(NOTE: This is a re-post of an earlier blog entry. It was originally written in January 2009 and re-posted here for archival reasons)

Wow, it’s been eight years.

That’s how long ago we trudged though knee-deep snow in Backbone State Parkand wedged a Tupperware container into a rocky fissure.

And with that, Iowa’s longest running geocache was placed.

I had read about caching in Outside Magazine a few months earlier, and I had been lugging around a Garmin 12 receiver my father gave to me while we were living in South Carolina.

The GPS receiver had marked a few trails and campsites when we were in the south. Once I used it to plot the location of a turtle next to a pond.

So I was excited to put the device to use looking for hidden items. But Iowadidn’t have any geocaches listed when I checked Geocaching.com (apparently there had been one placed a short time before but it had been raided and archived).

Hoping to get others involved so we could have something to find, I decidedhide one. It seemed like a good way to jump start the activity.

Picking a location was a no brainer. I went through Backbone once in the1980s when I was in junior high. I thought it was the neatest place around.Unlike the flatlands that mark most of Iowa, Backbone has cliffs, caves and trees. Katinka and I came out to hike it a few times after returning to Iowa in2000.

If people are going to look for hidden treasure, I might as well show them aneat park in the process, I reasoned.

I didn’t want to wait for spring to place the cache, and Katinka was nice enough to bundle up and hike into the park (it’s closed to vehicles in the winter). We tried a few places until we found one that seemed to be out of the way.

I still remember the excitement when the first group found it. They also slogged through the snow that winter. They posted pictures of the trek on their Web site.

It was raided after the weather warmed up, so we moved it to a more secluded spot. That didn’t last too long before it was raided again, so finally we loaded up a new box and scouted a location that was far from any road or established trail but still near interesting topographical features.

I had one cacher shoot me a dirty look once when he found out I was the onewho placed the cache way out there. He had found it and apparently didn’t likethe challenge. But I can’t offer an apology. It’s way back there to keep it safeand give the seeker an adventure.

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