Do you want to go on a treasure hunt? Check out geocaching, a form of high-tech treasure hunting. It works like this: Using an app linked to your device’s GPS, you hunt for hidden items. No, it’s not Pokémon Go. These items are real and you are probably near some at this very moment.
The term geocache comes from the word cache—a hiding place for a group of things—and geo, which means earth. A person hides an object in an accessible area—woods, parking lots, parks, tourist areas and buildings.
The object’s coordinates are marked on a geocaching app.
When you open your map you see all the geocaches people have hidden. Simply select one and follow the map to find the object.
“It’s almost like a scavenger hunt,” says Jeremy Marshall, director of Ontario County Veterans Services Agency, who enjoys geocaching with his wife, Emily, confidential secretary to the director of Ontario County Human Resources, and their two children Kaytlin, 14, and Chase, 11.
Geocache items can be as small as an old film canister or as large as an ammo box. They can be hidden in obvious places or tucked into well-camouflaged nooks and crannies. All items share one commonality: They hold a piece of paper where you mark your name and date indicating that you found the geocache. Then you return it for the next person.
Sometimes a geocache holds a prize. Money might be in a brand new geocache while others provide a trinket exchange. Sometimes a geocache will contain a “travel bug,” a dog tag marked with a serial number allowing people to track its progress online.
Always an Adventure
Marshall admits that when he first heard of geocaching he was not impressed. Four years ago, Chase went geocaching on a camping trip with some friends. He returned and begged his dad to go.
“Honestly, it sounded kind of dumb,” Marshall says. “But we downloaded the app and ended up having a lot of fun.”
These days, whenever Marshall’s family has some spare time or wants to do something together, they go geocaching. His teenage daughter loves to go, making it a great way for Marshall to spend time with her.
The family moved from Watertown to Farmington three years ago. And geocaching has helped them get outside and learn about the area.
“One geocache led us to a neat hiking trail. Another one took us to a waterfall,” Marshall says. “There are some in Grimes Glen that will really make you get some exercise.”