Geocaching: A high-tech treasure hunt |

Geocaching: A high-tech treasure hunt

Anne Love
Special to the Daily
Special to the Daily Geocaching is a great way to add excitement to a family trip or for a fun weekend adventure in the outdoors.

Ever been on a treasure hunt? Or ever used your GPS in the city? Now you can combine both in geocaching. The Keystone Science School offers this fun-filled learning approach to teachers, campers and students for its team-building, problem-solving and other educational outcomes.

The word “geocache” comes from “geo,” meaning Earth, and “cache,” a French word meaning something hidden or secret. The word cache stirs up visions of pioneers, gold miners and even pirates. So, a geocache is an item hidden somewhere on Earth and geocaching is the name for the activity of finding it using GPS. In essence, it is an outdoor treasure hunt.

Geocaching is a great way to add excitement to a family trip or for a fun weekend adventure in the outdoors. It also provides kids, and some of us adults, with practice using longitude and latitude, technology, mapping skills, and critical thinking. Geocaches are buried all over the world and there are hundreds right here in Summit County. To search for geocaches locally or anywhere you might be headed this summer, go to

A geocache is hidden in a water-tight box and logged into a website with the coordinates of the location and a map to help you find the general area where the hidden treasure can be found. From the website you can enter the coordinates into a handheld GPS unit or GPS-enabled mobile phone. Once you arrive in the general area of the geocache, you can use the GPS to narrow in on the exact location.

Your prize is generally small and of little value (toy car, trading card, souvenir, etc.) and you will need to bring an item of greater or equal value with you to trade for the treasure found inside the box. Most geocaches have a log book where you record your name and the date, and some even have a camera to take a picture of yourself or your family. Make sure to note the difficulty levels for the terrain and for finding the geocache before heading out on your journey.

You will know you are a geocaching pro when you start using terms like BYOP (bring your own pencil), CITO (cache in, trash out), FTF (first to find) and TFTC (thanks for the cache). Don’t be a “muggle” (a non-geocacher) – get out there and discover this high-tech treasure hunt.

Anne Love is the director of Keystone Science School’s educator programs. For more information about Keystone Science School, please call us at (970) 468-2098 or visit

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