Museum coordinates summer geocache tours
Urban geocachers are discovering a new way to explore downtown Grand Junction by following a series of longitude and latitude coordinates provided by the Museum of the West and their learning about the city’s vast history to boot.
“It’s about a two mile walking tour that zig-zags through the heart of downtown,” explained Zebulon Miracle, curator of anthropology for the museum, of the new geocaching tour available for download at the museum’s website, http://www.museumofwesternco.org.
Geocaching is a popular hobby in which hikers use a Global Positioning Device to find containers of loot, commonly known as caches. A typical cache is in a waterproof container and includes a logbook documenting visitors and other white elephant prizes. It has been described as a “high-tech game of hide and seek.”
Cities across the world are using GPS coordinates to lead visitors on high-tech walking tours to their lesser-known attractions. Although there are not any prizes stashed near the cache, geocachers enjoy looking and learning about the site.
The museum, who is celebrating Colorado Historic Preservation Month in May, is always looking for new ways to get people interested in the rich history of the city and began offering the geocaching tour last year.
Miracle said the GPS-guided tour explores 13 historical landmarks that many may overlook while window shopping downtown.
In keeping with geocaching’s treasure hunt tradition, the museum provides the first set of coordinates— N 39 degrees 04.144’ and W 108 degrees 33.841’.
Hunters are then given a clue to find the next set of coordinates: “What other Colorado town did George Crawford help start?”
It will take a good code-cracker over an hour to complete the two-mile course which leads walkers to places such as the New Brunswick Hotel, a historical arch, and explains why Grand Junction used to be known as “The All American City.”
Geocaching provides a unique aspect to exploring historical preservation,” Miracle said, “It provides another way to tell people about the interesting character of Grand Junction history.”
Miracle said many people like the geocaching tour because it provides an excuse to go exploring downtown. “You’re not just walking around but you’re actually looking for something and discovering new things,” he said.
The tour has also been listed and rated on the national geocaching website, http://www.geocaching.com.
Miracle will lead a walking tour for mugglers, (the term commonly used to describe nongeochers who stumble upon a cache accidently) without all the high-tech mystery, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 14. Cost if $5.