Let’s go Treasure Hunting A.K.A. Geocaching

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Have you ever read Treasure Island or other tails of buried Treasures? Most children and many adults at some point dream about finding a buried treasure. Many people over the years have carefully hidden items which could be retrieved at a later date. Yes, there are some real treasures out there.

Today there is a new type of treasure hunt. It is called Geocaching. Geocaching is a modern day treasure hunt using a GPS enabled device. Most so called smart phones these days include GPS technology. You can also buy a variety of GPS devices for finding your way when traveling either by car or for use when hiking in the wilderness. Most of these devices can be used to take part in a Geocache treasure hunt.

Geocaching was started on May 3, 2000 with the first cache being placed near Beaver Creek, Oregon. On September 2, 2000 the Geocaching.com website became active with 75 known caches. As of September, 2014 there are 2,490,670 plus Geocaches worldwide located on all seven continents and many islands worldwide. There are more than 6 million Geocachers searching for these caches.

So you want to take the
children for a walk in the woods? Well why not add a treasure hunt to make it even more fun.

To get started, you need to sign up for a Free Basic Membership. You do this by downloading the Geocaching app to your smart phone. There is an app for android phones, IPhones and Windows phones. The app will take you through the registration process. If you have a GPS device, other than a phone, you will need to go to Geocaching.com to register. You will at this point want to read the rules of the game. There are rules that every Geocacher must follow. Be sure you understand these rules.

At this point you are ready to get started. You can visit the “Hide and Seek a Cache” page on the website or start the app on your smart phone. You will be asked to enter a zip code or other location details. You will be given a list of caches located in the selected area. Pick a cache and the hunt begins. For phones the app will point the way to the cache and you are on your way. For other GPS devices you need to enter the coordinates of the cache so your GPS can point the way.

Once you find the cache there are several things you need to do. First is to sign the logbook to let others know that you found it. Look over the items in the cache. The rules explain the different types of items in the cache and what you can and can’t do. When you are done, return the cache to its original location making sure it is out of sight. You should then share your adventure with others by entering details of your find. Again that can be done on your phone or by going to the website.

So now you know that basics of Geocaching. But this is only the beginning. Once you are familiar with how everything works, you will want to hide you own caches. This can be a tricky process. All caches must be registered. So find a good location, and do some research. You will need to get permission from the land owner. This information is verified by someone at Geocaching.com before a cache is activated and listed on the website.

What do you put in the Cache? There is a list of items that can or can’t be placed in a cache. For example no food of any type is allowed. A full list of prohibited items can be found on the webpage. You can’t dig a hole to bury a cache or place any harmful items in it. Again, be sure you know all the rules before placing a cache.

So you want to take the children for a walk in the woods? Well why not add a treasure hunt to make it even more fun. After all, it’s an adventure that the whole family can share.

Basic Geocache classes are offered at USFW Kettle Pond Visitor Center. Classes are free but you must register.

Call 401-364-9124 to find a class and register.

Rhode Island Blueways Alliance • c/o WPWA • 203 Arcadia Road • Hope Valley, RI 02832