When I tried geocaching last summer, I had no idea what I was getting into.

My friend and I went out to Cranberry Marsh armed with only a GPS and our adventurous spirit. What we encountered, we never expected. After following the GPS coordinates, we found a large Tupperware container filled to the top with small trinkets left by past geocachers. It was like a treasure hunt in the wilderness. Man against nature! Well, maybe it wasn’t that heroic, but it was fun and that first outing created an addiction that led to many more hunts.

To geocache all you need is a GPS and a membership with a geocaching website. If you don’t have a GPS, most mobile phones come with a GPS built in. Once you download an app onto your phone, you can use that instead of an expensive GPS.

Geocaching officially started in 2000 and it quickly became a worldwide activity. But not many people have heard of this exciting and family friendly sport. When someone places a geocache they mark down the coordinates into a GPS. Then they post the coordinates onto a geocaching website for all members to see. Inside the cache is usually a logbook or journal, where you will find all sorts of geocache acronyms like TFTC meaning “Thanks for the Cache.” If you’re lucky you will find a geocache with items or trinkets in it. In these caches you are encouraged to take a small trinket with you, as long as you replace it with a small trinket of your own.

In Valemount there are at least a dozen different geocaches, all of which can be accessed through www.geocaching.com

Paul Johnson is part of a local group that is trying to have a geocaching event in the spring that will attract tourists to the valley. He says the village supports this idea, and if the event works out, the village plans to place about a dozen geocaches around Valemount. The whole idea of the meet is to attract more tourists and to get tourists to stay in town longer.

Johnson estimated there were about a dozen people in Valemount that make geocaches.

“Anyone can geocache” says Johnson. “You can be five or a hundred years old. Even some people in wheelchairs do it. As long as you know how to read a GPS, and you can follow it to where the cache is hidden, you can geocache.”

All you need to do is sign up for free at a geocaching website and you can get all the information you need about geocaching.

John Kenkel