Oh, say you can see: Geocache through history





...The Star-Spangled Banner Geotrail combines an activity called geocaching (pronounced GEO-cashing) with the upcoming 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Designed by three organizations, each with slightly differing motives, the geotrail encircles the Chesapeake Bay and, at one point, pops out to Tangier Island.

Basically, here's how it works: Someone hides a cache in a location significant in the War of 1812. The coordinates of said cache are posted online, along with a few clues such as size, level of difficulty and ease of access. A handheld GPS unit will get players within about 10 feet of it, and then they have to hunt. After they find it, depending on what kind of cache it is, they sign the logbook inside it, take a trinket, leave a trinket, photograph themselves at the site, and announce their success to the world.

Coordinates for all the caches on the Star-Spangled Banner Geotrail were posted at the same time, and dedicated hobbyists were waiting for them. Scott Anders of Virginia Beach was the first to find the stash at Hoffler Creek, early in the morning, and he beat by only a few minutes a team known as "Eddie and Eddie." Others have followed in the days since.

Organizers hope that, while they were there, they read the historical marker titled "The Battle of Craney Island":

"On the morning of June 22, 1813, during the War of 1812, British naval and marine forces... landed here at Hoffler Creek. American armed militia... blocked the British advance.... Norfolk, Portsmouth and the Gosport Navy Yard, now the Norfolk Navy Yard, were saved from capture."

"It was a big victory for the U.S. forces," said Eleanor Mahoney, a spokesperson for the geotrail. "In this region, all over the place, everywhere you look, the British were there, especially along the rivers and communities along the Bay. Because we have the Civil War that was so prominent in Virginia and Maryland, people forget that this other conflict took place. It's really a fascinating story."...


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