geocaching ~ a modern treasure hunt on the outer banks
Today’s treasure hunt is called geocaching, and it seems like a no-brainer if you are looking for something fun to do on the OBX. Geocaching is an outdoor hunting game that uses GPS- enabled devices, clues and creativity. You navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then try to find the treasure (geocache container) that’s been hidden there. There are different levels of difficulty to choose from, so beginners can pick a cache that will be easier to find. Smartphones have made getting into geo-caching even easier, with several geochacing apps available to download that will make your phone a GPS-enabled device.
Geocaching is a great activity for locals and vacationers alike who want to get out and explore the OBX a bit. I found a couple of great sources of information about geocaching online, the first being the official website. Try www.geocaching.com to get the skinny on geocaching in general. I also discovered a great article about geocaching on the Outer Banks written by Susan Bolling over at Outer Banks Child magazine:
‘“Oh yeah, this is the ‘new thing’,” he explained. “People are hiding caches all over the world. I’ve wanted to get into it, but haven’t had the time. You can have my old GPS unit because I just upgraded.”
Dad made the trip down and we spent an entire Sunday hunting. It only took him about five minutes to teach me how to operate a basic GPS unit — forever when compared to the technological acumen of today’s elementary age whiz kids — then we decided to start with a cache classified as “easy” on the site. The post noted that it was created by a four-year-old and listed a general location. After decrypting the clue, I thought for sure I had it figured out. It was hidden in the playground. It had to be. I didn’t even need to look at the GPS — it might be too easy.
The lesson? Any four-year-old capable of operating a GPS unit is way more sophisticated than a playground.
When we finally found the cache — I won’t say where, in case you go looking — it was a thrill unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. In true pirate style, I immediately wanted to do it again, and so did Dad. On to the next.’