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What is Geocaching

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GPS Device and Compass on a Map

Geocaching is kind of like The Temple of Doom, only the bull whip and snazzy fedora are optional. All you need to get started is a fully charged GPS, some hiking boots, and a sense of adventure. This is, after all, a treasure hunt.

Geocaches come in all shapes and sizes and can range from simple to find to incredibly challenging. Generally you'll be looking for some sort of hidden water-proof container with a trinket inside. Etiquette dictates that if you plan to remove the item from the cache you should replace it with a new one - something worth finding.

The official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site, lists over 842,000 geocaches stashed around the world. To find a geocache near you, simply provide your zip code. You may seek any geocache on the website, but if you need some guidance, the site provides a difficulty rating and an approximate amount of time necessary to find the treasure.

If you opt for a difficult geocache, make sure you're prepared for a long day of strenuous physical activity. Pack water, snacks, a knife, warm clothing, a compass and map, and first-aid gear. Also be sure to let a friend know where you're going and when you expect to return. In other words, try to avoid becoming the geocache yourself. Yes, your mother would say you're precious, but you can be sure the rescue team will exhibit different feelings upon finding you.

Want to combine your new hobby with your summer road trip plans? Campgrounds are getting in on the action, concealing goodies throughout their parks to attract adventurous new guests. Call ahead to verify if and when your campground might be hosting a geocache event. If they're not yet up to speed, use this calendar to find out what's happening near you.

For more information on where to find geocaches, contact your state park department. For you lucky ducks in Minnesota, here's a list of Minnesota state parks where you can go geocaching.

Happy Trails!

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