Yesterday my daughter and I went treasure hunting.
It wasn’t for gold or silver. We didn’t have a metal detector on the beach. We didn’t suddenly become pirates.
We were geocaching.
After driving for about five minutes, my gps told us we were close to the treasures we sought. It looked like it was located on the side of the road behind a set of guardrails and down in the woods. The road had no pull off, so we searched for the nearest un-gated neighborhood and parked, walking back to the red dot on the gps locator on my phone.
As we got closer, the dot got bigger and directed us behind the guardrail, down the cement drainage holes and into the woods where we found a path.
We followed the path, looking under the brush and around the trees and rocks for about 40 feet until we saw it. The treasure.
What is geocaching?
All over the country and probably the world, people have hidden boxes (or caches). In each cache, there are variations of:
- a logbook to sign and date, showing you’ve found the cache
- instructions on what to do with the cache, in case you’re a noobie or someone finds it by accident
- trinkets left behind from geocachers who came before, to share with you.
The rule is if you take something, you have to leave something in the box. The one we found today had (among lots of other treasures) a homemade bracelet made out of soda cans that my daughter was so impressed with she had to have it.
How do you know where the geocaches are?
Geocaching.com lists all the geocaches hidden and you can search for the treasures closest to you. There’s also an app in Google Play by the same name. Once you find a cache you’d like to hunt for, read the description and any encrypted hints to help you find the box. There are also gps coordinates to get you close to the box, although it still takes some searching to find it.
They can be hidden anywhere, in logs, under brush, in trees, etc. They range in difficulty too, which is something you might want to consider if you don’t have tons of time to search.
What do geocaches look like?
The one we found today was a military ammo box and was about as big as a breadbox. It was chained to a tree in the woods, which was secured by a padlock. Inside there were instructions about geocaching in general, a logbook for us to sign and date and, like I said before, various trinkets for trade.
The caches can be small too though. A few years ago, we found a small cache capsule about the size of a test tube , hidden in a bush hedge surrounding a manmade lake where alligators live. (don’t worry, that’s common around here in SC.) Anyway, inside the tube there was a log and a toy alligator (for kicks, not for taking.)
What’s the point of geocaching?
- Time outdoors with friends and family.
Take your pick! It’s nice to get out of the house and search for treasure.
Maybe it releases the inner pirate in us, eh? (not the plundering and murdering part, but the treasure hunting spastic Jack Sparrow part.)
Have you ever heard of geocaching before? Have you ever gone hunting for one? What did you find? Share in the comments!