I enjoy finding treasures going on scavenger hunts whether it is antiques, yard sales, a good wine, a special restaurant, fossils, or seashells. You might enjoy a good old-fashioned treasure hunt that can take you around your town or around the world. The movie Pirates of the Caribbean was a huge hit as they looked for hidden treasures in unexpected places. But what if I told you there are hidden treasures in our own back yards that you can find them using a treasure map and the computer to find hidden treasures in your area. The treasures can be found as close as your hometown or as you travel all over the world. You can be part of this new adventure of geo-caching. “What exactly is geo-caching? A “cache” is any sort of hiding place and “geo” means earth, so basically it is a variety of places all over the world where people have hidden treasures for others to find.” Quote from Lily Beauvilliers.
In the last few years I have become a couch potato and have been looking for some exciting reason to go outside explore and get some exercise. I have decided that I want to try “cache” in. Playing hide and seek is a favorite game for all ages and if you like that game than Geocaching is for you. It is a high tech version of that old child hood game. If you like video games than this is one that can get you off your computer and outside in to our exciting world to explore. It could be a great date, a family adventure, or just a group of friends trying to beat the other to the cache. PPl has set up fun for the whole family with Geocaching challenges at each of its preserves from Pennsylvania to Montana.
Individuals and organizations have set up caches through out the world and share the location coordinates on the Internet through Global Positioning Systems. Then the player can use the coordinates to find the caches—usually simple containers with log books and trinkets. Since PPl locations are environmental preserves you might discover wetlands, wildflowers, old growth forests, birds and animals, and more while most of all enjoying time with your family or friends.
How to get started is to look up the coordinates for the location of your choice. There are places that will give your classes or their coordinates and clues to help you find all of their gouaches. You can surf the Internet to find places to hunt for your treasure. If you do not have access to a GPS device you can get a free downloadable program on the Internet. The program will help you look up driving directions from any address to any coordinates where you will see a satellite picture of the target area, unlike the GPS unit, it will just give you a general idea of where to scavenge for your treasure. If you plan a visit to any place in the world, you can search for gouaches by zip code, city, state, or keyword to find a treasure while on vacations.
Once you have the coordinates to your site, plug in the information into your GPA unit and set off for a wild adventure. “Each cache has an assigned name, a description, coordinates, and often a hint. The most common type of cache is called “traditional.” It usually consists of a Tupperware or ammunition box filled with small trinkets and a logbook. Other caches, such as the micro (which is just a tiny container) and virtual (which is a place you find, not an object) do not have prizes, so if you are looking to treasure hunt, be careful what you pick.” Quote from Lily Beauvilliers.
Some of the sites especially at the PPL Preserves or National Parks have GPS devices that you can use on the days that they have set up for their trainings.
Make sure you dress for your adventure with hiking boots or a good pair of sneakers, maybe a clean set of clothes if you get wet or stuck in the mud and never fort a snack, plus something to exchange for your treasure. As you are looking for your cache be discreet because there might be spies looking for the same treasure and you don’t want to give away any clues.
When you find your cache, follow these simple rules: take a treasure from the cache then leave something of yours in its place and write about it in the logbook. Most people leave inexpensive trinkets such as small toys, fishing lures, souvenirs, GPS batteries or buttons. Just use your imagination you never know what you might find when you reach your treasure.
Practice “Cache In, Trash Out”
While out Geocaching, bring a bag with you to pick up trash along the way.
Make a note in the logbook.
A treasure hunt for the twenty-first century.
Get involved in this new hobby that is sweeping the nation.
A big thanks to Catie Heverling and her friend LILY BEAUVILLIERS who writes for The Bucknellian for helping me with this article.