One of the great things about geocaching is that it always gives you a reason to get out and explore, especially geocaching in Atlanta, GA. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, way too nice to be sitting inside. And one of our favorite places to visit on a Saturday is Piedmont Park, the “Central Park” of Atlanta. I did a search of the park and noticed that there were a number of multi-caches (a type of geocache) in the park. With our recently upgraded GPS unit, a Garmin Oregon 650T, we thought a multi-cache would be the perfect way to put it to the test!
What is a Multi-Cache Geocache?
A multi-cache (“multiple”) involves two or more locations. The final location is a physical container. There are many variations, but most multi-caches have a hint to find the second cache, and the second cache has a hint to the third, and so on. An offset cache (where you go to a location and get hints to the actual cache) is considered a multi-cache.
Just a Walk in the Park GC265WW
Searching for a multi-cache was a great way to explore Piedmont Park. Located in midtown Atlanta, the size of the park is surprising, especially for being in the heart of the city. With large grassy areas where people play soccer or ultimate frisbee, to peaceful swings overlooking tranquil ponds. There is also a dog park, paths for runners, cyclists, and rollerbladers, sports fields (on this day, filled with adults playing in a kick-ball league), and a swimming pool.
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The park is also home to a seasonal Saturday morning farmers market, concert festivals, or other events throughout the year that bring Atlantans together. But one thing many people don’t know about are all the geocaches placed throughout the park!
Geocaching in Piedmont Park
Arriving early on this sunny Saturday morning, we first took some time to enjoy the Green Market, then we headed out to stage 1 of the multi-cache. We followed our Garmin to a small lake located in the park. Once we arrived, we had to answer a question and then plug in those numbers to figure out the coordinates to the next stage. Questions can vary based on the difficulty of the geocache. For example, on this stage we needed to count the number of hand painted tiles around the dock, then do some adding and subtracting to figure out the next location.
Once “the brains” of our operation figured out the coordinates, I entered it into our Garmin and we were off to the next location. We noticed immediately that the coordinates took us across the park. We were excited that we would get to walk around the park exploring the surroundings while doing some geocaching. This is when we discovered a new feature on our Garmin Oregon 650T; even when we entered new coordinates for the next stage of the multi-cache, we are still in the original cache. So we didn’t have to back out and enter a waypoint. And if you need to get to the description it’s still right there! Pretty cool feature.
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Learning about the park while Geocaching
After a little stroll we were at our next destination, standing in front of a monument. Having lived in Atlanta for several years and spending a fair share of time at Piedmont Park, we never noticed this statue hidden in the trees. Liz and I walked up to the statue to figure out the next location. We first took a moment to read over the history of the monument, then answered the questions needed for the next set of coordinates in our Garmin, and we were off again!
The next location took us across the enormous playing field. On this particular day the “Social Games of Atlanta” were being played on the sports field. Several teams were competing in kickball, corn hole, and beer pong; they even had college football games on several TVs (we love our football in the south). We stood there for a few minutes enjoying the festivities, and with the Atlanta skyline in the background, this made for perfect people watching.
Central Park of the South
Next, we found ourselves at a gazebo near the pool. This was a nice and quiet spot to rest, overlooking the water and spotting wildlife. We were amazed at the amount of turtles that were swimming, even some baby turtles! This gazebo is located next to the Piedmont Park swimming pool; and we immediately noticed that instead of people swimming, there were dogs running about and jumping in the pool! Yes, apparently it was dog swimming day at Piedmont Park. We learned that the weekend before draining the pools at the end of the season they have a dog swim. We couldn’t help but laugh as we sat back and enjoyed seeing how happy those dogs were!
After having Liz (my trusty code cracker) figure out our next location, we made our way to see some Atlanta history that we never knew was in the park; the first street lights in Atlanta. After reading a little history about the lights (and being a bit confused at what numbers to use) we discovered our final coordinates which took us back on the other side of the park. So we headed out in hopes of making the find.
At GZ (Ground Zero) we searched around for the cache, ready to sign the log and get our smiley. “Got it”, I shouted to Liz, then we signed the log and replaced the cache. Feeling accomplished and with a better understanding of the park, we smiled at each other and said “now let’s go get a smoothie to celebrate.”
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This multi-cache had a little bit of everything. It took us around to see all corners of the park; and there is nothing like doing a little exploring in a beautiful park, on a perfect day, with the city skyline as a backdrop. This is what gets our juices flowing about geocaching. It can shed new light on an area that you may have been visiting for years, and uncover secrets you never knew. And it’s not just geocaching in Atlanta, but everywhere. So get out there and explore!