Anyone hiking up the Houston’s Palisades on July 8 may have bumped into a group of hunters hot on the trail of a “geocache.”
Armed with bug dope and phones loaded with GPS coordinates from a geocaching website, the group finally found the cache tucked away in the trees.
“Geocaching is basically treasure hunting,” said Noni Aikins, a Smithers geocacher who recently got into the activity.
Miake Elliot, a Houston geocacher, held an info session last Thursday at the Houston library to explain what geocaching is all about.
Caches are weather-proof containers planted by other geocachers, she explained. Inside, each has a logbook for the finders to write their names, as well as small treasures to trade.
Some caches have a “travel bug,” says Elliot—a coin or tag with a tracking number that finders can check on a geocaching website to see all the places it has been.
Geocaching is a global sport, so the travel bugs move all over the world.
Elliott says she set up a real Canadian travel bug—a beaver badge that she can now track as other geocachers stash it in different caches around the world.
“I put it in a bag with a little write up on beavers, filled the bag with nickels, and sent it on its way,” she explained.
“Right now it is travelling around Australia.”
Geocachers can buy an optional membership of $30, Elliot said, which allows them to access exclusive caches and view cache statistics on the geocaching.com website.
Geocaching is great for getting people outside, says fellow geocacher Bizz McKilligan.
McKilligan said her favourite thing about the sport is that it leads to really cool places that would otherwise be hard to find.
For more information or to get involved, visit www.geocaching.com.