And this week, is all about geocaching. And we’re not talking about Pokemon Go. Rather, good, old fashioned geocaching.
Geocaching is a technology-based scavenger hunt in which GPS devices (or a GPS-enabled smart phone) and coordinates are used to find hidden treasures.
Did you know there are over 2 million caches all over the world just waiting to be found? And while the number might not be in the millions or even hundreds of thousands, there are plenty right here in Minneapolis just waiting for you.
A cache, by the way, is a container that is hidden by other geocachers. It can be anything – an Altoids tin, old wallet or even an empty tub of butter. It usually contains a log book, writing utensil and sometimes a small trinket. When you find the cache, you are encouraged to write your name in the log book, and if there is a trinket, you can take it as long as you replace it with one of similar or greater value.
So where exactly in the Cities can you geocache? The opportunities truly are plenty, and we have a few options here to get you started.
First off, because of the growing popularity of the activity, many park districts are now offering geocaching programs.
Within the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, there are many geocaches to find at their parks, such as:
East Coon Rapids Dam – 9750 Egret Blvd., Coon Rapids
Here, you can enjoy a park designed geocaching program as well as rent GPS devices, if need be.
Fort Snelling State Park – 101 Snelling Lake Rd., St. Paul
Along with the 18 miles of walking & hiking trails is a new History Challenge Geocache. Each cache contains history cards, a logbook and other information on geocaching and the park. GPS units are available for check out as well.
Minnehaha Regional Park – 4801 Minnehaha Ave. S, Minneapolis
Along with the beautiful Falls is a great opportunity to find your next geocache.
You can also go geocaching in many of the parks within the Three Rivers Park District, although GPS devices are available for check out only at Baker Campground, Cleary Lake Regional Park, Fish Lake Regional Park, French Regional Park, Hyland Lake Park Reserve, Carver Campground.
And finally, if you just want to get out and start geocaching in your own neighborhood or across the city, you can do that, too, thanks to the internet.
The granddaddy of geocaching websites is geocaching.com. This site has anything and everything you need to start geocaching anywhere in the world, but also brings it down to a very local level.
You can create a free account on geocaching.com and peruse their tutorial videos, user forum and the like. You can also simply search the database for a geocache nearby.
You will either need a GPS device or their app, which you can download to your iPhone or Android for $9.99. Once you have a geocache targeted to find, hop on your bike, jump in your car or hoof it over to where you think it is. And then the fun really starts!