In times past Pirates, and other people of less than an honest reputation, would scour the seven seas in search of treasure. They would follow paths laid out for them on scraps of old paper in hopes that they would eventually be led to that all important X marking the spot where treasure and glory awaited them. Although movie pirates such as these have long since vanished from every day life there are still people who get excited with the thrill of the search and awaiting treasure, today we call them Geocachers.
Geocaching began over 12 years ago with the very first cache placed in Oregon and currently has an estimated five million participants worldwide. It is believed that every continent and over 200 countries currently have a geocache hidden within its borders.
Geocachers use modern day technology to aid them on their quests. Instead of charts, compasses, and sextants, these modern day treasure hunters use the Global Positioning System (GPS) and some mode of transportation to get them as close as possible to their desired coordinates. With the advancement in recent years of smartphones, Geocaching has become even easier for people to become involved in this worldwide game. Android and iPhones have replaced handheld GPS machines by many people due to only needing one all in one tool. By installing a Geocaching app and registering at the matching website one can gain access to thousands of locations in just seconds. However, many people still choose to use a Garmin or similar type machine as the satellite location can be more accurate than those found on smartphones.
Time for the hunt! So you think you’re all set. You have downloaded the app or purchased a GPS. You have registered at a site, such as Geocaching.com, the excitement and anticipation of finding your first hidden treasure chest is building. Not so fast, there are a couple more things to know first.
if you take a piece of treasure, leave an item in return
Not all geocaches are the same. They range in type, size, and location. Different sites use different rating systems to show the level of difficulty and size of the geocache itself. For example a cache with a difficulty of one star is usually what is referred to as a cache and dash. Easily found, and not far off of a main road a cache and dash is nice for those in a hurry or just passing through. In comparison a cache with a difficulty of five stars usually requires a hike into a forested section and definitely not on the main trail. These caches are hidden for those desiring a true challenge. Sizes can also vary from what is considered a micro up to a large. Micros can be as small as a magnet while larges tend to be an ammo box. Tupperware containers are also a popular choice as they are watertight. When you finally find the hidden treasure and gaze at your pirate’s booty keep in mind that if you take a piece of treasure, the polite thing to do is to leave an item in return. Won’t be much of a hidden treasure if everyone takes and doesn’t leave something in return.