Geocaching Brea: Rediscover your neighborhood

by admin on March 29, 2010

in Community Activities

Geocaching Brea: Rediscover your neighborhood

As a Realtor, I am always open to new ideas and ways to get out in to my neighborhood. Recently my sister Amy purchased a geocaching (Pronounced Geo-cashing) device for my family. If you have never heard of geocaching, it is like modern-day treasure hunting. No, you aren’t going to find any gold coins or items of great worth, but you will be able to go on a great adventure. This phenomenon is growing in popularity, and has taken root world-wide.

While some people only like to go out and find the caches, there are others who take the time to find hiding spaces for them. The caches come in many shapes and sizes, from small tubes to the size of a small treasure chest. Once they hide them, they figure out the exact GPS coordinates and register them for others to go and find. Inside each of these is a log for you to sign once you have found it. Some of the caches hold trinkets or toys inside. If you take something out, you should always put something back in. So what is the point? Well, you can think of it as a game or riddle. Most of the cach descriptions include some sort of story or clue to help you find it. Even with the GPS device, you can be standing right on top of it, but not find it. It takes some thinking, riddle-solving ability, and a good eye to spot most of these. Some are hidden in plain sight. Hundreds of people may walk by it each day, and not realize that it exists. The game is played on publicly accessed property and not on private property so that any person may participate. So what do you need to do to join in?

1.Sign up for an account- First you should go to www.geochaching.com which is run by this activity’s organizer, Groudspeak. You can register for a free account which will give you access to all of the “caches”. While at the site it is also good to familiarize yourself with the rules and culture surrounding geocaching. Just like any sport or organized activity, there are ways to conduct oneself when on a hunt.

2.Get a GPS device- There are hundreds of GPS tracking devices which can be used to help you find the coordinates where treasures are hidden. I found the official geocaching.com App on iTunes and used my iPhone. It costs $10, but works great. It helps to lead you right in to the vicinity where the treasure is, and also can be referenced when needing a hint.

3.Search near you!- You will be shocked at how many of these things are within 2 miles from your home or workplace. On the geocaching website you can search from an address, or several other criteria. When I looked up my home address, I had about five of them within a half-mile. Start with a goal to find one or two, put on your walking shoes, and head out the door!

4.Warning, this is addicting!- When I first heard about this I thought that it might be kind of lame. I mean, it isn’t even REAL treasure. I quickly discovered how much fun it can be. It combines exercise with problem solving. My kids loved it too, although it is a little bit harder to stay in “stealth-mode” when you are dragging four kids along! This activity has helped me rediscover my neighborhood and community. I love living in the North Hills neighborhood. I find that every time I am out I get a chance to talk to one of my neighbors or see another beautiful corner of Brea that I did not know existed. By the way, if you see “Team JP”, that is me!

-Jonathan Pearson

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