ColdCaching is an exciting way to explore and learn about the many natural features along the Ice Age Trail. If you are looking for a family-friendly activity that allows you to experience the thrill of a treasure hunt, learn important navigational skills and develop an appreciation for Wisconsin’s fascinating Ice Age history, ColdCaching is for you.
What is ColdCaching?
The concept of Ice Age Trail ColdCaching is based on the popular activities of GeoCaching and EarthCaching.
- GeoCaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game where participants use a GPS device or other navigational techniques to hide and seek caches that contain a logbook and treasure (usually toys or trinkets).
- EarthCaching is a similar to GeoCaching, except participants seek out natural features instead of human-placed caches.
- ColdCaching is a type of EarthCaching in which participants seek out natural features along the Ice Age Trail.
Finding a ColdCache
As a ColdCaching participant, you can choose from a list of Ice Age Trail landmarks (ColdCaches) to seek out.
The interactive map below shows the location and basic information about the ColdCache sites.
- The dark-blue diamonds represent ColdCache sites.
- The turquoise diamonds represent locations of ColdCache Park Packs.
The Ice Age Trail goes through twelve (12) Wisconsin State Parks or Forests. Forty (40) ColdCache sites are distributed in or near eight (8) of these state properties.
ColdCache Park Packs can be checked out by visitors at these eight (8) locations, (see map – turquoise diamonds- above). The Packs contain the site information and supplies needed to find the sites in or near the properties and learn about the ColdCache program. These packs encourage families or other groups to be active in the outdoors. In the process, Park visitors learn how to use a GPS unit, get fresh air, exercise, and a geologic lesson while enjoying the thrill of finding a treasure and working as a team.
The list of natural features can be found on geocaching.com. On your first visit to the website, you’ll need to create an account with geocaching.com in order to see the full details (including location information) for each ColdCache.
Each ColdCache includes instructions for performing a simple task or answering questions (or both) in order to verify your find.
ColdCaching is consistent with Leave No Trace outdoor ethics in that participants leave only footprints on the landscape as part of their activities.
New sites are added periodically, so check back regularly for new ColdCaches to explore.
Earning an Award
As you find more ColdCaches, you can register for the ColdCache awards program to receive patches recognizing your prowess as a ColdCache hunter. Download the awards program log [PDF], and you’re ready to go.
- Level I: Snowflake. A water crystal that forms in the atmosphere and falls to the earth. Visit and log 3 ColdCache sites representing at least 2 different feature types.
- Level II: Blizzard. A long, severe snowstorm with intensely cold wind and fine snow. Visit and log 7 ColdCache sites representing at least 5 different feature types.
- Level III: Firn. Partially consolidated snow that has passed through one summer melt season, but is not yet glacial ice. Visit and log 12 ColdCache sites representing at least 9 different feature types.
- Level IV: Ice Sheet. A broad, thick sheet of ice covering an extensive area for a long period of time. Visit and log 18 ColdCache sites representing at least 14 different feature types.
- Level V: Glacier. An extended mass of ice, formed from snow falling and accumulating over years, that flows over a land mass. Visit and log 25 ColdCache sites representing at least 20 different feature types.
Please note: the ColdCache awards program is not linked to your account at geocaching.com. That is, even as you register sites as “found” on your geocaching.com account, you’ll need to notify the ColdCache coordinator via the awards program log to quality for ColdCache patches.
Creating a ColdCache
In addition to searching for ColdCaches, you can also play a valuable role by developing new sites for others to find.
If you are interested in helping out, email the ColdCache coordinator at [email protected] The coordinator will walk you through the process of developing a ColdCache using the proper guidelines and provide important forms.
For questions about the ColdCache program, send an email to the program coordinator at [email protected].