Geocaching: Treasure hunting all over South Carolina
Dr Greenhouse | February 19, 2016
I am a pediatrician. And I am addicted to geocaching. There, I’ve said it.
So what is geocaching? Geocaching is treasure hunting. Geocaching is spending a beautiful spring afternoon outdoors with your family. Geocaching is exploring areas right in your neighborhood or several hours away that you never knew existed. Geocaching is watching your children figure out how to cross the creek upstream and hike the trail back on the other side to find the treasure that the know is hiding there…somewhere.
Have I got you interested yet? So what actually is geocaching? Geocaching is simply treasure hunting with a GPS-enabled device. There are thousands of geocaches registered at geocaching.com. The geocacher uses the coordinates to navigate to the correct location along with clues that help to pinpoint the location or describe the cache. A cache can be anything from a Tupperware container filled with trinkets for trade to a tiny film canister with a rolled up paper log to sign. There are geocaches in our state parks, in local parks and even in shopping center parking lots. You’ve probably walked past a geocache and not even realized it.
Why is geocaching one of my favorite activities? Hunting for a geocache can be the focal point of a family hike on a beautiful day. My family has found geocaches in state parks all over our beautiful state and far beyond. Some are right off the trails and some require some serious effort to reach. When my children were very young, they would beg to go on a hike and hunt for a geocache. Even now, as college students, they will ask to look up geocaches and go exploring when we are on family trips.
We have hidden travel bugs, small tags which are registered and attached to a tiny toy or stuffed animal and then passed from cache to cache by different geocachers. We get to follow the travel bugs’ adventures as it moves from town to town and state to state.
What is my favorite geocaching experience? On a family ski trip to West Virginia, we went hunting for a geocache that seemed like it must be hidden under several feet of snow. It seemed like it would be absolutely impossible to find. Right before we were about to concede defeat and give up the very cold search, we noticed a metal drainage pipe not far from the coordinate location. Sure enough, there was a tiny microcache hidden inside the pipe. We signed the log and then headed to the ski lodge for some well-deserved hot chocolate.
I have also hidden several caches in the Northeast Columbia area. As the “owner” of the cache, I am notified when a geocacher logs that they have found one of my caches. They can leave me a note describing their search and telling me what, if anything, they left behind. I love reading that a child found one of my caches with their parents and had a great time doing it.
So are you ready to give geocaching a try? Check out geocaching.com. Find a geocache listing near you, head outdoors with a GPS device and explore a whole new world of treasure hunting. If you’re in Columbia, head to Sesquicentennial State Park and look for “Prescription for Parks” or any of the other caches hidden in this beautiful park. I can tell you that you’ll get some great exercise finding them. And you’ll leave the park wanting to find even more. Happy Geocaching, everyone!