see postal code, country, etc in the #1 Browse section and click. This takes you to the All Geocaches descriptions. The first two pages list those in Huerfano County, those near Walsenburg and in Lathrop SP.
In the upper right corner on any page, click register and it will take you to the Join the geocaching.com community page. Joining is fast and easy. Click on the Get a Basic Membership box and go to Membership Registration. Create a unique username and password for your Geocache account. If necessary, start a new email account at Gmail or hotmail. Follow instructions until you receive notice that you are now an official geocacher!
There are thousands of links at geocache.com. Surf the links and discover the variety of awards, and badges you can collect geocaching. Then enjoy the search in the field for a specific geocache and the joy of accomplishment finding the geocache.
By the way, I am not a geocacher seeker. I am the guy who finds places in Lathrop SP to hide some of those geocaches. I try to hide them well enough so that people grind their teeth or sweat blood trying to find a geocache. I enjoy the natural world of Huerfano County and encourage you to enjoy it as well with the challenging sport of Geocaching.