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Berkeley County geo trail a hit

August 28, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A newly launched geocaching trail in Berkeley County has attracted people from as far away as North Carolina and New Jersey.

About 100 people have successfully completed The Villages of Berkeley County, an Internet-based treasure hunt, since it was launched Saturday afternoon by the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Executive Director Laura Gassler said Wednesday.

“The trail is definitely doing what we hoped it would do to bring people in,” Gassler said.

Geocaching is a worldwide treasure-hunting game, in which players use GPS location-tracking technology to try to find hidden containers or caches through coordinates that are typically given in latitude and longitude.

GPS devices, such as smartphones, receive signals broadcast from satellites.

Saturday’s kickoff event at the B&O roundhouse in Martinsburg attracted more than 135 people from at least six states, Gassler said.

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The first 300 people who return with code words from 12 of the 14 cache sites along the trail and then verify their cache finds at the CVB’s Visitors Center in Martinsburg will receive a trackable Geocoin that is specially minted for the hunt.

The medallion features Berkeley County’s Bunker Hill Mill, Adam Stephen House and the Morgan Cabin historic sites on one side and the CVB’s logo on the other.

Feedback received so far has included local treasure hunters who have commented about the scenic beauty of the Berkeley County and places they didn’t know existed, Gassler said.

One participant commented about finding what appeared to be an abandoned kitten next to a box at the edge of the highway while searching for a cache in the Falling Waters area.

They took the cat home and named it “Geo Kitty,” Gassler said.

Overall, the area is becoming quite well known for geocaching because there are several types of caches to be found, Gassler said. Some of the caches for the statewide Civil War Geo Trail launched this summer to celebrate the state’s formation during the Civil War 150 years ago, Gassler said.

The types of caches include traditional finds, which consist of a single container and a log book or logsheet; multi-caches, where one cache leads to at least one more; geoart, where the cache placements create a shape; and gadget caches, Gassler said.

The Villages of Berkeley County geocaching trail will be active for two years, Gassler said.

Geocachers Tim Eggleston and Danny Rinaldi, who Gassler credited for helping the CVB with the trail, are already talking about the next treasure hunt, which Gassler intends to make an annual event.

Eggleston, known as WVTim in the geocaching community, is well known for his gadget caches and was named geocacher of the month earlier this year by geocaching.com, Gassler said. Rinaldi, aka GR8Caches, is known for his geoart, Gassler said.

Increasingly popular, geocaching draws more than 4 million people around the world, according to geocaching.com, the official hobby website run by Seattle-based Groundspeak Inc.  

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