The Wide World of Geocaching

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Geocaching has become something of a trendy topic as of late. Essentially, geocaching is similar to a scavenger hunt in that an individual follows clues to locate a “treasure” (AKA a cache) of sorts literally anywhere in the world. Caches are created when individuals place a container somewhere and mark its general region with GPS coordinates and leave clues for others to follow. It is common for caches to have a notepad or paper to allow geocachers to leave their name in a pseudo guest book of sorts. Sometimes small trinkets or prizes are left inside for geocachers to utilize per the “if you take something, you must leave something” rule. The only other rule of geocaching is that you can’t let others around you know that you are geocaching. These “others” are referred to as muggles, a wonderful reference to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Likewise, I was able to experience geocaching for the first time this past weekend. I went with my girlfriend and another friend of ours that has been many times and wanted to take advantage of the great weather (minus the summer heat). We met up at a central location on campus and used a smartphone app to search for nearby caches only to find 3 or 4 in the general vicinity. We selected one, a challenging 4 star (out of 5 stars) cache named “North West”, a reference to pop culture, but also a clue for finding the cache. We arrived at the GPS coordinates and searched for the better part of a half hour before we gave up. Our friend says even he has never found an elusive 4 star geocache. I feel slightly better at his remark as I fight to stay hydrated.

We continued onwards to another cache near our original meeting point. It was one that my girlfriend had completed nearly a year ago on her first geocache experience. Again, the three of us searched for our prized only to come up empty-handed in the end. At this point, I am overheated and wanting to cool off, but another part of me wanted to experience finding a cache so we give it one last chance with a 2 star cache. We had to walk off the beaten path but eventually found the cache in the notch of a large tree. After placing the cache back in its hiding spot, our geocaching expedition came to a close.

Overall, it was an interesting experience. I definetly want to try geocaching again, hopefully when it is cooler outside, and hope to find some more hidden gems on the UF campus.


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