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Latitude and Longitude

N 34° 18.039 W 083° 50.088

UTM: 17S E 239099 N 3799131

We take latitude and longitude for granted as digits we enter into our GPS before we go out on a cache hunt. But what if we aren’t given that information? If you haven’t guessed it by now, the coordinates above are NOT where the cache is located, ‘though they do indicate the county seat of the county the cache is in.

”’I wonder what Latitude or Longitude I’ve got to?’ (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)”

Alice’s Adventures in WonderlandLatitude: In the northern hemiphere this is the same as the angle at which the north star (Polaris) is observed above the horizon. Navigators have used cross-staffs, astrolabes, and sextants in pre-GPS times to measure this angle. I won’t ask you to do that, but I won’t exactly tell you the latitude either.

Longitude: It wasn’t until John Harrison perfected a precise and dependable enough chronometer that longitude could be accurately determined. That relationship between time and longitude is at the root of finding this cache. Now on to the game:

I hid this cache on a hot, sunny August day. The morning paper’s weather section not only confirmed that it would be sunny but that sunrise in Atlanta would occur at 7:06 am and sunset at 8:06 pm. As the cache is somewhat east of metro Atlanta sunrise and sunset there occured about 5 seconds earlier. By my atomic clock the exact sunrise there was at 7:05:55.0212 (or 5 minutes and 55.0212 seconds after 7am). Sunset was at 8:05:55.0212 pm.

Now to find latitude, I’ll make it easy. The cache is at N34° 09.ABC’. To find ABC you’ll have to do some research on the remarkable John Harrison. A is the third digit of the year he was born. BC together is the sum of his age on his last birthday and the number of wives he had named Elizabeth. (example – if he was 72 and he had one wife named Elizabeth the sum would be 73, BC would be 73)

The actual cache hunt should be an easy walk and fairly easy find, dispite one last little trick at the end.

My appreciation is extended to Washington geocacher EraSeek who assisted in testing my calculations.

NOTE: The park this cache is in is apparently closed to vehicles except during the summer months. I spoke to a Hall Cty. Sheriffs Dept officer patroling the area 10/29. He said he didn’t know why the Corps of Engineers does this but they have no problem with people walking there. If you park outside the gate and walk in it’s still only a quarter mile walk to the cache.

Official Geocache Code:  GC1891

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