Geocaching -> Modern-Day Treasure Hunting On The Road!

My very first find!!!
My very first find!!!

I’ve always loved getting out to explore new areas, and while at Borrego Springs I discovered a new pass-time to do just that, with a bit of seek-and-find fun thrown in for good measure.  I’d never even heard of this until a few months ago, but in just a few weeks of “practice” I’ve come to the realization that I’m joining a massive worldwide group of enthusiastic seekers! It’s Geocaching -> the art of finding hidden caches (containers) using GPS coordinates. It’s modern-day treasure hunting, it’s perfect for RVers, it’s HUGE, and it’s rather addicting too.

Signing the log book on a find

It all started the day GPS (Global Positioning System) became available to the public. Originally strictly for military use, GPS was de-scrambled and released for general use on May 1st, 2000. Two days later Dave Ulmer decided to celebrate the event by hiding a bucket of trinkets in the woods outside Portland, Oregon and announced its location in a posting made to the USENET newsgroup sci.geo.satellite-nav. ” Take some stuff, leave some stuff! Record it all in the log book. Have Fun!” were the basic instructions.

Little did he know he’d started a treasure-seeking revolution.

Within days more caches had been placed. By January 2001 there were ~300 caches and by November 2001 there were 10,000+ geocaches on the web. Today it’s estimated there are over 5 million little treasures hidden worldwide. Holy cow, that’s several life-times of activity!

There’s a geocache somewhere right here…..
Geocaching AND gold in the same spot? Sign me up!

This sounded like my kinda thing, so without further ado I signed up for a free account on the most popular geocaching website (, the place to be!) and did a quick search on geocaches within 15 miles of our lonely spot at Borrego Springs. I expected to find maybe a few, but what showed up was no less than 263 hits. The site is uber-cool and sorts everything by location, size and difficulty, even giving you extra hints (if you want them). There’s a phone app too. I wrote down a few of the easier ones, grabbed the phone and went a-seeking.

And I LOVED it!! You get to roam around in nature, act like a modern-day pirate and still get to see a bunch of interesting stuff. The rules of the game are the same as for the original cache -> take something (if you like), leave something (if you take something) and sign the log book. Then re-hide the cachce in the same place for the next seeker. Over the next days I hooked a bunch more caches, several of which I just took on the bicycle and made a day of.

Geocaches come in all shapes and sizes

Back in San Diego I’ve continued my hunting, and of course here in the big city there’s even more angles to it. San Diego not only has a geocaching meet-up group, but they keep a geocaching photo gallery, offer events for people who cache with their kids (Geo Kids) and hide special caches for those who go multi-legged and seek with pooch (Geo Dog baby! -> and YES Polly is now officially a Geo Dog). Even the County Parks have gotten into the deal, openly promoting geocaching at several of the preserves.

Geo Dog and I go a-hunting on off-leash pooch-friendly Fiesta Island in San Diego

And what if all this sounds too laid-back for you? How about extreme geocaching? Combining the fine art of seeking hidden trinkets with extreme biking, swimming, zip-lining and running into one, perhaps? Oh yeah, Wild Canyon Games has exactly what you’re looking for! This is not something limited to the US either. There are groups in Australia, UK and all over the world.

So far I’ve had a blast. Paul isn’t quite as enthousiastic as I am about this, but between Geo Dog Polly and myself we’re planning to hunt the city dry. Or at least log a few geocaches along the way :)

Geocaching Hint: If you’re using a Droid smartphone with google maps to hunt your coordinates, enter the code “loc:” (e.g. loc:32.77383, -117.2194) into the search box to get an accurate lock on your GPS point.

Geo Dog Polly inspects a cache
Ooooo…that’s a big one. Wonder what’s in the loot?
There’s a geocache somewhere here…and it’s not where you’d expect..
One of the smaller geocaches. No “loot” in here…just a log book
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. says

    I have done it a few times with my sister. We have spent time starring into trees looking for wire in the tree, hanging objects, felt under benches, checked under rocks etc. Glad that you discovered a great hobby. Have fun!!!

  2. Janet Mezger says

    I’ve thought about doing this. It seems like it would be fun. Maybe I can talk my dh to join me. :) I’ve really enjoyed your blog of your travels. It has give us several good ideas of places to go. Thanks for sharing your journeys and your pictures.

  3. says

    We HAD great intentions to do this when we first began FTimg but never have gotten around to it. You have me fired up to at least try it especially when we get to AZ. Glad you had so much fun.

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh I’d definitely recommend giving it a try. It might not be something for everyone, but I think it’s worth trying at least once to see how you feel about it. It’s certainly the perfect hobby for the road!

  4. says

    We’ve been geocaching for about 8 years. It takes you to great places. We don’t take anything (except travel bugs) out of the caches. We do leave small trinkets for kids to take. Our grandkids love to go on treasure hunts.

  5. Mary says

    We have done about 400 geocaches and the neat thing is that they take you to places you would never have gone otherwise and some are beauties! It’s perfect for full-timers who travel to new areas. We have also placed 16 Travel Bugs in caches and some have traveled overseas. It’s neat to follow their travels. Have fun with your new hobby and I’ll bet hubby will soon join you.

    • libertatemamo says

      WOW!! 400 caches!! That is some serious geocaching!! Love the idea of the Travel Bugs. I’m still early-stage learning on all this, but can see getting more and more into it.

  6. says

    We’ve done a little bit of it and enjoyed it. We were on a hike with friends a few days ago and kept seeing neat little holes to put stuff in the trees. We keep forgetting to put the app in the phone. That’s much more convenient than carrying a GPS with you. Don’t let the Muggles see what you’re doing while you’re in the city.

  7. jil mohr says

    I have to admit this is one thing about RV’ing I do not like…just can not get into it…..and we know lots of people who love it…but once again the beauty of this life style…different strokes for different folks….glad you found and like it..

    • libertatemamo says

      Yup, it’s totally an individual thing. Hubby still doesn’t quite see why I like it so much, but I’m working on him :)

  8. says

    I’ve always thought I would like it but wasn’t willing to buy a GPS just to see. Now if I could do it on my droid, that would be cool. But I’m a droid dummy so I suspect someone would have to give me the Dummies Guide to Geocaching with a Droid in order for me to “get it”.
    Maybe I’ll try googling that. :-) If you ever put together a step by step guide, be sure to send it my way.


    • libertatemamo says

      I use the Droid to do it! You just enter the digital coordinates with loc: in front of them (so for example loc:32.77383, -117.2194) into the “search” on your google map app. Then follow directions until you get there. It’s the same as using the droid for driving directions.

  9. says

    I love extreme caches. I tend to go after the climbing ones, obviously, but I found one (intentionally) in a well-hidden hueco perched 300′ up a multi-pitch climb.

    Coincidentally, about 30 minutes before I saw your post in Google Reader we were out on a walk in search of a Houston cache.

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh NICE!! I didn’t even know about the climbing caches, but it makes sense that geocaching would have become popular there too. What a fabulous passtime!

  10. jil mohr says

    I think there are apps forthis too at lest some of my friends use it …maybe from the geochach website….also I was with someone this past week and yes a geocache and he did his 1004th one…I guess it is addictive :)

    • libertatemamo says

      Yup has a phone app too.
      1004 geocaches…that’s AMAZING!! Not sure I’ll ever get to that stage, but that’s quite a number!

  11. says

    I first heard of it years ago and thought that it sounded kind of neat at the time, but quickly forgot. Once I started getting into RVing I took a closer look and will definitely try it sometime. I don’t have a smartphone or GPS and am not willing to plunk the money down for either right now, but someday…

    • libertatemamo says

      If you have a car GPS you might be able to start with that. I used the car GPS for the first couple of finds before I figured out how to get the coordinates into the smartphone.

  12. says

    I have often thought about that, I would love it myself, but I know that my hubby would be weary and feel uneasy about “snooping” around places. I know he would feel as if he “looked suspicious” or that he was “trespassing.” I even have a hard time just to get him to look at ghost towns, especially if they are not quite a complete ghost town (ie several artist in residence type of thing). Have fun in your new found hobby. Keep us posted of any great finds.

  13. Joe Quick says

    We started geocaching nov 2011 we now have over 300 caches we cant go to the store with out planning an caches, we have been full timer for 22 mo, we also have put out travel bugs we will be in Ca Mar 20th have looked up geocachs on the way.

    • libertatemamo says

      Wow!! 300 caches…that’s impressive! I’m just learning about travel bugs and will probably plant some soon. It’s such a fun little passtime.

  14. says

    We Love Geocaching, although we only have 458 finds to our name so far. We just purchased an older(much older- 1973) motorhome, we are getting it ready to full time in just for geocaching… so have fun with it, and hopefully we see you guys out and about one of these days..

    • libertatemamo says

      Fabulous!! 458 finds is wonderful! Geocaching on the road is so much fun, esp. out in the “boonies”. I’ve not been doing too much of it in San Diego, but REALLY enjoyed it when we were in the desert.
      DO hope we meet-up one day!


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