It’s time for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) geocaching contest. Once again, the KDWP has strategically placed ammunition boxes with paper slips in each of 31 KDWP properties across the state, including state parks, wildlife areas and the KDWP administrative offices. The coordinates to the first stage of each two stage cache can be found at the KDWP Geocaching website. A full explanation of the contest can be found in the video below.
It has always been my intention to give a cache by cache account of the contest. Last year we went through the contest so fast that a written amount was not possible. This year we are slowing down a bit, taking in more of the sites and documenting our adventures for the purpose of getting out the good word about the hidden gems that are our State Parks and Wildlife Areas.
Day 1 – Sand Hills (Hutchinson) and Cheney State Parks
With the coordinates fresh off the KDWP website, my brother, the dog and I headed up K-96 to begin our adventures. First stop was Sand Hills State Park. This is an equestrian (horse) trail park. It is an oddity amongst the state parks as an addition “trail pass” is required for access to the park. Reluctantly, I paid said admission in the little envelope and proceeded to our destination. About 2 minutes after arriving at the park, we found the first stage and a couple minutes after that we found the second. Honestly, this is my 3rd visit to the park and I have yet to seen ANYTHING that would bring me back outside the contest. The geocaches have always been withing a couple minutes of the parking lot, almost defeating the purpose of the hide in the first place. I read that camp sites have recently been added, but I guess the park rangers at Sand Hills want to keep it to themselves. So, we moved on the Cheney.
Cheney State Park is what I consider to be my “home” state park. My summers as a child were spent in a house just across the street from the park. We spend many days swimming, biking, hiking, and camping. It is a wonderful place that is well managed and a must visit for all lovers of the outdoors in the tri-county area. (Sedgwick, Kingman, Reno) As an adult, we will often do full weekends at this park and have placed a few geocaches there ourselves.
The Cheney geocache, too, proved to be not much of an effort to discover. The first stage was actually located just a stone’s throw from one of my own hides. Neither were incredibly difficult to find and the large chain made each hard NOT to find. PLUS, each were hidden more in plain sight than true hides. I have had my geocache hidden at that park for 2 full seasons and have NEVER had one of them walk away. The rangers at Cheney should reconsider their hiding strategy.
After the hunt was over, we checked out all my hides and then proceeded to walk the nature trails where we spotted many a white tail deer. It was truly amazing! With that, we called it a day and headed back home.