Warning: This blog is just for the fun of it.
Anyone interested in seeking hidden treasure? If you have a Smartphone it's easier, and more fun, than you might imagine.
This blog is about setting work aside, having fun, learning something in the process and finding stashed goodies. It's about geocaching. This is a great hobby that is catching on about as quickly as Smartphones. And it can be especially rewarding, and educational, if you have children in your world.
Here's how it works: Anyone with an IPhone, Droid or other Smartphone has within it a GPS positioning system or can easily download a GPS app. That GPS feature will tell you where you are located - and most likely will do so with geographical coordinates broken down into latitude, longitude, minutes and seconds.
The potential for free fun comes from using your GPS to take advantage of other information offered at the following free Internet site (among others): www.geocaching.com.
At geocaching.com are the coordinates for thousands of hidden caches. With more people all of the time hiding, as well as looking, for these caches the odds are good there are numerous ones in your town, along your favorite trail or on the mountain you climb.
Set up a free account, type in your zip code or physical description and a list of nearby caches will be displayed. Along with geographical coordinates for where they are hidden, there is a description of what is hidden and oftentimes clues that help you narrow your search. Sometimes the clues will come in forms of riddles, other times will need to de-code them.
The clues come in handy, take the time to figure them out. The coordinates, even when down to the seconds, only get you so close. Even with the help of your telephone's GPS system, one does not walk right to the caches. One second in latitude still is about 100 feet. One second of longitude varies but is something less than that. It comes down to a manageable, but still challenging amount of space. Then, the caches are, well, cached. Hidden. The Smartphone gets you close, but that's all.
Geocaching is a great challenge for the young and old. They can take you into the woods or into a downtown park, it's up to you to decide where your hunt will take you.
For example I live in Missoula Montana and there are something more than 200 registered caches either in town or the nearby mountains. There are plenty to choose from.
For the more adventurous, there are caches on Mount Everest, in the Amazon and on all seven continents. According to Wikipedia, there are about 1,600,000 active geocaches scattered around the world and about five million people looking for them.
This I know for sure: after one afternoon of looking, my nine-year-old granddaughter has a better understanding of degrees, minutes and seconds than many adults - and like kids of all ages, we both have a heck of a lot of fun on a treasure hunt.
Unless you already have too much fun in your life, you might want to give it a try.
Grant Sasek works for Real Estate Pipeline, an on-line lead generation service