Learn the basics of using a global positioning system to hunt for hidden treasures through a Rend Lake College Community Education class on the growing sport of "geocaching."
A GPS device and a hunger for adventure are all you need for high-tech treasure hunting. Course participants will learn the basics of this exciting sport as well as how to find the latest caches in the area and how to start their own caches.
"Geocaching" will be offered from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 8 in the Rend Lake College Student Center. The course costs $15 and will be taught by Bill Nipper, a teacher at Ewing Grade School.
According to geocaching.com, the basic idea of geocaching is to have people and organizations set up caches all over the world and to share the coordinates of the caches on the Internet. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is note the date and time of his or her visit in the logbook included in the cache, and if they take something from it, they should leave something.
The Web site states that there are more than 76,800 caches set up in 190 countries at present.
Geocaching is described as deceptively easy. While it is one thing to see where an item is using the coordinates and the GPS device, it is another thing altogether to actually get there. "You may be a mile from the cache, but there may be a river in the way, or a near-vertical climb involving three miles of switchbacks, or a mountain," the site states.
A cache located on the side of a rocky cliff might only be accessible with rock-climbing equipment, or an underwater cache could require scuba gear, according to the site. Even the skillful placement of a small logbook in an urban setting could present a challenge.
Caches can come in many forms, but the first item should always be the logbook, which contains information from the person who placed the cache and eventually will contain notes from the cache’s visitors.
Larger caches may consist of a waterproof bucket placed tastefully within the local terrain. Items in a cache could include maps, books, software, hardware, compact discs, videos, pictures, money, jewelry, tickets, tools, games and limitless other possibilities. Some caches may contain clues or riddles to solve which may lead to other caches.