published Monday, March 21st, 2011

Geocachers set treasure hunt in Enterprise South park

Nathan Lewis, left, and Ivan Snyder discover a camouflaged ammo box filled with small toys during a geocaching event at Enterprise South Nature Park on Sunday.
Staff Photo by Carey O'Neil/Chattanooga Times Free Press
Nathan Lewis, left, and Ivan Snyder discover a camouflaged ammo box filled with small toys during a geocaching event at Enterprise South Nature Park on Sunday. Staff Photo by Carey O'Neil/Chattanooga Times Free Press

GEOCACHERS TOOL KIT

• Flashlight

• Tweezers

• Gloves

• Mirror

• Magnet

• Bug spray

Source: Local geocachers

Deep in the wilds of Enterprise South Nature Park there are treasure chests just waiting to be discovered.

Sorry, Jack Sparrow fans, the park is too far from the ocean to be a likely spot for pirate gold.

But modern-day explorers called geocachers followed GPS treasure maps across the park Sunday after the locations of 50 brand-new treasures were released — a prize too tantalizing for some to pass up.

Bonnie Lieberman, better known to some by her geocaching handle Cobrii, drove an hour and a half from Rome, Ga., to take part in the hunt.

“After you find a lot in your own area you’ve got to go pretty far to find new ones,” she said.

By the end of the day, geocachers from as far away as South Dakota had shown up to take part in the popular game played by millions worldwide.

For more than 10 years geocachers have been logging on to Geocaching.com and trading exact GPS coordinates where caches, or small containers, have been hidden for them to find.

The thrill is in the hunt; the caches generally hold trinkets, notes or other items of little value. Cachers may add their own trinkets or notes to the stash.

Nathan Lewis, aka Super Nate, is a Southern Adventist University student who can’t get enough of the game.

“Weather won’t stop me. I’ve gone caching during torrential downpours,” he said. “I even went out once when there were tornado warnings, and the storm was like, 10 miles away.”

Lewis was one of nine geocachers who stashed treasures in the park — camouflaged in ammo crates, dangling from wind chimes or hidden in a fake egg sitting on a phony bird nest.

“They’re all over and nobody knows it,” said Kaye Fiorello, known as Giofio, who organized the massive cache release. “They’ll be anything from a teeny-tiny container to a big ammo box.”

To mark the uncommon mass release, the geocachers did something special, arranging the treasures to spell “Got Cache?” when looked at on a map.

Fiorello said that before Sunday she’d been geocaching right up to the edge of the park, but the park’s trails and wilderness remained an untapped caching resource.

Officials are often hesitant to allow caches on public property because of the damage hunters can cause during their searches, but by working closely with Chattanooga Parks and Recreation officials and promising to host a geocaching-themed cleanup party in a year, Fiorello was able to realize her dream and help others enjoy the game.

“Any age can do it, and it just gets you outside so you’re not stuck in the house,” she said. “It’s kind of goofy, but it’s cheap fun.”

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