McKenzie’s GeoTour is off to strong start
The McKenzie geocache coin is the creation of John Estes at McKenzie Laser and is truly unique. Treasure hunters who find a minimum number of hidden caches earn one of the 200 limited-edition mementoes. People who complete the passport will be entered to win a free McKenzie River getaway.
EUGENE: Adventure seekers tried out a new way to explore the local region, when Travel Lane County launched a new attraction along the McKenzie River. It was the first official Geocaching.com GeoTour in Oregon - and one of only 11 nationwide.
“We had a great event last Saturday morning and gave out 96 passports,” said Samara Phelps, Travel Lane County’s Adventure Center Manager. “People from Washington, Portland, eastern Oregon, Southern Oregon, the coast and the local area came to the event. Very experienced cachers and people logging their first cache stopped into the event.”
Armed with smartphones, or dedicated GPS (Global Positioning System) devices, both expert and novice geocachers use their devices to hunt for hidden objects. The “caches,” which are typically small, waterproof containers or canisters, are filled with treasures and trinkets, along with an official logbook the cachers sign and date.
14 groups made it back to the Adventure Center in the Gateway area before 6 p.m. on Saturday to collect a special commemorative coin. Phelps said that by the end of the week, “We had a couple complete the entire tour. People continue to come in each day to collect their coin or get information to plan their trip up the McKenzie River.”
People on the tour experienced sun, rain, snow and new places. While many people had been to the McKenzie River before, Phelps said everyone said they will return. “Most surveys and log entries report that people discovered new places,” she added.
An example comes from a couple from Eugene who took two days to find 24 caches and commented: “Really enjoyed our time on the GeoTour. Spent a lot of time at each cache area. Spent over an hour at Proxy Falls and Belknap Hot Springs. Really opened our eyes to how much there is to do up the River. Will be visiting most of the places again.”
To see the official tour and what cachers say about each location visit www.geocaching.com/adventures/geotours/eugenecascadescoast
An adapted tour is also being offered. Although not wheelchair accessible, it has the most accessible terrain and still allows someone to earn a coin. For more information, contact Travel Lane County at 541-484-5307.
McKenzie River area geocaching sites
Geocaching will hone skills with a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. When the cache is located, sign the logbook and return it to the cache. An item can be taken from the cache - just make sure to leave something of equal or greater value in its place. When finished, put the cache back exactly as found it, even if you think you see a better spot for it.
Here are a dozen local caches to get you started.
Here's some more near the Dee Wright Observatory
Know other local geocache sites? We'd be happy to post them here. Send info.
McKenzie River Reflections