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    In many ways The Gauntlet is the heart and soul of Florida Finders Fest.  Every Finders Fest has hosted a Gauntlet race. It is a fun, adventurous get lost in the woods, semi-competitive, cooky, fun,scavenger hunt, hiking “race” for all ages. Here is how it works…

We place a series of caches along a beautiful trail in the heart of the Ocala National Forest.  From the starting point, teams will be given a list of ten to twelve target co-ordinates where secret new geocaches are hidden and scavenger hunt items to find along the trail.

The Gauntlet uses golf style scoring – the lower your score the better. The amount of time it takes to complete The Gauntlet is your Base Score. We add penalty points for any geocaches on your list that are not found. Then we subtract all your bonus points for your scavenger hunt target items your team found.  The lowest score wins!

Teams should be 3 to 6 participants. While this race is designed to be fun for all ages. We highly recommend having at least 3 adults on your team. The trail can have spots where it is possible to take a wrong turn. If a team has to focus all its attention on staying on the trail they will likely miss target items. And vice versa. Therefore, there is an advantage to having a larger team allowing delegation of attention.

There are a limited number of 10 team slots available. Form full teams and sign up early.  If you are looking for additional teammates, we suggest reaching out and posting in our Facebook Group.

What to Bring – Each team will need a GPS and a Digital Camera. A clip board may be handy as there will be some reading and writing involved. Walking/poking sticks will be a big help. Water, bug spray, and snacks are a good idea as well.

There will be an Oasis stop along the way, located about half way through the hike. Water, fruit, and snack bars will be available for replenishment. If for any reason to need a bail out, the Oasis Host will be able to contact a ride to get you back to camp. This is the only bail out spot along the hike.

Trail Conditions – The trail is mostly firm and dry. There will be little if any bushwhacking involved.

Time/Distance – The total distance will be approximately 5 to 7 miles.

Weather – We are having regular discussions with TPTB (i.e. we are praying) for good weather, but we plan to go rain or shine. I mean, after all, we’ll be back at base camp warm and dry regardless. Besides, weather should be viewed as part of the adventure.

Starting Coordinates – They will be provided to teams as they start, beginning at 8AM on Saturday October 19th. Please check the whiteboard at the pavilion Friday night for your teams starting time. Your entire team will need to be at the pavilion at your designated start time, ready to be sent out into the woods

Prizes – There will be 3 VERY large ammo cans stuffed full of highly sought after boodle for the teams with the three fastest times. There WILL be LOTS OF geocoins involved!

Log Your Geocaches –  The geocaches hidden as part of the gauntlet race will be published after the event so participants can log their finds.

A little known fact of Finders Fest history is that the first Gauntlet was not at the first Finders Fest.  Rather the first Gauntlet was known as “Saint Patty’s Green Gauntlet” and was held in Osceola National Forest during NEFGA’s “Hurricanes Blow” event.  It was a joint effort of IceCreamMan and UFBuilder.  The event was at The Landing on Ocean Pond and was a rescheduling of an event that was cancelled several times due to the hurricanes of 2004 (thus the name). The winning team was “Twisted Sisters and Company” comprised of Cache and Keri, Marine Biologist, and McLeod1.

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