What is Geocaching?
At its most basic, geocaching is “a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online.”
The game’s center is found at geocaching.com, where people from around the world can create free profiles, then log in to find coordinates for caches located in their communities or vacation destinations. These coordinates are entered into their GPS devices, whether dedicated machines or apps on a smart phone, along with clues for finding the cache when they’re “warm.”
When you’ve found the hidden container, you can sign into the notebook it holds, and exchange a ‘treasure’ you’ve brought along for one left previously by someone else.
Why bother? Well, it’s one of the few ways that today’s electronics actually gets you off the couch and into the great outdoors! It’s a terrific family activity as caches are rated from easy to difficult to locate. Some are hidden in public parks, while others are miles down a difficult trail.
Of course, you can also log back into geocaching.com when you return and comment on the cache(s) you found. Some folks compete to see how many caches they can find in a day. Others revel in setting up caches for others to discover, providing clues in dozens of ways from poetry to numerical equations to puzzles to…you name it!
My imagination jumped to all sorts of ideas for using geocaching in a romance, and when my friends and I began brainstorming a novella anthology in January 2011, everyone agreed that this would be a unique and entertaining theme. What did we come up with?
In Rainbow’s End, a fictional church in Osage Beach, Missouri, creates a summer-long event called (surprisingly!) Rainbow’s End, in which contestants gain points by locating and/or creating caches as well as attending rallies put on by the church. Not only do they discover treasure worth having, but some of them fall in love in the process.
Now THAT’S what I call finding treasure!