Did you pick up a GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) receiver for a great price on Black Friday? And now you’re thinking that you already know the way to Grandma’s house, so what the heck are you going to do with this thing? How about taking the kids outside and finding some hidden treasure? Okay, so it’s not exactly the kind of treasure that will let you retire in style on a yacht in the South Pacific, but geocaching is pretty exciting nonetheless. And what, exactly, is geocaching, you ask? It’s a high-tech game of hide-and-seek that can be both fun and educational.
The idea is that someone hides a “cache”, they post the location and clues, and then others find the cache, logging their visit both in the cache and online. The cache can be as small as a pebble or as big as a bread box — surplus ammo cans are popular due to being waterproof and durable. Larger caches may include trinkets or toys — the custom is to take something only if you leave something in exchange. My son still has his “quackercache” — a rubber duck left in a cache by geocacher QuackerCache — that we found several years ago.
Once upon a time, geocaching was the pastime of die-hard outdoorspeople but now it has hit the mainstream, thanks in large part to the proliferation of affordable and available GPS receivers. If you’re interested in joining the sport, all you need is a GPS unit and a free (or premium) membership at geocaching.com. Then you need to pick a cache to find (they’re rated for difficulty and you can search for caches near you) and get out there.