Thursday, September 18, 2008


In my blogs I've described the wide variety of places I've explored while climbing, hiking, and traveling.

One of the best ways to explore the roads less traveled where you live is geocaching.

The concept of geocaching is simple - finding a hidden treasure using GPS coordinates.

It all started with Letterboxing in Dartmoor, England in 1854 when James Perrott placed a bottle for visitors cards at Cranmere Pool on the northern moor. Hikers on the moors began to leave a letter or postcard inside a box along the trail hence the name "letterboxing". The next person to discover the site would collect the postcards and mail them. The first Dartmoor letterboxes were so remote and well-hidden that only the most determined walkers ended up finding them.

Letterboxing used trail descriptions and orienteering. With the advent of the modern GPS, the journey to finding the hidden treasure now begins with latitude and longitude.

What's in a Geocache? Most often the treasures consist of various collectibles, hot wheels, McDonald's toys and local souvenirs. The idea is that you leave something in the cache and take something. It's also common to leave in a note a visitors register often included in the cache.

Sometimes caches are accessed by hiking, sometimes by climbing, sometimes by kayaking. Inevitably, they are placed in beautiful and special places.

My daughter and I have placed several over the years including one on an island in Boston Harbor.

There are currently 654,684 active geocaches around the world, including one of mine.

Grab a GPS and give it a try!