Several months ago John Kaup asked if I would do a geocaching workshop for Paris Mountain State Park’s Fourth Saturday program. The appointed Saturday came around, so I headed up to the park with all of my GPSs, laptops, etc, in tow for the workshop.
I planned to do a repeat of the workshop I’d done for the park back in 2009. We had secured eight Garmin eTrex GPSs for the participants to use, and I had set up ten dummy geocaches within sight of the building where we were holding the workshop. The plan was to go over the basics and show them the website, then send the participants out to find the dummy caches. I had the coordinates for the caches in my netbook, and had several different types of cables for different models of GPSs, in case someone had brought their own and wanted to participate.
Last time I did this I only had two participants. This time I did more advertising. I posted on the Upstate Geocacher’s Facebook page, and I also got it added as an event cache on geocaching.com. That way, anyone who attended to add the workshop itself as one of their finds. Ranger Cathy Taylor also posted announcements in the Greenville News.
It worked. We had nearly 20 participants. Also attending were experienced geocachers Patrick Peden and his wife, who have over 6000 finds (compared to my measly 135). Patrick took the photos here, since for just about the first time ever I got so wrapped up in the program that I forgot to take ANY photographs. What I really like were that there were families with lots of kids there. It was almost like teaching fourth grade again.
The first part went very smoothly. I covered the basics, then sent everyone outside to find the dummy caches. Unfortunately, the satellites didn’t want to cooperate. It took a long time for the units to get a decent satellite lock, which led to some frustrations among the participants. Still, I think everyone had a good time, and it was great being out in the park on a chilly but beautiful Saturday.
That was the first part of our Saturday. For the second half of the day Laura wanted to ride up to Furman to watch one of her research students participate in a Rugby match. Furman was holding a tournament for the Southern Conference, so there were teams from all over participating. We got to Furman in time to watch the end of the App State, Citadel game, then to watch Furman play their fourth and last game of the day against Western Carolina.
I have to confess. I’ve only watched one other rugby match that I can remember, and know nothing about the sport except that there is something called a “scrum” where everyone huddles together and scrambles for the ball. Even with my lack of knowledge of the sport I found it fascinating. I was able to divine some of the strategies and game play, but didn’t know what constituted a penalty, or even the scoring. It was an interesting mental exercise – can you figure out the rules of a game just by watching it in play?
Laura’s student, Ben, was number 3, and seemed to have a very active role. In the end, Furman beat Western, but I had no clue by how much or what the actual score was.
As I was watching the game, a weird fusion took place. I wondered how it would be to combine the sports of geocaching for rugby. You could have a scrum over a single GPS unit, then fight to see who gets to the cache first. Might be fun. Most likely it would be dangerous. Certainly, it would have photographic potential.