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New Age Treasure Hunting - Geocaching

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Official Geocache

It is no secret that all children have imaginations; we have all put on costumes and played, indulged with friends, and pretended that we were part of a big adventure. The quest, the map, and the treasure at the end were all parts of this childhood fantasy catalyzed through the efforts of Walt Disney, Robert Louis Stevenson, and our own oral traditions and campfire tales. But now, this pretend adventure is coming to life through Geocaching, and is proving to be a favorite activity among enthusiastic campers and RVers.

The way it works sounds quite basic, but ask any of our modern Lewis' or Clarks and you will understand that it can prove to be, if you like, quite difficult. First, a geocache is planted. A geocache is a capsule of some kind that most-always contains a logbook and a couple of little surprises for the lucky one who discovers it. When the capsule is hidden the planter records the exact geographical location and presents it online or with any other list of geocache locations. Next, the explorers choose a geocache to discover and use their own GPS to pinpoint its exact location. When, and if, they are successful, they put their names in the logbook, take the treasure (as well as normally putting something for the next finder) and then often tell their tale, as have all famous adventurers, online and amongst other geocachers.

The ease of locating the geocaches range from easy, such as on the side of the road, to extremely difficult, on the peak of a mountain, or possibly in a cave. This factor is exactly what makes the game so appealing and addictive. Anyone can do it, and once a few have been found, the geocacher will be on a mission of indefinite length to find all geocaches (now well over a million).

There are various geocaching sites available that list hidden geocaches including Geocaching.com, navicache.com, TerraCaching.com, and GPSgames.org. Geocaching.com catalogs over a million geocaches from around the world and offers various features depending on your membership, including the ability to enter your trip route on a map that returns all the geocaches within a certain distance of the route. Navicache.com has thousands of geocaches logged for any region of the United States and encourages virtual caches and moving caches with some restrictions. It also has international geocaches, but most are in Germany. At TerraCaching.com the focus is on quality caches rather than quantity - the site has developed a community rating system to give each cache a quality score. To gain access to the site you must be sponsored by two existing players. GPSgames.org features a number of games you can play with your GPS, including geocaching. On the site all caches are welcome, including virtual caches, moving caches, locationless caches and more.

The variation of difficulty and accessibility make geocaching perfect for both recreational outdoorsmen and their thrill seeking counterparts. It is no wonder that millions of campers and RVers are taking part in this new subculture which acts as a modern complement to traditional sightseeing and camping activities. A family on a simple road trip is sure to pass hundreds of geocaches and most campsites are near a few. Geocaching is a fun way to fill the time and examine locations that normally would not be seen. Now with GPSs selling for as little as $50-$70 there is little reason not to type in your location and start your own exploration.

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