Join the Game: Geocaching in the New River Gorge Area
For those tech-savvy outdoor lovers who like to wander, to seek, to explore and discover, there's a game in the Gorge calling your name. It's called geocaching, and it combines hiking, technology, story-sharing and keepsake trinkets into a family-fun activity.
The game is simple:
• You look up a cache point on the geocaching website, copy the coordinates into GPS
• Hike out to the location. Hidden there will be a container of some sort, filled with random items left by other geocachers. The object of the game is to find the hidden container.
• If you find the cache, you swap out one of your own items with the ones in the box, earning your own memento of the trip and leaving a token for the next person who uncovers the box.
• You log online that you've found the cache, and share a little bit about your journey.
There are hundreds of caches stashed away in the Gorge, marking little hideaways you may have otherwise missed. That's what's so wonderful about caching— it connects explorers who track down paths less discovered, then allows them to share the journey with other wanderers, like you.
And where better to wander than the New Rover Gorge, one of the most beautiful places on earth? Here are a few suggested beginner caches to get you started:
Beauty Mountain Overlook Hike 4-miles along rocky terrain and twisted roots to see the views of your life— scenic overlooks and tucked away waterfalls dot the trail and leave lots of room to explore on your way to the cache.
The Spy Rock Cache The first in a series of Civil War cache hunts, this easy trail will lead you to interesting background about battle tactics of the period.
The Whipple Company Store Not all faces will lead you deep into the wilderness. This hide, part of an official "Haunted Challenge" of 20 creepy locations, leads cachers just outside the Whipple Company Store. The heritage museum was once the only resource for coal miners and their families.
Coal Heritage Geotrail #9 Also part of a larger series of Geocahes, this slightly more difficult but short, 1-mile trek follows the Thurmond-Minden Trail, one of several near the ghost town of Thurmond. You can stop off and see the Thurmond Train Depot and explore the remains of the old coal town.
What cache catches your attention?