The Easter Bunny is known for cleverly hiding eggs for children to find, but he’s not alone in his ability to conceal treasures in almost plain sight.
Geocaching is a year-round opportunity for people to participate in a grown-up version of hunting for eggs.
Geocaching takes hide and seek to greater heights through GPS technology and clues provided in the quest to find the cache. It also expands treasure hunting to a larger geographic scale.
Essentially, this involves someone hiding a cache and providing clues for others to find it. Anyone can hide a cache, which is another name for whatever the “treasure” might be. The clues to discover where the cache is can be either written down or given by longitude and latitude with Global Positioning Systems (GPS). The people who look for caches are known as geocachers.
Currently, there are geocaches all across the globe. Websites such as www.geocaching.com list active caches, which recently numbered almost 2 million, and approximates the number of geocachers at over 5 million.
In addition to websites, there are mobile apps for Android and Apple devices to make it easier to pursue discovery of caches while you are on the move.
Caches are kept in outdoor locations. Small caches are concealed in waterproof containers and usually have an accompanying logbook, where you enter your information. Logbooks can be physical or digital.
Large caches have the same sort of thing as in small ones plus a trading option. If you find one, you can take an item and replace it with something of your own. When geocachers find a cache, they sign and date the logbook. Some use their real names; others have code names.
The Fairfax County Park Authority provides a list of parks where geocaching is allowed and a form for requesting permission to geocache at other county parks.
Geocachers enjoyed a record-setting day this year on February 29, Leap Day. Nearly 84,000 caches were logged online. Geocaches in the United States include both public and copyrighted information. The cache coordinates are in the public domain. The description of and what’s in the cache are copyrighted. Important considerations for geocaches on public land, such as park land or public buildings, are to avoid negative impacts on nature and potential distress to the public.
So this Sunday after you’ve successfully found all the eggs hidden by the Easter Bunny, do a bit of geotrekking for some prime geoswag. Remember to abide by the cornerstone tenant “cache in, trash out” or CITO.