There's a treasure in that shrub

By Shasta Webb

Have you ever seen a random pedestrian rummaging in the bushes or witnessed park-goers staring intently at GPS iPhone apps? Perhaps you’ve watched a few individuals stashing something in an odd location? These days, it’s likely that these people aren’t just being strange, but are “geocaching.”

According to, geocaching is “the worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasure.” On the most basic level, geocaching is as easy as finding a strange object, obtaining a protective canister, creating a logbook and stashing it somewhere. Then, of course, the hider must log the coordinates online, so that others can search for the item. Thousands of sites exist all over the globe, ranging from underwater sea caves to mountaintops. At these sites, people stash this “treasure” and log the coordinates online. Using the coordinates, other geocachers attempt to find the treasure.

However, some question the point of the hunt if geocachers are given the exact coordinates. The website reply to this query states: “It is one thing to know where a location is shown on a map; it is another to actually try to arrive at that location.” The fun of geocaching, according to those who participate frequently, is getting to the sites.

I experienced geocaching for myself over Thanksgiving break with a local friend and her brother. I was not exactly sure what they meant, but bored of being on campus with no one around, I agreed. Her brother whipped out his iPhone, and began leading us towards a nearby park. We were led by the GPS app to a seemingly ordinary grove of trees. He showed me a picture someone else had posted online of finding the “treasure” and said that oftentimes owners of geocaches (those who originally hide it) will place it high in trees or bury it.

We searched around in the brush as the sun set, but unfortunately were unsuccessful. Even so, there was something very alluring about searching for an unknown object in an unfamiliar place. Becoming a member and official geocacher at is quite simple. Anyone with a little extra time on the weekend and GPS device or phone equipped with a GPS can become an online member for free.

Twin Cities residents who want to geocache are fortunate, as the metropolitan area is home to dozens of caches. Located in local parks and even in some more urban areas, geocaching provides a fun excuse to get off campus. Simply visit the “Seek a Cache” section of The rules of geocaching, while they cannot really be enforced, are basic, and mainly discourage hiders from placing perishables or any illegal items in caches. The game of geocaching depends on the honor system for its request to leaving caches in their original position, creating a friendly environment for a wide range of people from urban adventurers to outdoor enthusiasts.