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kids, and they know what to do.” About six much warmer weeks

earlier, Mueller had spent an afternoon devising four different hiking routes for the Cub Scouts where he planned to hide three caches each for this event. He used his GPS unit to record coor- dinates for hidden cache containers: plastic food storage boxes, recycled peanut butter jars, and tennis ball tubes, stripped of labels, cleaned, and covered with camouflage-patterned duct tape for disguise. Treasures within consisted of small toys and trinkets— tops, rulers, plastic insects—that Mueller had purchased for the entire event from a novelty store for about $60. A pencil and logbook or piece

Teamwork unites Jack Parry, Jimmy Fritzjunker, Dominic Schwirtz, and Aaron Munson (below, from left) in the task of learning how to read the GPS device. At the end of the trail, Jim Parry helps his son Jack grab an elevated cache (opposite right).

of paper, which players sign and date when they’ve reached it, accompanied each cache. “Caches can cost as little as you

want them to,” said geocaching expert Mary Stevens, volunteer coordinator for Get in the Game! “You can do it for next to nothing. You can use plastic containers from home. Prizes can be leftover patches or trinkets that are crowding your council—or child’s—closet.” Anything but break- able items or food, which may attract unwanted animal visitors, are fair game for the caches. Back in the field, Mueller’s coor-

dinates coincided with log piles, trees with low Y-shaped trunks, and trail signs—landmarks where he could place the cache containers with a hint of mystery. While public geocaches can be maddeningly hidden, “We have to make it a little easier for Cub Scouts,” said Mueller, strewing

leaves over a tape-covered Tupperware container placed behind a tree stump. “You want them to find it.”

BUT FIRST, THE BOYS—other than

Jack—needed background on the magic of GPS guidance. Using a blow-up globe, Mueller explained to a group of five Cub Scouts that a series of 24 satellites arranged like a constel- lation in the sky use the grid system of latitude and longitude to tell us where we are in the world. “We’re doing a scavenger hunt in

the woods, but with satellites provid- ing the clues,” said Mueller, moving his pupils outdoors where the GPS unit could receive unobstructed signals. “This is radio reconnaissance. It’s like listening to the satellites.” “That looks like a clock,” one

second-grader remarked. “A compass is like a clock,” said

Mueller. “It tells you things. In this case, it tells you where to walk.” The group broke up for the field

hunt, two boys and their parents paired with a GPS unit pre-loaded with the course coordinates. Tracking their first waypoint in an open field, 8-year-old Omeed Feshami of Pack 93 in Spring Valley and his father, Mo Feshami, walked where the device pointed: west toward the lodge. When they approached the porch where the cache was hidden, they got confused and wandered off around the front of the building, before returning to the right spot several minutes later. GPS units are inaccurate within 20 feet of the coordinates, and geocach- ers must use old-fashioned detective skills Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60
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