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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

July 19, 2007

A sesquicentennial look back

Family fun: Campus history hunt

by Diana Pounds


It's part treasure hunt, part history lesson and a novel way to celebrate Iowa State's 150th birthday. And when you're done, you'll be able to add "geocacher" to the resume.

Historical markers are the focus of a geocaching adventure set up on campus by a longtime Ames resident with the Internet moniker "Cydriver" and her son "Bus Boy.


The cache rests in a leafy woods, not far from campus.

Geocachers on the adventure traipse around campus, GPS units in hand, to locate historical markers. Special words on the markers and a little mild cryptology eventually point the cachers to a nearby off-campus location and the cache -- in this case, a metal box filled with an eclectic batch of "prizes." Alert: Bug spray and long pants are strongly advised for the brushy last leg of the journey.

You'll find more details at Create a membership on the site (it's free), log in and type the ISU ZIP code "50011" in the "cache search" box in the upper right corner. Scan the list of caches for "Firsts to Find" and click.

For neophytes

  • If you are new to geocaching, here are tips for an enjoyable first hunt.
  • Borrow or buy a GPS device. You'll need to learn to put longitude and latitude coordinates into a "waypoint" and set the GPS unit to point you toward that spot.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. You'll probably walk around campus at least 45 minutes collecting clues to your final destination.
  • Bring wheels, car or bike. You'll need them to get to an Ames park, where the cache is stashed.
  • As indicated above, pull on long pants and apply bug spray for the park foray. You'll bushwhack a short distance.
  • Take a memento or two to add to the cache. Caches traditionally contain a log book for visitors and items deposited by other geocachers. These can include small things such as toys, coins, jewelry, tools and games. If you (or the kids) want to take souvenirs from the cache, leave something behind.
  • Sign your name in the log book and put the cache back where you found it. If desired, you also can add online comments about your hunt for the cache at


ISU 150th logo

Sesqui series

Inside is running a yearlong series of photos and articles that look back at Iowa State traditions, people and places to celebrate the sesquicentennial.