MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

April 25, 2014

Hide-and-seek game growing in popularity

With the beautiful spring weather just begging people to get outdoors, it a time to write again about a favorite outdoor activity for all age groups. It’s called geocaching and is a game of hide-and-seek on a local or even global scale.

 I first became aware of geocaching when our friends, Buddy and Tressa Shapp, formerly of Fort Gibson,  introduced our son, John, to this type of hunting adventure.

Geocaching (pronounced geocashing) is a sport played by adventure-seekers from around the world.  The sport is basically a modern treasure hunt with people trying to locate “geocaches”, which are usually containers that range in size from film canisters to large tubs.

 When “cachers” place a “cache” or container, they log the GPS coordinates of the exact location. You can download to your phone the official geocache app found on the website. Cachers then go home and log onto www.geocaching.com to tell other cachers. Other geocachers then log the coordinates into their GPS and set off to find the cache with their phone or GPS leading the way.  

To begin caching, a person needs to purchase a GPS or acquire the cell phone application simply entitled “geocaching”. Next, log on to www.geocaching.com and create a free account, type in your postal code or address in the appropriate box then click the search button for geocaches in their area.

There are many of them all around the Muskogee area and beyond. The difficulty of getting to the geocaches is listed on the website on a graded scale of 1 to 5. geocaches can be hidden in an array of locations ranging from downtown Muskogee to state parks all the way to the middle of the wilderness or on top of a mountain.

Depending on how far thrill-seekers are willing to go, some may even be hidden underwater.

Some geocaches require you to take a picture of a certain object or sign and then post the photo on the geocaching website to receive credit for the find.  When a geocacher finds a cache, the person takes out the log book that each cache contains and logs either their name or their username from the geocaching website, and logs the date.  

Next, depending on the size, the geocache container may contain small trinkets.  As a general rule, if one takes an object from a container, the cacher needs to place an object of equal or more value back into the geocache.

Another option within this sport is the use of trackables or travel bugs. You search for an item listed then take it to its destination point. It can even be made into a race. Wade Shapp took a trackable found in a cemetery in Indiana to Washington D.C. on vacation with his family and hid it in the city several years ago.

One area option is the Cache In Trash Out (CITO) movement, which mixes geocaching with a community clean-up. The Tulsa Area Geocachers (TAG) is sponsoring a Cache In Trash Out event on Saturday to coincide with Groundspeaks 12th Annual CITO weekend event.

Bring several bags and arrive at West Highlands Park located at 2626 W. 61st St. in Tulsa. The event runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and is followed by a potluck lunch. It’s a way to say thank you to the Tulsa Parks system for allowing Tulsa geocachers to use their parks as a geocaching playground. You will also earn a 2014 CITO Souvenir for your geocaching profile.

Geocaching is a sport that is a fun adventure for the whole family, and with over a million geocaches worldwide and several in the local area, participants can jump right in and have fun.  

John Kilgore’s outdoor column runs Fridays in the Phoenix. To reach him with news or comments, call (918) 348-9431 or email him at jkilgoreoutdoors@yahoo.com.

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