Geocaching is a techno-treasure hunt!
Geocaching (pronounced "geo-cashing") is an outdoor treasure hunt using hand-held Global Positioning System (GPS) units. The geocachers hide and seek "treasures," which are found in waterproof containers and typically include a pencil, small notebook to serve as a logbook for finders and several trinkets like key chains, small toys and buttons. Geocaches can range in size from a small film canister to bigger than a 5-gallon bucket.
Geocachers hide the geocache and enter coordinates (latitude and longitude) on a website. Others download the coordinates, enter them into a GPS unit and hunt for the geocache.
Once the cache is found, the finders enter their names and date into the cache logbook. The finders can then take an object from the cache while leaving something of equal or higher value. The finders replace the geocache in the same place where they found it for future geocachers to find.
Geocaching is popular all across the state, particularly in South Dakota's State Parks including Adams Homestead & Nature Preserve at North Sioux City, Lewis & Clark Recreation Area at Yankton, Palisades State Park at Garretson and The Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls. These parks also offer some hands-on learning opportunities. Caches are listed on www.gfp.sd.gov/to-do/geocaching.
The area between Lennox and Menno has dozens of caches arranged to spell the word “GEOCACHING”. You can also geocache the Oyate Trail across southern South Dakota and receive a special coin. There are 110 geocaches spaced approximately every 3 miles along the trail. The first 50 geocachers to find at least 100 caches along the trail are eligible for an Official Oyate Trail Geocaching Coin. To find these and other caches throughout the region and for more in depth how-to information, go to www.geocaching.com.
There are many types of geocaching. If you are a beginner, starting off with the traditional type described above is a good idea. Afterwards, you may progress to more complex types of geocaching. A multi-cache involves finding two or more locations. Most have a hint to find the second cache, and the second cache has a hint to the third, and so on. A mystery or puzzle cache may involve complicated puzzles that you will first need to solve to determine the coordinates. An Earth-Cache is a little more difficult. You have to identify some geologic feature, have your picture taken with it and then post the picture online.
Geocaching is an outdoor adventure the whole family can enjoy together.