What was once introduced with the advent of global positioning devices is actually still alive and well in the smartphone era. The invention is geocaching, and there are many places in the Michiana Area where geocaching can take place.
For those who have never heard of geocaching, in short, it’s like a scavenger hunt that uses GPS coordinates to pinpoint specific objects and locations. These objects can range widely, but mostly include knick-knacks and other things. The philosophy of the game is to take and leave alike: if you take something from the geocache, you’re supposed to leave something in return.
Actually, the first geocacher came up with the concept. A man in Oregon left a bucket full of things like videos, books and software in the woods, declared its GPS coordinates in an online forum, and waited for people to discover it. From Oregon, to Michigan to Indiana and really, the entire world, geocaching was born.
With warmer weather approaching us, this is the perfect time to give geocaching a try. They are almost all located outside, so remember to dress for the weather and conditions (try long pants or a pair of boots when you set out—many of these locations are in the woods.)
Geocaching.com offers free membership and lists of geocaches by city. The only other thing you need is a way to track your own GPS coordinates, like a smartphone.
There are hundreds of geocaching locations in the Michiana area. Small treasures are scattered throughout local cities and are ripe for the finding. For example, South Bend has several locations, and online forums have shown that people have recently gone to many of the locations to find the caches still in-tact. According to Geocaching.com, caches can be found in Rum Village, along Miami Street, the State Theater and several other locations. Item listed in the original caches include everything from Beatles CDs to yo-yos.
Other cities, including almost every city in Michiana, have similar listings. Geocaching locations can be viewed on a map at the mentioned website.
Most of the GPS coordinates are cut and dry, meaning the coordinates are listed and you just enter them into your GPS or phone. Some, however, are for more experienced geocachers and may require a little riddle work or code breaking to find out actual coordinates.
Another feature of geocache locations is a log book or log sheet, which can be found at every location. Be sure to bring a pen along to sign the sheet, letting the cache hider know that people are finding it. This is a cool way to see who else has found the cache and how long it has been there.
If you do decide to venture into unknown (or known) territory to find a few of the area’s geocaching locations, please remember the idea is to swap objects. Don’t ruin the party for everyone by taking the items and not leaving anything in return. Geocaching experts recommend that when you leave something behind, you should make sure to put it in a clear zippered bag so it stays protected.
So what are you waiting for? There are a number of hidden “treasure chests” in the area, just waiting to be found! To make geocaching a little easier, there’s a GeoCaching.com affiliated app available for download on iPhone and Android devices. To get started, visit the website to discover locations. Happy caching!