By the age of five, most kids have heard the expression “x marks the spot.” Then the thought “What would it be like to be a pirate?” presents itself. The thought of finding treasure is quite alluring. Unfortunately for these kids, there is little to no hope of finding a map that leads you to buried treasure; however, for kids, explorers and nature enthusiasts that never grow up, there is a solution. It is called geocaching.

Geocaching first began around 1999, with the upgrade of a major satellite that increased the accuracy of global positioning. The upgrade allowed for an unintentional dawn of a global phenomenon that has changed the way people view treasure hunts. 

Geocaching is a real life outdoor treasure hunt. Essentially, people use coordinates that others provide to find hidden objects. This used to be done with paper maps when it first started 10 years ago, but the game has quickly modernized and is now played via GPS signals. Once the player tracks down the item, which can be located pretty much anywhere, they have the option to either take the item and replace it with an equal or greater value item, or leave it and let someone else claim the prize.

There are currently over a dozen different variations of geocaching. Some of the other forms of geocaching include: multi-cache, which involves usually two to three different objects that lead to the final destination; puzzle-caches, which have elaborate puzzles that must be solved to find the coordinates and letterbox hybrid, which uses clues instead to find the container. 

There are multiple apps for geocaching available for both iPhone and Android smart phones making the experience much easier.

Although the coordinates may be quicker to find, don’t be fooled into thinking that finding the prize is no longer a challenge. People that hide “treasures” have adapted in response to new technology, such as smart phone applications, by making the clues more difficult.

This global game has caught the attention of people of all ages, and just keeps growing. There is currently geocaching gear on the market and there are geocaching leagues popping up everywhere. There are even geocaching clubs at universities. As rapidly as geocaching is spreading, it will soon become a common name amongst adventure lovers everywhere.

Here is an opportunity to geocache! Just find the location below, and it will begin an on campus adventure. Continue finding the coordinates to find the final “cache.”

 

 First coordinates for UTSA’s first geocache

29°58’38” N, 98°37’35″W

 

Hint: I have a twin. We live up high. We stand tall. We touch the sky.

 

Good luck! 

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