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Come explore geocaching

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A cache hides in the rocks. (edge photo by Kaitlyn Furge) A cache hides in the rocks. (edge photo by Kaitlyn Furge)

If your GPS told you to jump off a bridge, would you?

That's exactly what happened the first time I went geocaching. After throwing some coordinates in a GPS, we were off to a great start. The GPS led us to a bridge and said that we had reached our destination while crossing it. That meant that the geocache couldn't be too far from the bridge. We began searching around it, looking up in the trees and shuffling through the tall grass with our hands.

Geocaching, in short, is looking for a hidden object by way of GPS coordinates. Websites like geochaching.com post coordinates to different locations where caches are hidden. The caches themselves are different sized containers that may be camouflaged to fit in with the environment. Inside the containers are log books to sign and small trinkets and knick knacks that you can choose to trade with some of your own. Your coordinates can only get you so close, however, which is when the fun kicks in.

The bridge location was putting us to the test. After searching on both sides of the road on both sides of the bridge, I decided it was time to take the plunge under the bridge. I found a gradual slopping path down to the water, and it was looking hopeful. The grass was beaten down, which meant that someone had to have been there recently, possibly hiding the cache. A fairly large piece of ledge extended out in front of me, creating a dry path that travelled under the bridge. I followed it only to get a face full of spider webs. Adventure indeed.

After hopelessly searching the location, we finally gave up and moved on to the next one. The GPS took us to our all too familiar local library. You would have thought that searching for a cache there would have been easy, but it wasn't at first. We searched around the building, looking high and low, and finding nothing. A patron was parked a few feet from us, waiting for the library to open. We kindly explained to her that we were not robbers, but geocachers. She understood and gave us a piece of advice to look by the book drop. We did so once again, but this time we felt up underneath of it. There, magnetized and hanging upside down out of sight, was our first geocache. There were mostly stickers inside, but we felt so clever that it might as well have been gold. We triumphantly signed the log book and went on our way to the next location.

The next site was nothing to get excited over at first. It was a regular bridge, one you would drive over without a thought on a daily basis. Upon further discovery, however, we discovered what a hidden gem it was. Water cascaded underneath in mini falls. Orange wild flowers peppered the shore. A rock wall embedded in the earth sloped its way up to the road where we had parked. Square pillars sat around it, tracing out memories from the past. I wondered where I would hide a cache in this location. I wandered over to the rock wall and began following it, looking carefully in each hole. Something strange and different caught my eye. With delight, I carefully removed the container that had been duct taped to match the rock it was nestled with. I triumphantly opened it to find the log book and a small assortment of trinkets.

The wonder of geocaching is that it takes you to locations that you otherwise may not go, to treasure hunt for something that you otherwise may not look for. With millions of locations, it's easy to get started. The website geocaching.com says it is an anytime, any day adventure. That statement couldn't be more true.

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