Once again we are so pleased to have Josh and Liz from Peanuts or Pretzels guest post for us this month! This time they are sharing how they fell in love with Geocaching - so appropriate for the upcoming celebration of Valentine's Day.
People often ask us how we learned about geocaching, and why we got started. But one question we are rarely asked is "How did you fall in love with Geocaching?" I wish we were asked this more often. I have a feeling that people who are unfamiliar with the game think we're a little strange to run around looking for tupperware in the woods. But that's because they just don't get what made us come to enjoy it so much. Our affinity for Geocaching came over time, and one of the main reasons was because of the Georgia State Parks GeoTour that took us all over our beautiful home state of Georgia. How could a GeoTour make us fall in love with a game? Well, let me tell you.
Geocaching as a Way to Explore While We Travel
Our first time actually going geocaching together was during a road trip. That's when we got the idea of using geocaching as way to explore new territory. We also realized that geocaching is an inexpensive way to find adventure during our travels. After all, saving money here and there means that we can go more cool places! We immediately enjoyed the way geocaching opened our eyes to a different travel adventure, but we were surprised at how it opened our eyes and gave us a new appreciation for our home state of Georgia. The perfect example of this is the Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites GeoTour. Suddenly, our weekends were filled with geocaching adventure and explorations all around the state!
Georgia State Parks GeoTour
We discovered this GeoTour during a weekend getaway to Amicalola Falls State Park in the north Georgia Mountains. We stayed the weekend in one of their quaint cabins near the top of the mountain. As the name implies, the falls are the main attraction here, but there is also a great hiking trails around the falls (and stairs right beside them). It is definitely worth the trip up and down the stairs!
During our visit, we asked the ranger at the station what else we could discover in the area, and he asked us if we had ever gone Geocaching? Of course, we were familiar with the game already, so that piqued our interest to hear what he had to say.
The ranger handed us a of brochure that he called a "Geo-Passport." He began explaining that there is a GeoTour set up at each of the state parks and historic sites all around Georgia. Each state park has an official cache hidden which contains a stamp that corresponds with a square on the back of the Geo-Passport. As you go exploring all the different state parks, you can collect the stamps to fill up your passport!
The added element of having a goal to work toward, or a challenge to complete, really got us interested in trying the GeoTour out. So we grabbed a couple Geo-Passports and decided to go out and discover the official cache of the GeoTour in Amicolola State Park, which just happened to be on top of the mountain (with the ranger station at the bottom!).
Check out the Georgia State Park GeoTour HERE
You Won't Give Up on The Goal
After a long, but beautiful hike, right up next to the waterfall, we made our way to where the cache should be located. Now, we searched for quite a while for this mystery cache with a stamp in it. In some cases, we may have given up, but this was the ONLY stamp in this park...so we had to get it if we wanted to complete the challenge. Finally, we made the discovery. We opened the cache, stamped our new passports in the appropriate square, and counted up how many more we needed to collect.
It was extremely exciting to us to place that first stamp. Now our minds were going! "Let's fill this thing" I told Liz. This moment was really the start of something with our geocaching adventures. It has prompted years of road trips all around our beautiful state, in and out of state parks.
Discover New Places With a Geocaching GeoTour
We found ourselves always planning the next weekend getaway in search of new adventures, and our next stamp. Criss-crossing our state, we both went to many places that we had never been before. We discovered lakes we never knew about, awesome hiking, beautiful views, and so much more! Constantly we found ourselves saying "this is such a great place I never knew about, I want to come back!"
Since we both enjoy road trips, we really love the fact that the Georgia State Parks GeoTour gave us a reason to get away from the big city and explore back highways. It also gave us a reason to get outside! Fresh air, and a bit of exercise can really do you some good. Especially after a long, stressful week at work. Personally, I loved being able to show Liz around my home state of Georgia. Because Liz is from Idaho and didn't know much about Georgia history and landscape, it was great to be able to show her around.
Georgia State Historic Sites Geo-Tour
Growing up in Georgia, I thought I had seen everything it had to offer. That is, until we started exploring our state through the Georgia Historic History GeoTrail. It didn't take long for me to start saying "wow, even I have never been here before." It was eye-opening to me even though I grew up here. So often times, we are both discovering a place for the first time!
Being the curious, history-buffs that we both are, another aspect that we really enjoy about the GeoTour is visiting and learning about all the historical sites. Again growing up in Georgia and taking Georgia History classes, I thought I was an expert on Georgia History. But there is so much to discover, we're constantly learning new things. And we love it!
An example of this is when we were standing at the foot of the former Cherokee Capital in Calhoun, GA; at New Echota Historic Site. This beautiful site is full of history that I had no idea existed in Georgia! We walked around the site exploring and reading about buildings that were on the site. It was easy to see why the Cherokee people made this the capital on the Cherokee Indian Tribe. Just another example of using geocaching to educate, no matter how old you are.
Check out the Georgia State Historic Sites GeoTour HERE
Geo-Achievements for Your Discoveries
Once you have acquired enough stamps on your passport, you can then receive a Georgia State Park Geo-Coin. There are three levels in where you earn Geo-Coins. You receive a Bronze level Geo-Coin with 15 finds, Silver for 30 finds and Gold for 40 finds. There are also bonus caches in various parks once you have reached these different levels.
For the Historic Sites, you receive cards once you discover the cache at the sites. Once you have collected all the appropriate cards, you receive a Historic Sites Pathtag for that particular set of historic sites.
How We Fell in LOVE With Geocaching?
Being travelers, we never felt that we needed a reason to get outside and explore our state. But the Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites GeoTour gave us a goal to set out and accomplish. This challenge of filling up our Geo-Passport with stamps from all the Georgia State Parks is a big reason why geocaching became such a big part of our travels. We couldn't help but love the fact that we were finding ourselves on little road trips across our beautiful state of Georgia in search of history, beautiful landscapes, and of course the discovery of geocaches. We want to thank our state of Georgia and Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites for getting us out of the house in search of new adventure.
We're Josh & Liz, expert travelers who love a good Geocaching adventure. Visit our website Peanuts or Pretzels to find out how we can help make your trip planning easier and more fun...as well as incorporating Geocaching into your next vacation!
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