Geocaches: Hidden Treasures All Around.

I live in the Midwest, so trends, fads, and generally everything that the rest of the world does for fun takes a long time to get here. That is why I was oblivious, when at a conference recently, some of my co-attendees were talking about an activity called Geocaching.

For those three people out there that are like I was, Geocaching is a secret world full of hidden treasures all around you. I mean, seriously, right now you are probably within a mile or two of one of these gems. You probably walk within 50ft of one every week and don’t even notice.

In general terms though, geocaching is a community of people all around the world that hide data logs and then upload the coordinates (or sometimes a puzzle leading to them) for the rest of the world to find. When you get there you sign your name, sometimes take or leave a trinket, and log in online to share what you found. It’s not for everybody, but if you enjoy getting out in the world and discovering, then you are the target audience.

I love the whole endeavor, but that isn’t really what today’s post is about. This post is about the geocache container itself.

You see, when you place a Geocache, you need to put the log for people to sign in something (you technically don’t, but that kind of cache is different and kind of not having a container is a special container in its own way). And the type of container you choose can be anything you want. Thus it is can be kind of a cacher’s artistic signature.

For instance, I haven’t even placed any caches yet, but I plan on using a 50ml conical tube. It’s small, water proof, sturdy, and just reeks of science. I think that’s cool, even if where I put a cache has nothing to do with science, people will see it and say, “Hmm, that’s a cool container.” That’s them recognizing my little container choice, and by extension me. I know this happens when you find a fun or interesting container, because while only e few months in I have found a few I enjoyed, or just thought were really neat choices.

The very first cache I found was a magnetic key box stuck to the bottom of a pipe. I didn’t take a picture, but I am regretting that… because it was the first one I found dang it.

Since then I have found a hollowed out train whistle (it still worked, or so they claimed), with the log encased in the end.
Train whistle
Little metal pill cases.

A creative combination of 2 liter pop bottles stuck together and painted.
A lanyard case.

Tupperware, filled with trinkets for people to take.
Camouflaged peanut butter jars.
PB Jars

Sports team paraphernalia.
Sports jugs
Even, plastic bananas.

And then there are the “No Container” caches. These are often in the form of riddles, or sometimes just a series of tasks that you email to original cacher to get credit for. While the physical caches are often hidden and make you search for them, these caches are designed to make you explore for them. One near me like this is an old aircraft that asks for you to email the id of the plane, the name of one of its pilots, and the color of a specific banner on it. They are encouraging you to not just search the plane and its surroundings, but instead learn about the plane. I think those are perhaps the neatest containers, they are not inside a box, or hidden in a pipe. They are stored away in knowledge.

So, whether you are a seasoned geocacher, somebody that has hung up your compass, or some fresh faced noob like me; get out there and find the secret world around you. Or at least learn about the world you live in. But warning to those not familiar with it: once you open up the box, you will find Geocaches are everywhere.


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Chris T.

Chris T.

Chris is a microbiologist with a passion for nature. He has a degree in Natural History and spends his time taking pictures of mushrooms, riding his bike, painting, and watching tv.

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