Looking to tap into your inner Goonie? Just whip out your smartphone and you’ll be on your way.
Geocaching is an outdoor, modern-day treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices to hide and seek caches containing trinkets left by other members of the geocaching community. Right now, there are over two million active caches hidden all over the world waiting for you to find.
It’s no surprise that geocaching originated in Oregon, home of the ultimate treasure hunt flick The Goonies, but you don’t need to travel all the way to the coast to start your caching adventure. In fact, right now there is a cache located here on the Portland State campus.
So, how can you begin your own treasure hunt?
The first step is registering with the official geocache website, geocaching.com. The company also has two applications, a free introduction app and a $12.99 all-inclusive app. Once you’re a member, you can decide what kind of cache to look for by using the location services on your phone, or typing in your zip code on the website.
Both the website and applications will give information about the caches available in your area. Would you like to enjoy a hike while hunting down your cache? Mount Tabor and Forest Park have several located among their grounds, so you can take in Portland’s breathtaking scenery while getting closer to your treasure.
Or perhaps you are more interested in navigating the streets of the city? Hundreds of urban caches are located near the riverfront, Pioneer Square, the Park Blocks and more.
After you’ve decided what type of cache to look for, it’s time to head outside and try to find it. Just follow the coordinates provided by your phone or GPS device, and once you have arrived at the location, look high and low for the hidden cache. Caches can be nestled in the hollows of trees or underneath rocks, but some are hidden in plain sight, so make sure to keep your eyes open.
Geocaches can come in all shapes and sizes—from a Tupperware container to a small film canister. The website or app will provide you with a general idea of what size the cache is. All caches contain a logbook (so don’t forget to bring a pen) and many contain fun goodies left by previous geocachers. Caches have been known to contain everything from small toys or customized coins, to gift cards. If you plan on taking a treasure from a cache, make sure to replace it with something you’re willing to trade.
Portland has a large geocaching community, and judging by our famous motto, “Keep Portland Weird,” the caches located in our city are bound to contain something out of this world.
The Pacific Northwest has become a playground for geocachers. Treasures can be found up and down the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood and along the Oregon coastline.
Whether you’re an avid outdoorsman or just looking for some laid-back fun to get your mind off that paper due next week, geocaching is a game for any lifestyle. So throw on some shoes, fire up your GPS and say hello to the Goonie inside of you.