Modern day treasure hunting

Geocaching combines technology and hiking

Buried treasure, rugged hiking trails, urban exploration. The next “National Treasure” movie? Nope, geocaching, one of the fastest growing outdoor treasure-seeking activities in the world. Geocaching is free, available to all age and ability levels and can be found in all fifty states and many countries around the world. According to the official website, there are 3,368,963 geocaches around the world and that number is growing quickly.

Geocaching involves the use of specific coordinates to find “hidden treasure” or caches. These caches are placed by others and are everything from a basic tube with to large boxes with tiny toys. Many caches are a “take one leave one” concept or have a specific item like a small button or badge. Trackables are meant to move from geocache to geocache. If you take something meant to be traded, make sure to leave something of equal or greater value. Every geocache should have some kind of journal or log for the finders to sign.

Caches are located use global positioning system (GPS) coordinates. Those participating can use either a Geocaching app or a GPS device. The coordinates can be found after registering for a free account. Often, the geocache comes with hints or clues in addition to the coordinates to help the searcher find what they are looking for. Geocaching is a great way to get outside and get moving. It is a fun, outdoor activity that whole families can do whether they live in the city or a rural location.

Started in Oregon in 2000, it was originally called geostashing. It was started by a group of people interested in technology and geography. It is a higher tech play on the hobby of letterboxing. Geocaching is a way to learn about the environment and help clean it up. Cache in, trash out is a common activity. Earthcaches (developed by the Geological Society of America) provide educational lessons about the physical geography of the caches region.

Those wanting to participate in geocaching need to make sure they do it safely. If a searcher is going to be covering rough terrain or more than one geocache in a search they need to make sure they have water, snacks and appropriate footwear and clothing. It never hurts to have an additional, physical map or downloaded map of the area on the phone or GPS device as well.

If using the app on a smart phone, the searcher can track how many finds they have, how many hides, and the areas that they have been. The app also allows users to message others in the geocaching community. If using the premium membership, which is $29.99/year the user can also track their statistics and access maps for offline use and searching with advanced filters.

Geocaching doesn’t require anything more than a sense of adventure, some sturdy shoes and a smart phone to get started.

Wyoming boasts over 100 geocaches almost all of which are easily accessible, some are as close at the county fair grounds. They range from mountain-top locations to downtown Cheyenne Geocaching can be a fun way to learn more about the surrounding area, how to read maps, directions and learn about GPS navigation. Just one more way to enjoy the Wyoming outdoors.