Nestled on 60 acres of Wisconsin’s Northwoods lies a remote resort—so remote that you could easily miss it off the county road that leads from the nearest town—7 miles away with a booming population of just over 1,000 people. But even in the backwoods of northern Wisconsin among the bear, eagle, loon, deer, fox, snakes, musky and otters you can find a geocache.
John and Sue Altschwager, managers at White Birch Village near Boulder Junction, got the idea to set up a private geocache on the resort’s property last year. “We are always looking for activities to provide for our guests. Boulder
Junction has several geocaching events that inspired us to do one for our guests. The geocache is set up for all ages to enjoy. It’s an activity that families could do together in the beauty of the Northwoods with the excitement of a treasure hunt and an individual activity where you can have a peaceful walk through the woods with the added twist of searching for the caches,” Sue reported.
The resort provides a GPS unit, Gamin model #60CSx, specially equipped to manage the dense tree cover and cloudy days or guests can bring their own gps and download coordinates off the resort’s geocaching guide sheet.
Sue set up the course with several specifications in mind: “When laying out the course I kept in mind that all ages would be doing it. I set it up with a circular route that starts at our main lodge and ends up back at the lodge. It takes you around our entire property which is a great way for new and returning guests to see all that we have to offer. Each year we plan to re-hide the caches and create different themes each year to keep our guests participating.”
The one-mile route takes about an hour to complete. At each waypoint is hidden a plastic container with a sticker pertaining to the name of that cache. Geocachers put a sticker in the appropriate box on the back of their guide
sheet and return it to the resort’s store in return for the candy bar of their choosing.
Geocaching has some tough competition at White Birch Village. With a pristine DNR-protected lake water and sports like tubing, wake boarding and water skiing along with canoeing and kayaking, a simple walk in the woods doesn’t hold the initial draw that other activities do. But, recently a 7-year old guest and first time geocacher discovered the sport exceeded their expectations when commenting: “Daddy this is really fun. I thought it would be boring.”
People of all ages are really enjoying the resort’s new amenity: “We’re finding that this is a really good way to introduce people to geocaching in a fun and relaxing environment. Several guests have indicated that they would be pursuing geocaching as a family hobby after their vacation with us” Altschwager says.
Originally published: August, 2009