|THE GREAT TRAVEL BUG RACE OF 2020|
|January 11, 2020 through December 31, 2020|
On Saturday, January 11, 2020, from 10:00 am - 12:00 noon geocachers will gather for a pre-race lunch get-togther. Afterwards they will dash off to drop their Travel Bugs in geocaches around the state, where they will await their official start in the race.
Travel Bugs competing in this yearlong event will race, via drops and visits, from geocache to geocache, accumulating both mileage and number of locations visited.
WHAT IS GEOCACHING?
Geocaching is a fun hobby enjoyed by many families and individuals. It is a high tech form of “hide and seek” or “treasure hunting” which uses a hand held GPS (or an App on a smart phone) to find hidden caches. Though some folks place small toys in the caches for kids to find, the real treasure is the fun of hunting for the hidden geocache.
There are millions of geocaches hidden all over the world. There are thousands of them hidden in Mississippi. Almost every town has them.
This is how it works: Individuals hide a container with a log sheet in it and if it is large enough they put toys in it for children to find. Then they upload the exact GPS coordinates of the container’s location to the free website: https://www.geocaching.com
Other individuals search the website for geocaches hidden in their area. They enter the coordinates of a local geocache into their GPS (or an App on their smart phone) and go hunting for the container. When they find the container they sign the log sheet in it (to prove they actually did find it) and then they log a “Found” note on the website letting others know that they found it.
Some geocaches have puzzles to solve, others have an educational purpose and teach a lesson on the history, nature, or architecture of the area where the geocache is hidden.
Others, are placed at a favorite restaurant or store which is geocacher friendly. Geocachers like to support restaurants and stores which allow geocaches to be hidden on their premises by choosing to eat and shop there. Often a geocache brings in customers who would not have otherwise visited that business or location if a geocache had not been hidden there.
Other geocaches are hidden in parks and rural areas and are usually just for the fun of the hunt, with no educational or marketing purpose.
WHAT ARE TRAVEL BUGS?
Another part of geocaching which many geocachers enjoy is tracking Travel Bugs. Basically they attach a dog tag with a unique number on it to a small toy and drop it off in a geocache container. They log the drop off on the website and eventually another geocacher comes along and takes the Travel Bug out of the geocache and moves it to another geocache where he drops it off. He then logs on the website where he dropped it off. The person who started it on its journey can then track the Travel Bug as it travels from one geocache to another around the state, country and world. The geocaching.com website shows how many miles it has traveled, how many states and countries it has visited, and has photos its finders upload of the places it visits. Many of these Travel Bugs take fascinating adventures all over the world and are fun to read about, especially for the geocacher who first released it.
Some geocaching groups hold informal Travel Bug Races (like the one this website is devoted to) by agreeing to release their Travel Bugs all at the same time. Then after a year or so they give awards to the owners whose bugs traveled the farthest, or visited the most states or countries, or some other goal they set for them. This adds even more fun to the hobby. Kids especially like Travel Bug Races, and often geocaching parents and grandparents will enter Travel Bugs on their behalf, some even with the child’s name on it. Then the children get to enjoy tracking “their” Travel Bug as it makes its adventures around the world.
There are many more fun aspects to geocaching. But as you can probably gather from this brief introduction, geocaching is a fun and exciting activity which many families and individuals enjoy. For more information visit: https://www.geocaching.com/guide/
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