This week we finally got our geocache all set up and posted. For those of you who do not know about geocaching, it's like a scavenger hunt using a GPS unit instead of a treasure map. There are hundreds of people around the county getting into this new sport. I was surprised when I went onto the ND Tourism web site to update our information to find that even they had added geocaching to their list of possible activities for North Dakota.
Once posted to the geocaching web site (http://www.geocaching.com/) I began to receive weekly updates about other geocache's hidden in North Dakota. It was amazing to me the large gatherings, events, meetings, and the number of possible cache's to find in the state.
Geocaching goes something like this: if you have a GPS unit, you log onto the web site. Building an account is free and you don't need an account to look for coordinates in an area to find. Search for the area/region where you are traveling, where you live, or where you would like to search for your new 'treasure'. The web site will give you the first coordinates of the cache and even a map to help get you started.
There are several kinds of cache's. Some are just a simple set of coordinates, some give you a coordinate to find and there you will find the clues or coordinates to another location. This is called a multi-cache. The gardendwellers FARM cache is a multi-cache with 4 locations to find before looking for the real treasure.
The treasure at the end of your trail will be a waterproof box of some kind which you will have to look for - thus the treasure hunt aspect. In the box will be a log book. As a finder, you are expected to sign the log book and leave a note. There will also be instructions in the box. Some boxes contain trinkets. If you choose to take a trinket from the treasure, you are expected to leave one as well. These trinkets can be small toys, key chains, pins, whatever small treasure a person has. Our box, like some others, contains a camera and the instructions to take a photo of yourself having fun in the garden, then leave the camera for the next geocacher to also take their photo.
This is a fun, inexpensive (although the cost of gas is high right now) family or individual activity. No purchases are ever necessary and no fees are ever charged to go geocaching - you just have to find the treasure.
Once you've found a cache, you are invited to post your find on the web site - let everyone know how many cache's you've found, how fun it was, and what a great activity it can be. I encourage everyone to at least check out the web site for more information. You never know, you're next vacation may include a treasure hunt!
PS - the first to find our cache (gneis) were from Grand Forks ND. They snuck in and out without us even seeing them and did it within 24 hours of us hiding the treasure! I knew they had found it as I received an email from the geocaching web site that informed there was an electronic log posted to our entry. What a great surprise! Way to go gneis!