There are 3,673 of them hidden within 30 miles of Pelham and at least 2,015 hidden within 30 miles of Camilla. They are on the river, they are hidden beside the road, one is even hidden near Debbie’s Restaurant, but unless you know how to find them, you’ll never know they are there.
Geocaching is a new outdoor hobby that combines technology and nature. Using Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology, caches are being hidden everywhere. Think of it like a world wide treasure hunt.
How to find a cache
The most popular geocaching website is geocaching.com but there are more including earthcache.org (promoting earth science education), terracaching.com (with challenging caches) and GPSgames.org (a gaming site with GPS games like Geodashing, GeoGolf and even GeoPoker.) Just enter your zip code and you’ll find clues and GPS coordinates for where caches are hidden. Enter these coordinates in your GPS receiver and you’re off to find your hidden object.
What is in a Geo cache?
There are many kinds of caches, here are a few of the most popular.
Traditional Geo Cache
The Traditional Cache is usually a watertight container with a logbook in it where people who have found the cache log their usernames from the site they are using. (Don’t use your real name.) Sometimes people will leave an item that represents them and take one. Never take anything unless you leave something.
The Multi-cache involves two or more locations where the first locations have a physical clue to the next location. The final location includes a physical container.
A Mystery or Puzzle Caches require you to solve a puzzle of some kind. Often the cache is NOT at the posted coordinates but is within a couple of miles with the latitude and longitude based upon the puzzle that you solve.
The Event Cache
Event Caches are hidden for events where people are searching for a prize. Used to promote events and festivals, these caches are removed after the event.
Who takes care of caches?
Geocachers have a creed http://j.mp/geo-creed) which includes not endangering others, observing laws, respecting property rights, and minimizing the impact on the environment. No one has permission to place a cache on your land without permission.
Each cache is placed and registered by a person who becomes the “owner.” If someone goes to a site and something is amiss, they report it on the geocaching website and that site reports it to the owner. If the owner doesn’t respond or take care of it, the cache can be de-listed. Each site has its own ownership rules.
Some organizations place caches to promote ecotourism. Others just love the outdoors and like to encourage people to see beautiful spots that are special to them.
A safety note:
I advise buying a receiver since the cell phone service in South Georgia is often as reliable as a chocolate teapot. (See http://j.mp/gps-receiver)
Why would someone geocache?
People geocache for many different reasons: to get into nature, to live a healthier lifestyle, or just for fun. As a beautiful area with lots of natural resources, geocaching is a fantastic way to encourage people to come to our community and to get our own children and families out into nature.
Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher is a full time teacher and author of the award winning Cool Cat Teacher Blog and the upcoming book Reinventing Writing. This article first appeared in the Camilla Enterprise and Pelham Journal in January 2014. For information on having this and other articles in your paper or to see other columns, visit the newspaper column page on this blog. This column has been edited for the web.