Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Great Copper Rush - A Geocaching Event

Last year the Tulameen Turtles, AKA Kris Wheeler and Jordy Nielsen, hosted a weekend geocaching event in their hometown of Tulameen. The event highlighted the coal mining history of the area and how mining aided the development of the present towns, as well as towns that have faded away.

Video link at end of write up

That event was known as the Great Coal Rush; 80 geocaching addicts showed up for a fun filled weekend of searching for geocaches at historical areas from in-town places, to ghost towns up in the hills, and even on top of mountains. The event was such a hit that every one talked about it for months; those that couldn't make it to the event were sorry they missed out and promised them selves they would be at the next years.

Well, it just happened - The Great Copper Rush was held in the Princeton area spotlighting the contributions of copper mining to the Princeton region. 240 fellow geocachers showed up on the Aug 1 long weekend  for a smorgasbord of caches accessible by either car, truck, 4x4, and ATV. If you felt up for it, there were even hiking caches that taxed your body but rewarded you with breath taking views and put you right in the middle of history.

Ken and I only made it up for one day of caching, but we picked the best day - Sunday was the day that Kris and Jordy chose to get married while they had all of their caching friends in town. We just had to be there for that!

We arrived late at the Princeton Fairgrounds which was HQ for the weekend; the Turtles had arranged for the use of the fairgrounds which allowed the out of towners to camp in the in-field to save on costs. Tents, trailers, and the odd camper were set up around the grounds giving every one lots of elbow room. The fairgrounds also included a covered area that was used as the meeting area at night, as well as hosting a large pot luck dinner on the Sunday night.

Catapult Jeff and Iron Maiden were on hand to help distribute the event book, geocoins, t-shirts, and other trinkets that were pre-ordered by the cachers. We got our book and meandered outside looking to get our bearings to the closest cache. Well, just down the dirt road, about 800 feet away was the first cache; that was handy! We had no sooner pulled over and found the cache when we heard an SUV rushing up the dirt road and the driver began to lean on the horn - Teddy2K and crowd had arrived on scene!

We said our hellos to the group, and quickly realized that, as unprepared as we were to find the local caches, Teddy2K and group were fully prepared and in the groove. Well, being no fools, we decided to hitch our wagons with our fellow cachers and let them take the lead as we headed out as a group for a day of caching.

As the T2K group had done a lot of the out of town caches already, they worked in town finding the closer caches. That suited us perfectly as we only had a few hours to cache before it would be evening and the after dinner nuptials would begin. We spent the afternoon enjoying the company of our fellow cachers as we did some in-town caches and some caches on Forest Service Roads on the out skirts of town. Before we knew it, time was up and we had to return to the fairgrounds.

Awards were presented for categories such as "most FTFs", "most hiked caches", "most caches overall", etc. There were door prizes by ticket, and a prize for the geocachers who travelled the furthest to attend. But the highlight of the weekend was the marriage ceremony.

Kris and Jordy are pretty laid back folks, and their wedding ceremony was just as low keyed and sweet as they are. An informal wedding with family and 240 geocachers was right on the mark for them - Jordy was dressed out as Indiana Jones, which fit his love of the outdoors, and Kris sported fairy wings to show off her whimsical side. AND, she wore a dress! OMG! :)  Most of us only see Kris and Jordy out on the trails getting gritty while they search out the elusive ammo cans, to see Kris in a dress was a rarity for our group. Makes us remember that people have real lives outside of the settings we usually see them in.

The handsome groom and beautiful bride beamed at each other during the ceremony, and had the biggest smiles on their faces the whole time - it looked good on them! And they were duly moved when one of their wedding gifts was a high end Garmin GPS purchased with contributions from the weekend attendees. Plus they had a small nest egg to help celebrate their honeymoon

All in all in was a great weekend - all kinds of caching to fit each cachers taste and skill levels, complete with a Root Beer saloon, a kids movie at night on the big out door screen, and a poker game for the adults.

If that wasn't enough to wear them out, it's only been two weeks and already the Tulameen Turtles have let it drop that there will be another event next year, sure to be bigger and better than this year. A tall order indeed!

Many thanks to Kris and Jordy for countless hours of preparation time for the event. And thanks to their helpers, of which I know they worked just as hard.....to make a very enjoyable weekend for their fellow cachers.

Click here to view the video