For the uninitiated, geocaching is basically a scavenger hunt updated with and adapted to contemporary technology. The items one hunts are intentionally hidden, however, and are found using a provided GPS coordinate.
Buddy Lique, an Alexandria resident and geocacher since 2010, said there’s over 1,000 hidden treasures in the county and more people are catching on to the activity. Lique said he’s found 11,068 items to date and his treasure hunts have taken him all the way to Italy.
On Saturday, around 25 people listened to Lique’s intro to geocaching seminar held at the public library in Anniston.
Most in attendance were familiar with the activity and had been geocaching for several years, but a few were hoping to find out what tools they needed to start treasure hunting.
The items, known as “cache” come in different sizes, which are always provided in the description so the searcher knows how large or small a container to look for. A cache container could be as large as a five-gallon bucket or as small as a blueberry.
Lique told the class that cache containers must always include a geocache sticker so that it’s “well marked for accidental finders.”
“You’d be surprised where they’re at. They’re everywhere,” he said.
The level of difficulty for each cache is listed in its description, Lique said, and is ranked from one to five.
Treasure on the “1” scale should be easy to find, he said, and can usually be spotted by a geocacher from their car. Whereas an item with a “5” ranking could take several trips back to the location before it’s finally discovered.
The terrain where an item is located is ranked in the same way. In order for terrain to be considered a “1” it needs to be wheelchair accessible, Lique said. Finding an item with a “5” terrain ranking could require the use of a boat and climbing gear, he said.
A geocacher who finds the item should always sign his or her name on the paper log provided; whoever “takes a treasure” in the container should also “leave a treasure.” Treasure could be anything from a small toy or keychain and should always be family friendly.
Lique said beginners don’t need to buy a $500 GPS device to get started. The GPS on a smartphone or a used handheld GPS for less than $100 is perfect for first-time geocachers.
Library Director Teresa Kiser said since there’s a cache stashed at the library she figured it was the perfect location to teach people about the activity.
“It’s so much fun to do. It’s a great family activity or friend activity and it doesn’t cost money, other than your gas,” Kiser said.
Kiser said she’s been geocaching for almost three years and enjoys going on hunts with her niece.
The library director said she’s hoping to host another course in the future.
Tara Knepp of Anniston said she knows people who geocache and attended the class to learn what it’s all about.
“I’m excited to go do it,” she said after the seminar.
Knepp said she planned to use the GPS locator on her iPad to start and perhaps progress to the handheld GPS locator once she got used to finding cache.
Rhonda Clark, of Cherokee County, has been geocaching since 2008 and described herself as “obsessed.”
“I like geocaching because it takes me to places I’ve never been and probably wouldn’t even know about,” she said.
Staff Writer Rachael Brown: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @RBrown_Star.