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The Hidden Fun of Geocaching

by Brandon Petersen

Geocaching

Have you ever made a treasure map as a kid? Can you recall drawing a map in crayon and creating pathways that led to some forbidden hidden "treasure," like marble or nickel," in your backyard?

All About Geocaching

Now you can step back into your magical childhood with the latest trend of geocaching. Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which participants use GPS-enabled devices, explains Geocaching.com. Participants use their digital device to locate and find a certain set of GPS coordinates. At those coordinates, participants will search for container-filled unknown items, called the geocache, that are hidden at the site.

Geocaches can be found in your neighborhood, town and even throughout the globe. If you're feeling adventurous, Geocaching.com offers a list of GeoTours, including the Star-Spangled GeoTour in Washington, D.C., Taking Flight GeoTour in Manatee County, Fla., and Thing Sites Trek in Northern Europe.

Dino Geocaching & Planning

The Dinosaur Train journey takes places across the United States and includes Dinosaur Train-themed geocaches. Each geocache features one of the creatures found on the PBS KIDS animated Dinosaur Train series and Field Guide. Since it takes place across the United States, significant, yet adventurous travel is involved. Equip your car with a collection of road maps of the various states or even countries that you're traveling to. Although you're probably accustomed to relying on your smartphone's Google Maps, traditional maps are handy for emergencies. Be proactively smart and safe! Pack a first-aid kit. If you're outside your home country, contact a company like HCCMIS to arrange for specialty medical insurance coverage. You just might need a few Band-Aids and Neosporin after retrieving a geocache hidden among brambles and thick brush.

Lastly and most obviously, don't forget your GPS device.

The Geocache Prize

The geocache is always a mystery and curiosity is all part of the fun. First, you'll find a logbook or log sheet for a participant to record the find, which can be any trinket. If you take something, you are expected to leave an item of equal or greater value in return. Geocache items should be individually packaged in a clear, zipped bag to keep them in good shape for the next round of geocachers.

While embarking on your geocaching trip, you're part of a global trend. Geocaching.com is the recorded database for the global geocaching community, and it's maintained by Groudspeak in Seattle. According to GeekWire.com, Geocashing.com is expected to reach 2 million active geocaches in late February. Keep in mind Geocaching.com started with 75 geocaches in 2000 and reached the one million mark by March 2010. No wonder geocaching attracts so many participants. The challenge is enticing and exciting.

Depending on the accuracy of your GPS, weather conditions and other factors, the geocache could be within two or even 10 yards away. GeocachingOnline.com suggests "thinking like a cache." Search for things that seem out of place, such as a in pile of rocks or sticks. Remember, it works both ways. You can plant geocaches as well, so have fun and use your imagination.

Brandon Petersen Brandon is a freelance writer who lives in Ohio.


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