On the surface, it may seem that there really isn’t much to do around these parts. Unless you frequent the great outdoors or have a friend that does, you probably have never heard of Geocaching. Geocaching, as it is defined, is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices, and then share their experiences online. There are over 20 caches in Lake Park alone, and there are over one million worldwide.
To successfully Geocache, one needs a GPS or a GPS enabled smartphone, a free account on Geocaching.com, and a pen to write on the log in the cache. The caches range from an ammo box to a pill bottle, but all of them are hidden in trees, or in bushes, or on the International Space Station. So, they all take a little searching plus, GPS is only accurate to about 20 feet.
Some caches have little “gifts” in them as well. Things such as McDonalds’ toys, flashlights, dollar store trinkets, or what have you. When you take one, you leave one of equal or greater value. It’s common courtesy. Also, it is common courtesy to practice CITO, or Cache In, Trash Out, which has actually been really successful in cleaning up natural resources.
It isn’t all about finding the cache, either. Usually one has to walk a bit, or even climb Mt. Everest to find one. Even just 80 feet from the road in Lake Park can bring the player to a view that he or she never would have seen otherwise. It’s as simple as searching for a zip code nearby on the Geocaching websites, plugging into the coordinates to your GPS device, and heading off.
Now, finding Geocaches isn’t the only part; players can also create them. Following Geocaching’s Guidelines [http://www.geocaching.com/about/guidelines.aspx], anyone can hide a cache and report it for others to find! This allows players to be creative by thinking of clever names, or hints, or hiding locations for the caches so that it provides a fun yet challenging experience for all those who seek it.
Obviously with any outdoor activity there are dangers. One may run across snakes, alligators, wasps, and other creepy crawlies that may make your otherwise fun day into one not so great. So, be prepared for that as well as for things such things as dehydration, hunger, allergies, and things that you would bring if you were to go for a walk in the woods.
So go out, find some caches and tell us about your experiences in the comments!
For more information, visit Geocaching.com!
Kiran Shila / Web Editor