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Geocaching - Treasure Hunting Outdoors

We drove slowly down the winding back road through woods and swamp. Around the next corner we saw it - a mysterious small cemetery. We got out of the car, looked respectfully at the grave and then walked to the far side. Looking, looking, looking - there! A dull green box under a tangle of dead wood. We slowly opened it and found....a cow....that moo'ed. Success!! Were we psychic? Were we crazy? No, we were just geocaching!

What is it?
Geocaching is basically a world-wide free treasure hunt. Wikipedia describes it as "an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and "treasure," usually toys or trinkets of little value." I recommend reading the full Wikipedia entry for a more complete overview.

What do I need?
Transportation and a GPS. Garmin is a popular manufacturer of GPS technology and they've incorporated geocaching into some of their products. They also have a page on their website devoted to geocaching. Magellan is another GPS manufacturer. They sell geocache "bundles" which are apparently a bundle of their products geared toward geocaching. Actually, there's too many GPS products for me to list here, but you get the idea!

Where do I go?
You'll be surprised at how many caches there are and where they are. To get the GPS coordinates for a cache, visit either Geocaching.com or Terracaching.com . Personally I used Geocaching.com. From there I load "waypoints" directly from my computer into my GPS. From the website description, I note landmarks or cache descriptions (e.g. long blue box, small green match case) to take with me.

Why should I?
First of all, who doesn't like treasure hunting?!? This will give you one more excuse to get outside. Geocaching is great for a "date night" idea or a family outing. It's also fun while on vacation; load up coordinates near your destination before you go and you'll find places to explore while there.

So get out there, try it, you'll like it! Who knows, you may even find the very same crazy moo'ing cow that we found!

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