Hiking two miles into the woods, signing your name on a piece of paper, then hiking the two miles back out; sound crazy? It’s called GEOCACHING (pronounced geo-cashing). If you have never done it, you should. I spent my spring break camping at Cooper Lake State Park. My cousin (who is 13) found out about it-from me- and was all in. We spent three days driving all over Sulphur Springs finding them. It was great quality time outdoors.
So what is Geocaching? Basically, it is treasure hunting using GPS coordinates. If you have a smart phone, there’s an app for that (Android & iPhone-products). Simply join geocaching.com to sign up. It’s free or you can upgrade for $30 a year. The app is free or you can pay more if you so choose. I have the upgraded .com and the free app. Anyway, after signing up and getting the app, look at the live map on your phone app. You will see little circles with boxes inside of them. Each of these represents a cache. Someone took time out of their busy day to hide a treasure just for you!
Each cache will be a container ranging in size from nano- which is SUPER small, about the size of the tip of your pinky finger-to military ammo can size. These containers will contain a “log.” It’s a piece of paper that you sign to show that you found the container. The larger containers from pill bottle and up, will have a pen (hopefully), and maybe some small trinkets called SWAG-Stuff We All Get- inside for you to trade. This means you have to leave something if you take something. Nothing inside is ever worth much. This past week, I found a rubber band, a used airline ticket, a temporary tattoo, and a plastic tiger. So don’t expect too much. It’s all about the hunt, not the find.
Most caches will be located in a “scenic” or historic area. People want you to get out and see something interesting. If you decide to go, please take the time to read the logbook online. Sometimes you will find clues or just helpful advice (like watch out for ants or dogs or poison ivy). The website may also tell you the container size and whether or not there is a writing utensil (BYOP-Bring your own pen). My advice is to always bring some SWAG and a pen. If you have some duct tape, you might want to bring it also. There have been many times when I found a container and it needed some help. Be sure to leave the cache exactly as you found it and clean up after yourself.
One more thing for you to know, not everyone will know what you are doing. Those people are called muggles. When you are out and about, please do not alert any muggles. They are not as educated as you. No one wants the bomb squad called because of a suspicious container someone saw you leave in the bushes. Yes, it has happened. Be sneaky or if they ask, tell them what you are doing. I personally have been stopped by a sheriff’s deputy. It turned out fine. So take my advice and be careful about who sees you.
Now that I have started back up, I plan to keep going. My 4-year old son likes it, too. It is something you can do with your family wherever you are and it won’t cost much more than a tank of gas. If you want some help, look me up on geocaching.com – my username is chickbowhunter. So get out there! I’m just saying…