While most Americans will be having picnics with family or friends and watching fireworks, some people will be participating in the world’s largest geocaching event, GeoWoodstock. This event will took place on July 3rd, 2010 in the Seattle area, and could included as many as five thousand geocachers. Some participants traveled from as far as Guam and Germany to compete in the event. Participants used their gps tracking devices to find caches in the Triad, a region filled with geocaches, most of them small trinkets. However, also located in the Triad are two famous caches, what most hunters are most eager to find. One famous cache is the Project Ape Cache, and the other is the very first geocache ever hidden, the Original Stash.
So what exactly is geocaching, and why is it so popular? This relatively unknown hobby is actually done by several million people around the globe. Players of this game use gps tracking devices to find geocaches hidden in different outdoor areas around the world. A geocache is usually a small container such as a plastic bag or other waterproof container; however, a geocache can be as small as an acorn, or even as large as a trashcan. Each geocache contains a “treasure”, usually a small item such as a button, picture, or coin. Every geocache also contains a logbook so that each hunter who discovers the geocache can record their find. Some participants travel to play this game, going to Hawaii or even Europe to find caches. Others just play locally and search for geocaches hidden near their homes. For some, geocaching is a serious hobby. For example, one cache hunter actually traveled to the jungles of Brazil to search for a certain cache. However, usually geocachers stay closer to home. People who participate in geocaching compare it to hunting for treasure. Geocaching provides an opportunity for those who enjoy the outdoors to get outside. This hobby also gives a reason to travel for those who enjoy exploring new places.
Although this hobby has only existed for a few years, its popularity has spread rapidly. The game includes over one million caches in over two hundred different nations. Caches have even been found in remote places like Budapest. Although it is worldwide, many people are unaware of this unique hobby, probably because geocaching is a fairly new pastime. In fact, it has only existed for about the past ten years. The game was started by Groundspeak, a company which also hosts a website for players to record their finds. Each geocacher can also create a profile where they can post which caches they have found with their gps tracking devices. Geocachers can also view other’s profiles and even compete with others for a certain cache. Although the largest geocacher website is run by Groundspeak, there are several other smaller websites that target geocache participants. To find out more about geocaching visit www.geocaching.com or travel to Seattle during the big event and watch the geocachers at work. Clearly GPS tracking is finding ways into our recreation plans!