Hunting for history: discover Mississippi like only the local know it in a high-tech search for hidden treasure.David McNeill has only lived in Mississippi for a few short months, but he can tell you where 4-H was founded and which town boasts the state's most bizarre shrine to Elvis.
The 22-year-old graduate student is getting to know his new environs even better than the old-timers, with the help of a hand-held Global Positioning System Global Positioning System: see navigation satellite.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Precise satellite-based navigation and location system originally developed for U.S. military use. (GPS) device and coordinates that lead to some of the neatest places in the state.
It's called geocaching Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. (pronounced jee-oh-cash-ing)--a high-tech game of hide-and-seek that's popping up all over the world and right under your nose.
Since McNeill moved to Starkville from Knoxville, Tennessee “Knoxville” redirects here. For other uses, see Knoxville (disambiguation).
Founded in 1786, Knoxville is the third-largest city in the state of Tennessee, behind Memphis and Nashville, and is the county seat of Knox CountyGR6. , last August, the game has led him to find a lowland trail along the Natchez Trace Natchez Trace, road, from Natchez, Miss., to Nashville, Tenn., of great commercial and military importance from the 1780s to the 1830s. It grew from a series of Native American trails used in the 18th cent. by the French, English, and Spanish. and an old Confederate cemetery near Saltillo.
"These are the kinds of things I probably wouldn't have been able to find on my own," he said. "It's given me a reason to drive out in the country and see what's there."
It works like this: A geocacher hides a small watertight container--like a film canister or an ammunition box--and posts the GPS coordinates on a Web site along with clues and history about the location.
Other geocachers use the coordinates to get within a few feet of the site and then hunt around for the exact location. Once they find it, there's a log book inside to sign and often small trinkets to take--while leaving something else behind for the next person to discover.
"It's like a treasure hunt for grownups, with a little gadgetry gadg·et·ry
1. Gadgets considered as a group.
2. The design or construction of gadgets.
Noun 1. gadgetry - appliances collectively; "laborsaving gadgetry" thrown in," said John Supple John Supple (ca 1810 – 1869) was an Ontario businessman and political figure. He represented Renfrew North in the 1st Parliament of Ontario as a Conservative member from 1867 to 1869.
He was born in Ireland around 1810. , an Oxford geocacher who heard about the game from a coworker co·work·er or co-work·er
One who works with another; a fellow worker. in the University of Mississippi's information technology department.
He bought his first GPS unit to use for work a couple of years ago and quickly got hooked on the game, exhausting all the hidden caches within a half-day's drive. Meanwhile, he hid his own around the town and campus. He placed one just to point out the recently restored Oxford-Ole Miss Depot and posted a link online for people to read about its history.
"The university did such a good job renovating it," he said. "But it's something many people who drive through Oxford would otherwise never see."
Still young and virtually invisible, the sport remains unknown to folks who daily pass by the 900 or so caches hidden across Mississippi. But those who know where to look will find them in cities, on farms, and in forests--under a hedge, atop a rafter, or beside a fallen tree.
The hide-and-seek concept wasn't possible before May 2000, when the Clinton administration Noun 1. Clinton administration - the executive under President Clinton
executive - persons who administer the law did away with government-mandated interference with the GPS signals The Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites broadcast a variety of signals to receivers (termed the 'user segment' of the system) to enable the determination of location and synchronized time. civilians could pick up. Before then, the best signals could only get a GPS user within a couple hundred feet of a site; with the improved signal, the device can hone in as close as five feet on a clear day.
The first cache was hidden that May near Portland, Oregon, and the game soon took off with the founding of the Web site www.geocaching.com, maintained today by the Seattle company Groundspeak.
In the fall of 2000, a CNN CNN
or Cable News Network
Subsidiary company of Turner Broadcasting Systems. It was created by Ted Turner in 1980 to present 24-hour live news broadcasts, using satellites to transmit reports from news bureaus around the world. report on the game caught the eye of Tony Boutwell, an advertising executive in Meridian, who decided to look for some caches in Mississippi. There weren't any.
So Boutwell bought a Tupperware box and packed it with a little notebook, a multi-tool, and a hand-warmer. He placed it at beautiful Bonita Bonita (Spanish and Portuguese for "beautiful") is the name of:
"Most people coming through Meridian just stop for gas and a hamburger, and that's all they know about the city," he said. "This is a way to say, 'Here is our little gem.'"
Today there are some 230,000 active caches in 220 countries, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. www.geocaching.com. Those listed for Mississippi include many in the southern part of the state which have been "archived," or retired, since they were lost in Hurricane Katrina Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism. .
Several had been hidden along the Longleaf Trace The Longleaf Trace is a 41 mile paved pedestrian, equestrian, rollerblade, and bicycle trail located between Hattiesburg and Prentiss, Mississippi. The Trace was constructed in 2000. It follows a retired railroad line. , a 40-mile rails-to-trails pathway from Hattiesburg to Prentiss.
"For one cache I haven't been able to find, the clue was to look for a downed tree," said geocacher Steve Oshrin, a professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. "That used to make it easy, but now that's all there is."
Still new to the sport, Oshrin bought a GPS unit last fall to take on hiking treks with his wife and their dogs. He read about geocaching for the first time in the unit's instruction manual. Since then, he's discovered an artesian Ar`te´sian
a. 1. Of or pertaining to Artois (anciently called Artesium), in France.
wells made by boring into the earth till the instrument reaches water, which, from internal pressure, flows spontaneously like a spring in Laurel, a Civil War-era cemetery in Brandon, and a park in Jackson he'd never heard of before.
He's also started hiding his own caches at places like Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Hattiesburg.
"I'll put out things like a prepaid phone card, a small compass, or bug repellent--little things people would want but that are not terribly expensive," he said. "The real payoff is just to find the cache, to be outside and see the area."
Another reward for geocachers across the state has been the friendships that grow from this common interest. Oxford optometrist optometrist /op·tom·e·trist/ (op-tom´e-trist) a specialist in optometry.
A medical professional who examines and tests the eyes for disease and treats visual disorders by prescribing corrective William Strickland and New Albany computer guru Andrew Erickson met after hunting for each other's caches.
"I would e-mail to him, 'That was a great cache--you had me on that one,'" Strickland said of Erickson, who's known for particularly sneaky hides.
Despite a 25-year age difference, the friends enjoy cache hunting together along with Erickson's wife, Jennifer. The two men hosted an event together last fall at Puskus Lake in the Holly Springs National Forest Northern Mississippi's Holly Springs National Forest (HSNF) was established by the United States Forest Service on June 15, 1936, during the tenure of USDA Chief Forrester Ferdinand A. Silcox. . The CITO--"Cache In, Trash Out"--built upon a basic geocaching motto and counted as a "find" for those who turned out to help pick up litter.
A family-friendly sport, geocaching has given Dwight Smith of Greenville an excuse to spend time outdoors with his 3-year-old grandson.
"A lot of times if I know what I'm looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. , I'll walk past it and let him find it," Smith said. "For us, it's more about the challenge of finding it, but for a small child, it's about getting the object inside."
Portia Solomon, who works with Smith at the U.S. District Court, was introduced to the game by her grown daughter who lives in northwest Arkansas. Since then, it has become a reason to walk and talk while visiting each other.
"It's just something fun we enjoy doing together," Solomon said.
In a way, Boutwell said, geocaching harks back to the days when family road trips were more common.
"A big part of it was stopping at roadside attractions," he said. "Now, we're more concerned about getting from Point A to Point B. This gives you a reason to stop along the way."
Ron Willett of Flora is like a lot of geocachets who, before hitting the road, always look up the caches hidden along the way.
"We'll look for them when we go to see our children in the Delta or in Georgia or on the way to an antique craft show in Alabama," he said.
An avid geocacher since 2001, Willett now finds the greatest reward in finding the most unusual or interesting sites to hide his caches. He scours scour, scours
1. the chemical and physical cleaning of fleece wool.
see dietary diarrhea.
see secondary nutritional copper deficiency. Mississippi Magazine and other publications for obscure places and little-known local facts.
On the Internet one day, Willett ran across the story of Thompson Creek in Yazoo County, only 30 miles from his home. There, in 1971, volunteers with the Mississippi Gem and Mineral Society were digging in the streambed streambed
or stream channel
Any long, narrow, sloping depression on land that had been shaped by flowing water. Streambeds can range in width from a few feet for a brook to several thousand feet for the largest rivers. when they unearthed Unearthed is the name of a Triple J project to find and "dig up" (hence the name) hidden talent in regional Australia.
Unearthed has had three incarnations - they first visited each region of Australia where Triple J had a transmitter - 41 regions in all. the ancient skeleton of a whale.
The bones are now on display at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science The Mississippi Museum of Natural Science is the largest museum in state of Mississippi. Description
Located in Jackson, in Lefleur's Bluff State Park, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science features aquariums, habitat exhibits, and nature trails specializing in the , but the site remains as a pleasant place for a stroll along the stream--and the home of Willett's favorite cache, which he named "The Whales of Yazoo County."
He also gets a kick out of sending people by the unexpected sight of oil wells en route to the cache.
"Sure enough, everybody who goes to it says the same thing," he said. "'I didn't know that was there.'"
get started with geocaching
1. Purchase a Global Positioning System (GPS) device, and spend some time learning how to use it. They cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000 and are available at many outdoor stores as well as through Internet sites like www.megagps.com and www.expertgps.com.
2. Pick a unique alias for yourself and register at www.geocaching.com, where you can look up caches in your ZIP code. Use the site's online mapping tools to see which roads to take and how close you can get in a vehicle. Each cache is rated for difficulty and terrain, with 1 being the easiest and 5 the hardest.
3. As you approach a site, follow the direction and distance indicators on your GPS device to get as close as you can. Then simply hunt around and try to think where you'd have hidden it if it were you.
4. Once you find the cache, you can swap out items or simply write your name in the log book. Make sure to seal the cache and place it back just like you found it.
5. Register your find at the geocaching Web site, and e-mail the person who hid the cache to let them know you found it.
some Mississippi geocaches to try:
If you'd like a geocacher in your area to show you the ropes, you can use www.geocaching.com to contact the people who've hidden nearby caches. You can also contact members of the Mississippi Geocachers Association by registering at the group's Web site, www.msga.net.
For more advice on hiding and seeking your first caches, visit www.geocaching.com.
Faulkner's Stompin' Grounds by Pancho Villa N 34[degrees] 21.557 W 089[degrees] 31.642 Difficulty: 2 Terrain: 3 Clinton's Secret by butrflybec N32[degrees] 20.657 W 090[degrees] 19.124 Difficulty: 1.5 Terrain: 1.5 Resting Above the River by TrkDoc N 31[degrees] 34.572 W 091[degrees] 23.751 Difficulty: 1.5 Terrain: 1.5 Red Bluff by Mauler6 N 31[degrees] 19.526 W 089[degrees] 56.700 Difficulty: 4 Terrain: 5