Not Your Average Treasure Hunt Story

It’s very seldom that you find a hobby/activity that is basically free, active, takes you to new places, fun to do as a family, or just to do with a good friend.  I’m talking about geocaching. If you aren’t familiar with geocaching, watch the following video.

I really like geocaching, because, no matter where I am, there is always a cache near by.  All I need is my iPhone with the geocaching app to take a break from the daily grind and play treasure hunter for a while.  I’m still not sure what’s more fun, finding the cache, or discovering places around me that I didn’t know were there.  I’ve found so many cool little parks that I would have never stepped foot in if it hadn’t been for geocaching.

What really got me hooked was my first find.  It was during a lunch break a year and a half ago.  I did a little research at geocaching.com and then headed out with a coworker to an apartment complex a block away. We searched for about a half hour, but not having any idea what I was looking for, left empty-handed.  The next day, after finding out what kind of things geocaches could be, I zeroed in on the cache.  It ended up being a small metal canister, tinier than a thimble, with a magnet on one side. The cache was stuck to the underside of a park bench.  Inside was a small coiled up log that I signed and then placed back. It was at that moment that I felt like I was in on the secret.  How many people go by this bench every day having no idea that it was a destination in a world-wide game? It was like being Nicolas Cage in National Treasure. I was hooked!

A lot of geocachers have great stories about cool caches they have found, or experiences they’ve had getting to one.  My story isn’t about the cache, it’s about who I was caching with.

Fast forward to a year later.  I had a highschool friend coming into town for a few days and wanted to get together with him and catch up.  After work I was to pick him up at the nearby metro stop, but what to do after that?  He jumps in the car, at which point I realized I had never asked what he was doing in town. Came to find out that he was there for an awards ceremony honoring his grandfather for lifetime achievement in science (or something like that). I said, “That’s cool, I was thinking we would go geocaching, have you heard of it?”  His answer surprised me, and I will never forget it.  He said, “I’ve heard of it, and it’s funny that I’ve never been, because the award my grandfather is receiving is for inventing GPS.”

Seriously, awesome. Check out page 3, Credit Where Credit is Due.  That’s my buddy Brian on the left in the picture, and has since gone on to find over 130 caches, far surpassing myself. It must be in his blood.  That evening we went on to find 7 caches in about 2 hours, all the while reminising about things we had done and friends we missed.  And the best part was that it was free, well except for the Starbucks.

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