This year the state of Minnesota is celebrating its susquicentennial, 150 years of statehood. Beginning on May 11th, 2008, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is sponsoring the Minnesota State Park Geocaching History Challenge. Using geocaching as a way to attract attention and visitors to the state park system, the DNR has hidden at least one geocache in each of the 72 state parks. In addition, the state has been broken up into four regions, Metro, Southern, Northwestern, and Northeastern. If you locate all of the geocaches in a particular region, you win a medallion for that region. If you find the geocaches in all 72 of the state parks and complete each of the four regions, you win golden medallion to celebrate your accomplishment (pictured at left). While geocaching is expected to be a new mainstay in the state parks, the geocaching challenge officially ends on December 31st, 2008. Allegedly, it was originally predicted that only 25 individuals would accomplish visiting all 72 state parks from May 15th, 2008 to December 31st, 2008. As of September 13th, there has been 21 of the golden medallions handed out.
Click here to see the history cards placed in each geocache
Together with fellow geocacher Norvina, sometimes KBayNPapaBear and various groupings of my children, I have been participating in this challenge. Our original goal was to just complete the metro region and then possibly visit a few of the state parks in the southern region. With the adventure to Garden Island organized by Paklid, one thing led to another, and we found ourselves on the path to completing the entire state. Our obsession started on 05-17-2008 with our first find at Fort Snelling. By 09-13-2008, we had travelled to every corner of Minnesota and visited each of the 72 state parks. Tetteguche was the last unique state park that we visited. But the challenge officially ended for us at Mille Lacs Kathio, after a three mile hike, in the dark while raining, which included crossing two different fens, up to our waists in muck.
While the five medallions we each earned are very beautiful and nicely designed, it will never be possible to justify this challenge in terms of cost, impact to relationships, and heaven forbid, impact to the environment. I thought it'd be fun to compile as much information as I could from our follies.
Total trips: 13
Autorouting miles: 5200
Actual miles travelled: 5750
Fuel consumed: 316.83 gallons
Fuel economy: 26MPG when driving 2007 Chev Malibu
16MPG when driving 2002 Chev Tahoe
Average price of fuel: $3.77 per gallon
Total price of fuel: $1,176.05
Total state park caches found: 77
Total caches found: 153
Speeding ticket in Roseau County: $140.00
Overnight at Warroad Super8: $89.99
Overnight at Beudette Americinn: $99.99
Food and beverages (estimated): $160.00
Charter service from Young's Marina to Garden Island: $25.00
Cost per state park cache: $21.96
Cost per cache: $11.05
Click here to see the finalists of the 2008 Geocaching History Challenge