Geocaching – A Global Hot Trend

[Chi Wan Lam, Los Angeles] With a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit, you can find treasures around the world.

Geocaching, a high-tech treasure hunt, started in the Washington State in 2000. There are Geocaching enthusiasts all over the world, caches hidden in various corners of the world. Currently there are more than 371,000 treasures scattered over 190 countries, with increasing popularity in Taiwan and China.

Geocaching is a game specifically designed for GPS users. The rules of the game are to locate the “hidden treasures” using the location information (latitude, longitude and location descriptions) posted on the internet web sites. According to some Geocachers, each cache usually contains some “treasures”, a log book for the treasure hunters to record their finds. The treasure hunter can take one item from the cache container, in exchange they need to replace the item with a item they brought along, record in the log book and return the cache box to the location where it was found.

The treasures can be of different formats, in general, they are small items kept in small containers. The contents can be anything (non-food items), a water resistant letter which provides a clue to the next treasure; or a “camera treasure” which in addition to using the coordinates to find the treasure, they also need to use the camera to record their treasure hunting experience (web cam). There was a treasure hunt organized by an automobile dealership (or company), the top prize was a brand-new sports utility vehicle. Some environmentalists are involved in Geocaching, during the treasure hunting process, they also help out by picking trash along their way.

Most caches are located in the more scenic countryside, they are hidden otherwise they could be treated as a dangerous or trash. The treasure hunting provides the Geocachers an exercise of walking and hiking, and at the same time for them to enjoy the sceneries and nature. As tiring and time consuming as it seems, Geocaching remains an enjoyable sport to all enthusiasts.

Steven Nikkel, a Canadian Geocaching enthusiast with over four years of experience, the treasure hunting is very fun and rewarding because of the anticipation of locating the reward and the joy of earning the reward.

Since a GPS has an accuracy of up to 30 feet, there is still a certain degree of difficulties in locating a geocache. A geocacher will also need to rely on the location description provided by the treasurer hider in order to successfully locate a cache.

A number of interesting Geocaches have become topics of discussion on the internet, amongst the Geocache enthusiasts they share their Geocaching experiences, difficulties contents of the caches, and introduce some interesting caches that they have found.

Steven’s favorite geocache is called the “Lucky Tod”, located in an old mine on a mountain at 5,566 foot. The joy of finding treasures and the appreciation of the beauty of nature has prompted Steven to introduce this cache to other enthusiasts on the internet.

People who are interested in Geocaching should visit the web site geocaching.com. By entering your zip code, you can easily locate the geocache locations in your areas. Buy a GPS and spend a weekend of treasure hunting with your family by visiting the some of the geocaches close to your home.

2007-03-19 World Journal