Geocaching: Treasure Hunting for Everyone
March 29, 2013
There's a little bit of treasure hunter in everyone. Need proof? Ever been to a thrift store? Watched American Pickers on TV? Bought a lottery ticket? Searched for a lost ancestor online?
Let me introduce you to an army of treasure hunters, 4 million strong -- geocachers. Geocachers are ordinary people like my husband and me. Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunt using a GPS-enabled device. Geocachers (the people) enter the coordinates (latitude and longitude) of a geocache (the treasure) into their GPS and then go hunting in parks, on city streets, in cemeteries, museums, and countless other places.
Geocaches come in various shapes and sizes but share the common denominator of being water tight since they are hidden outside. My husband and I have hunted for geocaches that were as small as butterscotch candy and as large as an army ammo can.
There are 3,238 geocaches within 50 miles of the North Independence Branch. You've probably walked past geocaches hanging from the branches of trees, buried under piles of bark and leaves in the park, or tucked into the cavity of a rock. You can find a listing of geocaches and their coordinates here.
Discovering a geocache can be exhilarating. If it is large enough, a geocache will hold a log book to enter your find, along with several small "treasures"-one of which you can exchange for your own treasure.
The most interesting geocaching adventure we’ve been on was through the sand dunes of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It was a taxing climb up and over those giant dunes, but we finally found the cache underneath scrub near a dried-up cranberry bog. Inside the cache was a Travel Bug. Travel Bugs are dog-tags with a bug and number on them. We went to www.Geocaching.com and logged our visit as well as the Travel Bug find. Then, when we returned to Missouri, we left the Travel Bug in a cache at a Watkins Mill State Park near Lawson for someone else to find and move—and they did!
Since the Travel Bug is registered online with Geocaching.com and I am linked to it, I know that in the past four years this bug--called Travy Buggy--has traveled to the East Coast, New Zealand, Australia, and Michigan. And now it is in the Netherlands!
Geocaching is a lot of fun. It has a minimal cost—the price of a GPS unit—and can be done anywhere in the world. For more information go to www.geocaching.com.
North Independence Branch