Welcome to CarolinaCacher

Welcome to my CarolinaCacher site. I'm Randy Hefner. My caching screen name on GPSgames, Geocaching, and TerraCaching, is RanHefner. I have been caching since June 24, 2005.

You may be asking, "What is caching?" You would probably know it as Geocaching. Geocaching is the combination of technology, outdoor activities, and treasure hunting. You use a GPSr (Global Positioning System receiver) to locate hidden containers of different sizes and shapes. All cache containers will contain a log (piece of paper, notepad, or notebook) to document your finding of the cache. Some containers are large enough to contain trinkets for trading. The rule is that you take somthing and leave something.

There are many handheld GPS receivers on the market ranging from around $75 to over $400! All of them will get you started with geocaching. The more expensive ones are good for geocaching and road navigation. The two most popular companies offering GPS receivers are Garmin and Magellan.

Garmin offers a GPS Guide For Beginners. It is a little "technical", but does offer a lot of great information about how the Global Positioning System works.

The online "How To" manual, wikiHow, offers a very good guide to geocaching. This is a good article for beginners. This article takes you step-by-step from selecting a GPS receiver and how to log your find.

A good place to start is to join a local caching club. There are several in the Carolinas. If you live in North Carolina, you should join the North Carolina Geocachers Organization. This "club" is for everyone in North Carolina or anyone interested in caching in NC.

If you live in the foothills area of North Carolina, there is a group for you! The NC Foothills Geocachers is affiliated with the NCGO above, but is targeted towards the members living in the foothills.

If you live in the Asheville area of North Carolina there is a Yahoo! Group called Western NC Geocaching.

If you live in the upstate of South Carolina, there is an organization for you. The Upstate South Carolina Geocachers Association covers the 10 counties in the northwest portion of South Carolina.

There are two South Carolina state-wide geocaching organizations. South Carolina Geocachers Association and South Carolina Society of Geocaching.

Join the organization that best fits your needs and participate in their events. You will get more out of geocaching by making new geocaching friends!
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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Geocache find #400 – North Carolina’s oldest Geocache, GC70 Octopus Garden.

400-GC70-Octopus Garden I wanted to search for North Carolina’s oldest geocache, GC70 Octopus Garden, but, I wanted it to be a milestone find.  I was approaching my 400th geocache find and decided it was time to find this 10-year old geocache. 

Milestones are points in your geocaching history worth noting.  Your first, 100th, 1000th, etc.  Sometimes the milestone just happens.  Other times you plan for a special geocache or geocaching event to coincide with the milestone.  I was wanting to find North Carolina’s oldest geocache for a long time.  Since my 400th geocache find was approaching, I decided to make it this one.  I wanted to wait for the 10th anniversary of GC70 Octopus Garden, but, I was only two geocache finds away and the anniversary was two months away.  Now’s the time to do it!

I was in Charlotte, North Carolina today scouting a location for an upcoming event (as yet to be announced).  What better time to mark number 400?  I first had to find number 399.  I chose a micro nearby for this purpose.  Sorry GC1A3T9 Altoids Sours – Tangerine.  After preparing for number 400, I found the parking area where the hunt for the Octopus Garden begins.  This was a puzzle geocache.  That means you must solve a puzzle to get the actual location of the geocache.  Luckily, the puzzle was pretty simple.   That’s good because I’m not too good at puzzles!  I solved the puzzle long ago so I already had the final coordinates.

By reading the previous logs of GC70 Octopus Garden, it was clear that the hardest part of finding the geocache was to find the right way to the geocache.  A direct course is not always the best way to get to the geocache locations.  I studied topographical and satellite maps of the area.  It was clear that a direct approach would require crossing one of two creeks.  It looks like a deviation from the prepared trail was in order.

As I left the trail it became abundantly clear that searching for the “Octopus Garden” shouldn’t be done just after a rain storm.  Well, I was already here, so, quit whining and start the swampy adventure.  After trekking through some very soft soil and knee high weeds and grass, I became completely soaked from the knees down.  I tried following a little use path.  It was taking me a little off course.  I found another “path” to follow.  It was a little better, but, still didn’t take me directly to the coordinates I had.  Time for bushwhacking!

After a couple hundred feet, I found what was surely the path intended to be used.  I was right…This time, anyway!  It wasn’t too long before I found the geocache.  It was right where I thought it would be.  Except for a few minor deviations, my planned path was correct.  There was no creek crossing involved.  It wouldn’t have mattered  because I was soaked anyway!

Me with "Octopus Garden" Me With The “Octopus Garden” Geocache

I stopped and reflected on my accomplishment.  I have just found North Carolina’s oldest geocache.  It was placed on September 30, 2000.  This was near the beginning of geocaching as we know it.  I thought it would be nice to have an event to celebrate this historical geocache.  I have just submitted an event cache.  I will keep you posted when it is approved.


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