In a few days, NB is going to get its first blast of real Winter weather. Despite the cold we’ve been having, there hasn’t been a major storm to hit the region yet. But after this weekend, most of the province will be covered in it. This will signal the true arrival of the winter season and for many geocachers, it also signals the end of their geocaching days until the warmer weather returns.
Thankfully in a province such as ours, we’re fortunate enough that we have many different options for caching in the cold months.
For starters, since us locals know that snow is always something we have to deal with every year, we tend to see a lot of so called “winter friendly” or “winter compatible” caches hidden.
What exactly does that mean? Well there’s a few variations on this depending on what part of the world you live in, but in NB, it usually means the cache is hidden above ground; most commonly hanging in a tree or somewhere else. The idea is that since we get so much snow, if you hide a cache on the ground, no one can find it in the winter. Some people interpret this a bit differently in that they see it as saying the cache is simply not available because of winter. This could be many things but the most common would be the cache is hidden in a park that is closed during the winter.
Then of course there’s the infamous “Ice Walk” that takes place every year out in the Grande-Digue area. Every year folks gather together and make the hike across the frozen bay area over to Shediac or Cocagne Island to snag those hard to get caches. It’s topped off by a big gathering of cachers who share stories, eat food, and generally enjoy themselves in the company of many other cachers. Plus, the food is always awesome. Be sure to check out this year’s Ice Walk event:
Last but certainly not least are the contests. For many years, some of the geocachers in the various cities would hold hiding contests to see who could hide the most caches. It got people out hiding and others finding new caches. An explosion of caches hidden in Fredericton one year during the hiding contest eventually led to the launch of the Come Out & Play contest. This contest has been running the last few years and consists of a series of tasks which you must try to accomplish to score points. The winners are announced at a big event weekend in Fredericton in April.
Last year another new contest was put on by PHD Coins. Atlantic Battlecache was launched for all of Atlantic Canada. This contest is based on the old Battleship board game. Geocachers take “shots” on the board by using the GC codes of geocaches they find during the run of the contest. Winners are announced at the finale event at the end of the contest.
The presence of these contests certainly helps to entice people to go out caching during the winter months. But for some, the cold days and nights of winter keeps them by the fire or inside and away from that elusive find.
What do you think of the winter geocaching activities we have here in NB? Do you participate in any of them and if so, why? Or are you one to hibernate until Spring.