Getting Lost and Finding Treasure: Geocaching
Ahoy, matey! If you love the fantasy of looking for secret hidden treasure or if you believe that the journey is more valuable than the destination, then geocaching is for you. Great fun for one or many, for the high-adventure seekers to the side-of-the-road tripsters, geocaching offers fun for you. Treasure hunting isn’t just an old pirate pastime, it’s a modern day sport that’s sweeping the world!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
There’s no fees to start, all you need is:
- A GPS (global positioning system) device
- A few tradable items (think kids’ meals toys, eyeglass repair cases, trinkets)
- A pencil
- An Internet connection
- Sunscreen, snacks & water
GET STARTED!GET STARTED!
- Do a web search for “geocaching” to find a site, registration is free.
- Do a Search for caches near your home or destination. Size of the cache is illustrated by green boxes next to the cache description, the larger the cache, the larger the treasure you can take and leave.
- Get the coordinates for the cache and input them into your GPS device. Consider visiting more than one cache if you’re going far from home.
- Pack your goodies. Small toys, unique key chains, trinkets, maps, tickets, tools, games, etc.• Head to your destination cache
- Once you are near the coordinates of your cache, get out to walk to the treasure• The box or container may be hidden under brush, in a hollowed tree stump, under rocks, in a tree, etc. Keep looking, you’ll find it!
- Open your found treasure chest and exchange booty. Only take a piece if you leave a piece. Don’t forget to sign the log book!
- Reseal and leave the cache where you found it. Don’t hide it in a different location, as others will come seeking it soon.
- When you return home, go back to the website you registered with and log your find
In addition to being a great way to spend time with friends and family, you’ll discover parks, trails, streams and places that are hidden treasures themselves. Every cache is hidden is a new place, so you’ll never run out of finding new destinations and treasure chests.
A BIT ABOUT BUGS
Travel bugs are recently added “game” that piggy backs on the sport of geocaching. Sometimes you’ll find a treasure in a cache that has an attached dog-tag with a spider picture and bar code printed on it. This is a travel bug. If you take the travel bug as your treasure, you are agreeing to take it on an adventure, log it’s travels and place it in another cache to let it continue on a journey.
Once you’ve grabbed a bug, go to the website on the tag and enter the tracking number (under the bar code on the dog tag). Log that you found it and what adventures you’ve taken it on.
Your last duty to the travel bug is to hide it in another cache. Wish him/her/it farewell on the rest of the journey.
HIDING A CACHE…
Once you’ve visited a cache or two, you will probably want to hide your own. Maybe you’ll choose a themed cache based on hiding spot, family interests, a holiday or anything your heart desires. Here’s what you’ll need:
A container, ranging in size from a film canister to a huge ammo box (mark that it is a geocache on the outside, so it isn’t mistaken for trash)
In a zipper seal plastic bag:
- Paper or log book
- Pencil or two, and a sharpener (pens may burst, crayons will melt)
- A welcome note explaining what geocaching is (you can probably find one at your registered site)
- Treasure! Remember, nothing illegal
- A spot that isn’t too easy to find (don’t want it plundered) or too hard to find (you want cachers to find it)Don’t hide your cache on private land unless you own it
- Don’t hide your cache on historical or protected landGo hide it and don’t forget to take your GPS so you can get the coordinates
- Log onto your chosen geocaching site and enter the coordinates of your cache
…OR TRAVEL BUG
You first need some travel bugs. You can purchase travel bugs at a number of stores online, just do an Internet search for them. Once you have them in your hand, you’ll have to choose what item they’ll hitchhike on. Will your bug travel with a toy? A disposable camera? A world map where finders can mark their spot? Anything can carry a bug. If you have a specific job for your bug (travel 100 miles, reach a certain city, find someone over 100 years old, anything!) make sure you add a note about it’s job on the tag.
Go online and log it. Finally, hide it and let it’s voyage begin!
Geocaching is a great new sport taking over the nation and the world. There are caches hidden under water, on the top of mountains, hidden in places you must repel to and even in local parks. From California to New York, from Finland to Australia, caches are hidden the world over. So what are you waiting for? Start your treasure hunt!