Posted by D. Stewart on April 14, 2015
Oh, the places you’ll go!
What a fun family adventure! At the beginning of March, we announced that the Medicine Hat Accommodation Association (MHAA) was launching a geocoin challenge ( see blog entry here), running from March 1 to October 31 this year. We were fortunate enough to be invited to take on the challenge (not that you need an invite of course) and it worked perfectly for our annual family trip over the Easter long weekend - so how could we say no?
The MHAA Geocoin Challenge took us on quite a journey; through Medicine Hat, down along the South Saskatchewan River, to Redcliff and the historical Pressed Brick Factory, down along the canals, through Seven Persons, overlooking the ravine, through Dunmore and up close to the majestic (slowly disappearing) cottonwood trees that dot the landscape.This challenge took you to all these places and more.
The first day, we headed out from the west, while my parents headed out from the east. Despite all running on ‘geocaching time’, we managed to arrive in Medicine Hat at about the same time. Upon arrival at the Days Inn, we received a warm welcome from the staff with plenty of good natured jokes about ‘hiding’ the map in our room. After finishing our visit with some other geocachers who were also checking in, we went up to our room to unload.
Our ‘treasure map’ (the geocoin quest sheet), water bottle and snack were all waiting for us. We purchased one of the charity monkeys as a mascot for the trip, found a TB tag in the Jeep to attach, and the monkey tracked our trip! The total distance for the 12 geocaches in the series was 90.7km (according to the monkey) for the route we took.
We met some other geocachers for a quick meal before all setting off to do the challenge. It wasn't long before we completed half the challenge with six geocaches found and six passwords retrieved. This seemed like a good time to stop for the night. We certainly could have accomplished finding them all in a single day; however, we spread out the twelve geocaches over the two days we were there, allowing time to add extras in along the way and enjoy the journey.
After we got the first six, we rewarded ourselves by having coffee with some local geocachers, some awesome clients from Swift Current, our folks from Regina and a few of the Calgary geocachers! Some of the group had a really hard time sitting still as the sun went down and the promise of a trip to the legendary Hand Trap Geocache (GC3TBR5) was drawing near. This is one geocache you really shouldn’t miss if you come to town for the SAW weekend (August 14 – August 16) as this version isn’t always available. If you can’t visit this one for yourself (or don’t mind a spoiler) you can view the Video Link, but believe me, watching the video pales in comparison to experiencing this one in person! It was our third visit but the first for most of the group. Thanks again to DSK11 for setting this one up for the weekend. As always, a visit to Hand Trap was a major highlight, one that all who attended will be talking about for a long time to come.
The next morning we headed out to continue the MHAA Geocoin series after a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. The ones that were a bit more of a walk (GC5D7EF) and required a little more work (GC5DJCN) were the targets today and we had even more opportunities for some great photos, some history and of course, the smileys. The prize for all that? The coveted teepee geocoin!
In the end of the MHAA geocoin challenge, we found we really enjoyed the journey. There is plenty of time to get the required geocaches done as well as other geocaches or one of the many fun activities around Medicine Hat. Don’t feel rushed to get through them in record time. Enjoy the city and the different views you get along the way.
The terrain is definitely family friendly with only one small steep hill and one longer walk (under 2km) with gradual elevation change. Shorter searchers may need to get creative to retrieve a couple of the caches; however, all were able to be accomplished by the shortest member of our group. Keep in mind, there can be hidden dangers in the long grass and one of the geocaches takes you to the river, one takes you to a ravine overlook so small children should be closely attended.
MHAA Draw Winner
We are excited to send one lucky winner to try the MHAA Geocoin Challenge for themselves! The Medicine Hat Accomodation Association and the Days Inn have graciously donated a full geocoin package.
Draw was made on May 18th, and the lucky winner was Rosemarie (Granny Lady). Have fun Rosemarie and we hope to hear all about your adventure.
The winner will receive:
Approximate Time for Completion:One day at a leisurely pace.
Cost: Free for those who qualify by completing 10 of the 12 geocaches on your treasure map. Fully trackable on geocaching.com with unique icon.
To Earn The Geocoin: Turn in your completed treasure map to the front desk of the hotel you are staying in.
Additional Costs: The cost of the hotel room with the geocoin package, which varies depending on what participating hotel you choose (see Part 1 for additional information).