Hidden Treasures: Geocaching on Cape Cod
By: Jeannette de Beauvoir, December 21, 2011
Jeannette de Beauvoir - A geocacher finds a stash.
Sometimes when you’re out and about on the Cape, you may come upon one or two people who are clearly looking for something… and trying to be discreet about it! They probably have some sort of Smartphone or other handheld device at which they keep peering.
What you may have seen are geocachers. Geocaching is a terrific way of exploring any area (even your own backyard), and all you need is a handheld GPS device and access to the Internet!
The major geocaching organization, Groundspeak, defines the sport as an entertaining adventure game for GPS users. The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the Internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinate to find the caches.
Once found, the cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they get something, they should try to leave something for the cache.
What's in a cache?
First, and perhaps most importantly, every cache contains a logbook to be signed by geocachers. Some people merely scrawl their names; others leave wonderful personal notes, comments on the cache or the location, and/or anecdotes that might be relevant to the cache owner or other geocachers finding it.
I love reading the logbooks when I find a cache – this has replaced the “treasure hunt” aspect of the hobby for me – and often come across interesting and occasionally endearing entries. I’ve read logbooks that made me laugh … and one that made me cry.
Caches also contain trinkets of some sort, most often of an age and condition to make an exchange uninteresting – though the content is usually themed and well-maintained. Children in particular enjoy this aspect of the hobby.
Some caches are tiny: micro-caches that will take all your ingenuity to find. Some are spread out over stages so that you follow a route that often leads you through a learning process (click here for an example from one of my old caches). Others involve riddles. Some are extreme, requiring scuba gear or helicopters to reach. There’s really something for everybody!
The hidden key
But beyond the trinkets, beyond the adventure, is the mystery. Geocaching leads you to the secret places, the hidden places, the magical places. Many caches are placed in areas that are important to the person placing the cache.
Imagine it: someone once stood on this very spot and thought, “This is so wonderful I must share it with others!” Open yourself to that person’s gift, this gift of place and of space, and see what happens. You may be surprised.
Go where tourists don’t go. If you travel, try and reserve some time to look for geocaches, because they’ll take you off the beaten track, away from what the guidebooks tell you to see.
Remember that people generally put caches in special places; take the opportunity to explore those places they hold special. Open your heart to seeing something new, something different, something that will make you think and feel and be. The Universe puts these opportunities and experiences in front of us every day; we can choose to accept them or to let them pass us by.
Be flexible. Be open. Embrace that which is different, challenging. You’ll be amazed at how it can change your attitude, your feelings, and your whole being.
So what about geocaching on the Cape? Well, check out this page for a sense of the geocaches I've found around North Truro. As you can see, there are a lot to find! Or go to geocaching.com and plug in your location, and see what’s around you.
Why not try it out? Geocaching can take you to places you’ve never been … and that are right around the corner from your home!
Want to learn more? I literally wrote the book: Open Your Heart Through Geocaching.