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March 25, 2013 03:46 PM CDT

Snowshoeing and Geocaching Event

Author: Pat Ealy. 206 Reads
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On March 2 the Barrens Trail in Buckhorn State Park was the setting for a snowshoe hike event on a sunny Saturday afternoon.  Mother Nature had provided a good snow cover this year, and the Friends of Buckhorn State Park had provided 15 sets of adult-sized snowshoes for park users to check out if they did not have any of their own to use.  (That would be the two sandlanders.)  About forty people of all ages, from near and far, geocachers and non, hiked and snowshoed all or part of the approximately two-mile route along which there just happened to be a series of eight Ranger Rick geocaches hidden.  A ninth cache, the final of the series, is located at the park office, and that is where the post-hike socializing took place, with goodies and beverages available for those who had worked hard on the trail.  The event hosts were part-time park employee Sheri Benson (slbens) and park manager Heather Wolf (feora57).

 Caching with a group of people is a different experience.  Caching with a big group is really different!  Some cachers were better on the snow shoes (this was our first time using them), and they were usually farther along the trail.  Others were motivated to be at the front so that they could be in on the finds.  Then there were those who took the hike at a more leisurely pace, watching the kids play, chatting with each other, taking photos... trying not to fall... (That would be the two sandlanders).  No matter who made the find or who brought up the rear, everyone got the chance to sign the log book and stamp their Ranger Rick passports before the group moved on to the next cache down the trail. 


Just a brief background on the caches we did at the event... Buckhorn Park covers more than 8000 acres, and the existing cache hides about a year ago were spread far and wide.  The Ranger Rick geocaches in the park came about last summer as a way to encourage more use of the park’s GPS units and to provide activities for families to enjoy during their park visits.  With these caches being located fairly near the park office and being intentionally easier to be fun for families and newer geocachers, park personnel saw more enthusiastic cachers who had successful experiences on the trail, and usage increased.  This is the same Ranger Rick who promotes outdoor activities and who has the nature magazine that is published by the National Wildlife Federation.  The Buckhorn Park Friends group purchased the cache materials from the organization for the park, and Sheri and Heather worked to get the geocache trail established.


In addition to the nine Ranger Rick caches, there are currently eight caches that highlight the history of Buckhorn, and a total of 29 caches within the park boundaries.  Other things to do in Buckhorn State Park are walk-in (and boat-in) camping, a swimming beach, canoeing, cross-country skiing, fishing, bird and animal watching, and seasonal hunting.  The park is located in central Wisconsin between Mauston and Necedah and is easily accessed from I-90/94 and Highway 21.  If you are trying to decide where to taking a caching trip, check out Buckhorn State Park.  Forty people recently found out what a great place it is to visit, to explore, and to go geocaching.



Submission by Sandlanders

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Category: 2013 Spring Newsletter
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