Geological Wonders to Explore While Geocaching Across the World
written by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 1/29/2010
Geocaching as a means to see amazing geological features throughout the world has become an increasingly popular activity which will only increase the opportunities as more people plant new caches. This article contains the best places to go with the necessary resources.
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Double Down On the Geo Prefix
Distinctive geologic features display the massive forces that have been at work and shaped our planet centuries before we humans arrived on the earth. We should all take a keen interest in our collective home and the materials that it consists of and the powers that shape it. That is why so many people combine geocaching with a little study of geology or; essentially, the history of the earth. That and the features themselves; whether mountains, fault lines, or volcanoes, are just awe-inspiring.
There’s an argument here in Montana about the origin of the name “Crazy Mountains." Most people believe it’s named that because a woman’s entire family was slain in the pioneer days and she wandered into that range and went crazy. Others (a minority, most likely geologists too) believe the name originated by the preponderance of crazy looking rock formations that make up the range’s craggy peaks and protuberances.
Most of the resources and links I send you to with the needed information about how to find and get credit for your discoveries also contain detailed explanations of how the geological formations came into being along with their significance. So you will know some cool stuff about ancient earth forces before you even get there. Another good point is that with some of the websites, the GPS orienteering factor might be a little easier because there are some pretty distinct topographical features to help you figure out where you are. And if you don’t have good Topo maps downloaded on your Garmin GPS device, read Outdoor Enthusiasts: Get Garmin GPS TOPO Maps to find out how to get them.
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Canyons, Mountains, and Fault Lines
The Grand Canyon and other National Parks for the most part contain virtual geoacaches for environmental and safety concerns but these are still well worth the hunt. I include the Anasazi Ruins.
Because you'll get the ultimate tour of the Grand Canyon backpacking this 40 mile round trip which requires at least three nights camped out there and more for a more leisurely expedition. Besides the stunning geological vistas of the immense power the Colorado River unleashed on this canyon over time you'll see fascinating ruins of the mysterious Anasazi tribe too. To get credit you have to take a picture of yourself or your team with a GPS device in hand. For God's sake don't go all that way and forget that.
Since that trip is extremely rugged and taxing I turn next to the much more easily accessible A Window on the Canyon. This cache offers a great view of one of the only arches in the park that is accessible easily and it's aptly named Angel's Window. Keep in mind that on either of the links I just sent you, just scroll down to where it says ‘find all nearby caches’ for all your other options.
Up the road a good piece in Utah’s legendary Arches National Park you’ll find a magnificent site known asThe Moab Fault. The fault as viewed on that journey to your goal is stunning in this red rock country with a stunning timeless magnitude which puts you in your proper, humble place.
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Volcanoes of the World Unite and See Some Sand Dunes Too
Some folks are really into volcanoes and since some of them are in some really nice places like Hawaii, who can blame them. Fellow enthusiasts sharing a passion for both geocaching and volcanoes are already ahead of you with a good website categorizing good opportunities throughout the world. Take a look at the The Volcano Geocaching Page. But be sure and check with Geocaching.com, Navicache.com, Terracaching.com, or Earthcache.com for any opportunities in somewhere like Hawaii. Of course don’t forget YellowstoneNational Park either, that whole thing is a volcano due to blow someday too. If it does, whatever organism that survives or evolves will then be studying what we were doing at the time. Maybe they’ll find a perfectly preserved GPS device in lava rock.
One last tip would be Oregon because that state has many highly distinctive regions that aren’t that far away from each other. From the sand dunes on the coast where the Sierras meet the Pacific; to the high desert and the fascinating Devil’s Canyon and Snake River, it’s got a little bit of everything. But remember, wherever you are, you’re on top of some sort of geological formation. The point is to get out there and explore as much as you can because someday that sun will disappear over the horizon the last time for you.
Geocaching Plus Your Other Interests Combined: The Best Spots
This series will give you precisely the best locations for combining geocaching with the study of history, geology, and just simply enjoying the freedom of the trail on a mountain bike. We'll be very specific about some diverse subjects that should interest and entice you at once.