It was quite the accident that I stumbled into the world of Geocaching. I was naturally curious and always on the lookout for stories in my journalist days. As the first blades of grass poked through the thinning snow one spring, I saw a man with a metal detector surveying the ground of local park. I asked him if he’d be willing to speak with me about his hobby for the paper. He politely declined and I went on my way.
Something stuck with me and I couldn’t stop thinking about metal detectors. I soon found myself Googling metal detector services in the community I worked. Eventually, I stumbled across a man who had spent his retirement using his metal detector to find items, mostly wedding rings, that people lost. The interview went well, and the story is still one of my favourites I’ve ever written. As we were parting ways, he mentioned that I should do a story on Geocaching.
“What’s that,” I asked.
“Basically, it’s a game where you use multi-million dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods,” he replied.
Less than two hours later, I found my first geocache. I have since got my mother-in-law hooked on Geocaching who then got her sister into it. I also managed to spark an interest in my parents, my brother-in-law and his children.
Geocaching: a real-life treasure hunt
At its core, Geocaching is a community-driven game where players hide caches throughout the world for other players to find. There are also different cache types that can lead to multiple locations, require a mystery to be solved or teach players about a geological location. Trackables can also be placed for players to pick up and move from one cache to the next. You may even find loot (mostly in the form of dollar store toys) if the cache is big enough.
I was never the outdoorsy type. I liked inside and that was usually where you’d find me. That all changed when I started Geocaching. I found myself leaving work on lunch to get a nearby Geocache or planning different routes home to nab a cache or two on the way. This even led to some pretty awesome stories for the paper, such as discovering that a small county community was home to one of the largest Coptic churches in Canada.
Join the hunt and discover Prince George like never before
Geocaching is an extremely affordable hobby that is great for the whole family. There is a free option for casual players or those looking to give it a try. There is also a premium subscription that unlocks so much more at about the cost of a night out at the movies. Looking at the map on geocaching.com, there are hundreds upon hundreds of caches within Prince George and thousands more within reasonable driving distance from the city.
Anyone who has done this hobby for some time knows the planning that goes into an entire day of Geocaching. The beauty of the game, however, is how it can be played just about anywhere you find yourself. Just open the app and see what’s around you. Recently, my family decided to have a picnic at Shane Lake. There happened to be a few Geocaches in Forests for the World that my niece and nephew helped me find. That’s where the photos for this blog came from. I chose to also focus on the environment they explored because that is central to why people love Geocaching.
Yes, in its most literal sense, Geocaching is a game that uses multi-million dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods. But it is so much more than that. It is a great way to spend time with your family, be active, meet new people and discover your world like never before.