Ever since I saw “Indiana Jones” for the first time as a child, the idea of treasure hunting has had a consistent appeal. Who wouldn’t want to go on an adventure to find an ancient artifact or some lost plunder? As the years went on and adulthood set in, it became clear that the prospect of becoming Indy wasn’t very likely, so I put treasure hunting aside to focus on more realistic options. I was a fool. If only someone had told me about geocaching.
That’s exactly the favor I’m going to do for you today. You can go treasure hunting right now. You probably already have everything you need.
What is Geocaching?
In a nutshell, geocaching is a hide and seek game wherein participants place and locate hidden objects, called caches, anywhere in the world. A cache is usually a small container with a few small objects inside. A cache will always include a logbook where you’ll enter the date of your find and leave a name or call sign. The cache may also contain small trinkets or prizes that you can take in exchange for leaving something of similar or greater value. Though a cache is typically relatively small, they can theoretically be as big as the hider desires.I know what you’re thinking, this sounds fun and all, but there probably aren’t any in your area right? A quick check of my zip code revealed 17 caches within a mile of my location.
How Does it Work?
Geocaching relies on a relationship between two people, the cacher and the finder. The cacher creates the cache, selects a location, and places the cache. The coordinates are recorded and uploaded to a website repository such as geocaching.com. A finder can then check their preferred site for caches in their area. Once a cache is located, a handheld GPS device is used to locate the cache. There are also applications available for smart phones meaning you need not spend any money to begin searching. Once the cache is located, you’ll sign the log book, exchange trinkets if appropriate, and return the cache to the exact place you found it so that it can be found again.
Occasionally you’ll discover that a cache has been tampered with, damaged, or stolen. In the community this cache is said to have been “muggled.” The term was borrowed from the Harry Potter franchise and implies that those unfamiliar with geocaching may have stumbled upon a cache and taken or damaged it, not knowing what it was.
Rules and Regulations
The community is largely self regulated; caching dangerous or illegal items is discouraged, as well as caching in dangerous or problematic places. When hiding a cache, avoid private property or anyplace that might cause public concern, such as a school or government building. Regulations surrounding the hobby differ by location so be sure to check with your city or state before playing.