Marie McAden



Grab your GPS and get hunting!

Posted 3/13/2012 3:54:00 PM

Avast, me hearties! A mother lode of booty awaits treasure hunters in South Carolina state parks. And you don’t need a treasure map to find the hidden loot — just a GPS. It’s the 21st century, after all.

The great Geocache Challenge features caches in all 47 state parks, along with “super-secret” caches hidden in each of the state’s four regions: Coastal, Sandhills, Mountains and Lakes.

Here’s how the contest works. Go to www.geocaching.com and enter the name of a state park to get directions to a hidden cache. Every cache contains a clue that will help you find the “super-secret” cache in that region. Treasure hunters who find the secret cache win two free nights in a state park cabin or campsite.

But wait. There’s more! Inside every secret cache is a clue to the location of the final “super-duper” secret cache hidden in Sesquicentennial State Park. This extra-special treasure chest contains an awesome prize for the first five players who find it.

I have no idea where any of the caches are located, but I can help narrow the search for the secret caches in each of the four regions. In the Coastal region, it’s hidden at Hunting Island State Park; in the Sandhills it’s in Santee; in the Mountains, it’s at Wildcat Wayside falls between Jones Gap and Caesars Head; and in the Lakes it’s at Dreher Island.

GPS accuracy is generally limited to a 30-foot area. That’s where the real challenge lies. The caches can be tucked anywhere — behind a rock, in a tree, along a trail or in any number of other clever hiding places. I found one once in a clump of cypress trees along a canoe trail!

Got another helpful hint for you. Since you’ll be visiting all 47 parks, it pays to buy a Statewide Park Passport. The $75 hangtag pass will get you into every state park for free. Click here to order one online.

Even if you don’t win one of the five grand prizes, think how much you’ll have exploring all 47 parks. That’s the best reward of all!