Distinctly Montana Magazine

Distinctly Montana Spring 2020

Distinctly Montana Magazine

Issue link: https://digital.distinctlymontana.com/i/1220199

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Page 38 of 99

w w w . d i s t i n c t l y m o n t a n a . c o m 37 The modern game of geocach- ing got its start in 2000 when the public was able to use the govern- ment's global positioning system (GPS) signals. An enterprising fellow hid an object (a cache), noted its GPS coordinates, then sent his friends out to find the cache. From that start, the game has become a worldwide phenomenon with thousands of caches in Montana alone, growing in popularity year after year. My first year hunting for caches, 2006, there were 115 caches within a 100-mile radius of my then home on Missoula's Northside. Today, there are 1,736 caches within fifty miles of my home outside of Plains. Wherever you are in Montana, I can guarantee you are not far from a hidden geocache. In researching this article, I expected that the game would center on Missoula and Bozeman, but I was wrong. Kalispell comes in first with 1,683 caches hidden within a fifty-mile radius. Missoula comes in second with 1,033 and Bozeman is fifth with 571. Admittedly, when I typed 59324 into the Geocaching.com search window, nothing came up. That's Ekalaka's zip code, by the way. But when I widened my search to a thirty-mile radius, I found ten caches, four of which were in or close to Medicine Rocks State D O YOU ENJOY SCAVENGER HUNTS? WORKING WITH SPACE-AGE TECHNOLOGY? Getting out and exploring this wonderful place called Montana? If you answered yes to all three, you may be ready to start geocaching. The best definition I HAVE EVER SEEN of the game of geocaching was on a t-shirt: "I use multi-billion-dollar U.S. Government equipment to find Tupperware® containers in the woods." And over the past fourteen years, I've found 611 plastic containers, ammo canisters, tiny metal tubes called Bison tubes, old film canisters, pill bottles and lots of other odd objects, not all of them in the woods, and none of them litter. All had at least a piece of paper hidden inside, and some had much, much more. Most were hidden carefully on public land, or if on private, with the consent of the landowner. None were buried, but some were stuck in the ground, or under a rock, or hanging from the branch of a tree. Wherever you are in Montana, I can guarantee you are not far from a hidden geocache. KALISPELL HAS THE MOST IN THE STATE WITH 1,683 CACHES HIDDEN WITHIN A FIFTY-MILE RADIUS. MISSOULA HAS 1,033 AND BOZEMAN HAS 571. text and photos by BRYAN D. SPELLMAN A dozen geocaches are hidden along twenty-two miles of Prospect Creek between Montana Highway 200 and the Idaho State Line at Thompson Pass.

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