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Explore the Hatfield, McCoy story with new geo trail

Oct. 22, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. - History buffs and adventure seekers now have a new opportunity to explore the story behind the Hatfield and McCoy feud with the recent launch of The Hatfield McCoy Geo Trail.

Thanks to the continued surge in interest generated by the History Channel miniseries, geocachers and those who are just plain curious can retrace the footsteps of these famous mountain families with the popular outdoor activity of geocaching following the new Hatfield McCoy Geo Trail.

Geocaching is a modern-day version of treasure hunting, with nearly 2,000,000 caches placed all over the world. On Sept. 1, the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Tour Pike County offices hosted 518 travelers from 18 states across the country who attended the kick-off event.

The trail is a collaborative effort between Williamson's Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce member Wendy H. Baisden and Pikeville's Tour Pike County member Kelly Moore. The Hatfield McCoy GeoTrail offers a new destination for geo travelers from across the country and around the world. The Hatfield McCoy GeoTrail includes 15 caches, placed in historic locations relating to the families and their conflicts. Participants use hand-held GPS units or their smart phones to seek the location of hidden objects. These caches can be found in Mingo and Logan counties in West Virginia and in Kentucky's Pike County.

Baisden and Moore are avid geocachers. Each was named GeoCacher of the month for August and September respectively by GroundSpeak Headquarters. They designed, placed and maintain the caches. In addition, a collectible coin is offered to those who travel to the area and obtain a copy of the passport needed to confirm each find. Visitors must carry the passport to each of the locations and stamp it with a specific stamp found in each of the geocache locations. The coin depicts the Tug River and the images of the patriarchs of the Hatfield and McCoy families, Devil Anse and Randall.

"The coin is our gift to the caching community," said Baisden, in a news release. "It is also an honor for us to be able to personally place each coin into the hands of the visitors."

"Wendy and I worked together to purchase the coins because we felt it was our way of giving back to the geocaching community," Kelly added. "It also adds to the excitement that visitors feel when coming to the area to geocache."

Plans are already in the works to offer a Labor Day weekend event in 2013. Details for the coming event will be posted as they are available on the Hatfield McCoy GeoTrail website.

The Geo Trail is a another way to experience an intriguing chapter in the history of Southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky. To learn more about the Hatfield McCoy Geo Trail, how to begin geocaching or how you can obtain your own collectible coin, go to www.hatfieldmccoygeotrail.com.