By Laura Barnhardt Cech
A man is staring from his balcony, possibly suspicious of me shouting, “We’re 11 feet away. Oh no, now 15.” We are geocaching for the first time. The wind is whipping us, and we’re late for dinner. My 9-year-old cuts to the heart of our Sunday outing: “What are we looking for anyway?”
Good question, actually.
For a beginner, the toughest part of geocaching, the outdoor treasure-hunting game, might be not knowing what you’re trying to find.
You select the location of the geocache — the hidden treasure — on an official website, which rates the level of difficulty of the hunt. But even with a few clues, you won’t know whether you’re looking for a Tupperware container or a shoebox.
A hand-held GPS or downloaded GPS app on a smart phone will give you driving directions and guide you on foot to a camouflaged container, which could contain anything from a marble to a golf ball.
“It’s almost like an Easter Egg hunt… The kids love the trinkets inside,” says Susan Kelley, public relations officer for the Maryland Geocaching Society who likes to take her grandsons on geocaching adventures. “And it gets them away from the Wii.”