X Marks the Spot

Walking the dog is an excellent excuse to embark on a geocaching treasure hunt.

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With one hand on the loop of my dog’s leash, I use my free hand to poke around an old log, checking for possible hiding spots. I hear voices getting closer on the trail. Muggles! I stop my search, sit on the log, and pat my Border Collie mix, Shadow. She jumps up and puts her front paws on the log next to me so I can give her a good rub down.

Two giggling girls walk along the path and glance at me. They must be wondering why my dog and I have wandered 10 feet off the main hiking trail. I keep playing with Shadow as they walk past. Ha! My geohound distraction has worked once again! Shadow is an excellent decoy to divert the attention of any non-geocachers who might become a little too curious about my furtive activities.

I resume my search and push aside a piece of bark leaning against the log. It’s concealing a plastic sandwich-sized container. I open the lid and look at the trinkets inside: a key chain, a cookie cutter, a toy car, a small deck of cards and some marbles. Nothing interests me enough to trade so I pull out the log book from inside the container, write today’s date and my geocaching nickname "mermaidude,” close it up, and hide it in the same spot I found it, ready for the next geocacher.

I walk Shadow back to the trail, glance down at my GPS, and pull up the coordinates for the next cache I’m hunting, about 800 feet away. Today’s a lucky day. There are four caches hidden within a half-mile radius in this park. My eager geohound and I are able to explore new trails while we find hidden treasures.

What is geocaching?
Geocaching is a non-competitive treasure-hunt game in which a geocacher (the player) uses a global positioning system or a smart phone with a geocaching application to find containers holding a log book and trinkets that have been hidden by other players.

 


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