Last summer, Pokemon Go was all the rage. People were all over the place trying to “catch” Pokemon with the help of their phone GPS. It brought families out from behind their TV’s and Ipads, and around area parks and other green spaces. There were even Poke Stops at libraries and other fun places.
What if I told you, you could do something similar, but with the possibly of finding prizes in the process? That’s Geocaching, also known as the “World’s Largest Treasure Hunt!”
Geocaching has been around for well over 10 years. It is really simple: you use your smartphone’s built in GPS or a handheld GPS and hints to hide and/or seek “caches” — little gifts hidden around the world. As of 2016, there are over 2.8 million geocaches hidden throughout the world and found by over 4 million geocachers. You could go on vacation to Italy and still be likely to find a geocache that may have something to take home as a really neat souvenir! Some caches are large, others are really “nano” small and some just contain logs where others contain trinkets and prizes to swap out. Many cachers will have a “signature” item like a trading card, rocks, buttons, or even marbles that they swap out on their finds.
The one good thing about most state parks is that they, too, have geocaches hidden within the park. This is a perfect activity for the family when camping- you can go on a treasure hunt with your crew- sometimes just the journey to find the geocache is plenty fun enough, but the feeling of accomplishment when you eventually find it is pretty awesome too. We’ve geocached at Percy Quin State Park, where there are several caches. One of them is pretty well hidden and when we found it- it felt pretty awesome! (and muddy!)
If you want to try geocaching, it’s pretty easy to get started. Your first step is to download the Geocaching app. Once you sign up and get your app installed, you will see markers for all of the cache’s nearby. All you do is click on the marker, read the tips and hints, and start searching! Depending on your terrain, dress appropriately, bring your bug spray, some snacks, water, and your own trinkets to trade in the caches, and give it a try! If you find a cache, be sure to share a pic and log your experience so others will know it’s still there, and if you find a useful trinket or prize, be sure to put one back in. It’s that simple!
Next time you go camping, I hope you and your family will take the time to try geocaching! You never know what you might find!