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Geocachers to lock in on Rome next week

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More than a thousand geocachers from 37 states and four different countries will be wandering around Rome next week for the third Going Caching Mega-Event, taking place Oct. 4-8. One those visitors will be Patricia Chow, who works for the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington D.C.

Chow got hooked on geocaching in 2004. “I must have seen an article somewhere about what people can do with their GPS (Global Positioning System) devices now that they’ve got them,” Chow said.

“Geocaching was one of those options and it sounded like fun. I always enjoyed maps and puzzles and sort of going on a virtual treasure hunt.” She’s been to all kind of events, including the Going Caching event in Pine Mountain last year and two of the Geo-Woodstock events.

Jim Williamson, a co-organizer with Andi Beyer, told Rome Seven Hills Rotary Club members Tuesday that geocaching is a family friendly activity that started off as an experiment in GPS usage. Williamson and Beyer said the technology has changed to the point that most participants now navigate using the smartphones.

Mega-Events, so-called because they typically draw more than 500 participants, were held in Rome in 2014 and 2015. The theme this year is Spy Games, a James Bond meets Austin Powers theme, according to local organizers Andi Beyer and Jim Williamson, who spoke to the Rome Seven Hills Rotary Club Tuesday.

Containers will be hidden somewhere and participants will hunt for clues to get the GPS coordinates for them set out to find the containers. Containers typically have log books and small items hidden inside them. “If you take something (from the containers) you must put something else back in,” Willliamson said.

Chow said one of the more interesting containers she’s found in recent years involved a cache that was decorated by someone using an alien theme.

“On the inside he had glued a bunch of alien men with Lego pieces pretending they were at a spaceship,” Chow said. “Finder prizes inside were alien themed so that was pretty fun.”

Chow said while she and a friend are in Rome they plan to visit other sites in the area, including the Etowah Indian Mounds near Cartersville.

The Rome event will feature eight special events with more than $5,000 in prize money for participants. Activities scheduled include a flash mob on the Town Green on Oct. 5 and the major hunt in Ridge Ferry Park on Oct. 7.