Families go on high-tech treasure hunt

The fourth annual Greenway Days offered something for everyone, including guided hikes, bike rides and history tours among other events within the 1.4 million acres of the Mountains to Sound Greenway. People of all ages also showed up to participate in the geocaching competition, Saturday, June 28 at Rattlesnake Lake.

"Your mission," said Donna Lowe of Playtime Inc., "is to hunt and find treasures using high-tech equipment." Before unleashing the five teams, Lowe gave an overview of the equipment and game rules.

Geocaching involves the use of technology to find hidden caches. Each cache contained 'play money,' which was tallied at the end of the game. The team that returned by the atomic-clock deadline with the greatest sum won a prize. "The atomic clock rules," Lowe said.

"Scour the area and find as many hidden containers as you can," she said.

Each team received several GPS units to locate the general area of a cache, a pocket PC to offer specific clues of the treasure's whereabouts and a digital camera to document their adventure. Girl Scout volunteers from Kirkland's Troop 2152 accompanied each team to help with technical questions.

In all, 21 caches lay hidden among the trees, logs, rocks and storm drains for teams to discover.

Nick and Sharon Matarangas of West Seattle brought their three children, Benjamin, Aley and Joshua to participate in the event. Benjamin dubbed the family team the Golden Dreamers.

Playtime Inc. supplied the geocaching materials, which it uses for corporate and privately sponsored outdoor events all around the world.

A non-profit, Seattle-based organization established the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust to help protect and preserve the area for public recreation.

Event coordinator Kelley Cundiff called the weekend event "a smashing success."

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