A GPS Treasure Hunt

The thrill of the hunt means different things to every person. For some it may mean visions of a tasty deer meat stew at the end of the challenge using the honed skill of bow and arrow. Or it may mean casting a line into a well-stocked brook using the skill of rod and reel and the stamina to land a mighty fine trout for dinner. There is even the use of a camera hunting the elusive wild bird of prey or animals of the forest. Even as children we all loved to play a version of hunting called ‘hide and seek’. What is it about human nature that loves the whole concept of this game?

When you think about it there is the challenge to be clever and to think through a complex process within such a simple set of rules. Someone is ‘it’. They count to ten and say ‘ready or not here I come!”. Meanwhile the others who are playing look for a place to be out of view of the person who is ‘it’. The challenge is to try to blend in with your surroundings, stay as still as a statue or ‘play dead’. When time was up if one or two were still unaccounted for there would be a call out, ‘ollie, ollie in for free’. There would be no penalty to come out of hiding. You would be praised all around for not being found and having the most clever hiding place. It was all good fun. A real simple version of hunter/gatherer.

The international logo for Geocaching.

As humans have evolved, the primal instinct of hunter/gatherer has also evolved into some pretty interesting quests. One such game uses a GPS as the weapon of choice. It is called “Geocaching”. Or as a friend of mine repeated back to me, “you mean Geo-k’ching.” I did not understand at first. “You know, k’ching like a cash register sound” referring to the sound of money and in a sense ‘winning the prize.’ I liked her theory because it is very much just like that. The prize is finding the cache, recording your ‘find’ and leaving your name and perhaps a small token.

According the online website, the definition of The Game is: Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden in that location. There is so much to this I recommend visiting their site and get hunting!

It was Earth Day and we were coming back from the festivities at Stonyfield Yogurt. We decided to stop at one of the old cemeteries in town. While reading headstones and contemplating their lives I spied something wedged in the stone wall. It was a medium size plastic pill container. I opened it with reservation holding it away from myself and carefully looked inside.

I immediately knew what it was and yelled for the others to see what I found. We were not playing the game and happened on this by accident. There was a long scroll of names and dates going back to 2008! The items were a random assortment given the small container. “Quick, go to the car and find something we can put in!” Capping the bottle I carefully placed it back just out of view for the next hunter to find.

The list of names and items found inside the pill bottle in a Londonderry Cemetery.

This game is available all over the world. Other types of ‘seek and find’ games you may want to check out are: Mega Event Cache, Cache In Trash Out Event, Earth Cache, Letterbox Hybrid, Groundspeak Headquarters Cache, GPS Maze Exhibit , etc.

In conclusion the basic idea behind a geocaching challenge is: Go somewhere, do something.

Debbie Curtin writes stories about people, places, events and other topics of interest that engage the reader. As a member of the New Hampshire Writer’s Project, Debbie keeps ‘in the game’ with other like minded people. She has been an artist and creative person all her life and uses the unlimited sources of inspiration that abound everywhere in her writing as another art form.


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  1. Vote -1 Vote +1don miller

    Very well written. I found it fascinating. Thank you.

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