June 11, 2018
Updated by Emily Baumann
Written by Jomel Nichols and Christel Gollnick
Photography by Emily Baumann and Patrick Evenson for the St. Joseph Convention & Visitors Bureau
DEFINITION: Securely hidden.
Many people have been known to say that St. Joseph, MO is a best kept secret. In many ways that is true, but literally so when talking about geocaching.
Geocaching is the world’s largest treasure hunt with small geocache containers hidden all around you without you even knowing they are there. Use your smartphone to navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache hidden at that location based on the clues provided. They are typically small airtight containers hidden very well or cleverly. Inside you may find keepsakes left behind by other explorers and a log to record your visits. It is customary to leave your own gift in the geocache for someone else to find later (and in return taking something for yourself). Many geocachers enjoy skimming the list and see how many others have found the same geocache and how far they traveled to do so. There are even real-world challenge and puzzle caches where you can solve a code or a series of clues on your outdoor adventure.
Stacie Sanders of St. Joseph, Missouri is passionate about geocaching because “It is kind of like a new age treasure hunt. It gets you outside and looking for the items that people have hidden. Plus it is fun to see how many people have found your caches and where they are from when they sign the cache log.” Together with her family they spend time having fun exploring and looking for new caches in the area and when they are on vacation. Geocaching holds an extra special place in the heart of Stacie and her husband…
My husband actually took me geocaching to find a new cache. Come to find out, he had gone out the day before and hid an engagement ring in a pretend cache for us to find. When we got to the location, we started looking for it. I couldn’t find it. Then my husband got down on one knee and proposed to me. We actually turned that spot into a geocache. It is called ‘She said, Yes.’
Stacie adds that they don’t have a “favorite spot” to geocache, but they just enjoy spontaneously pulling up the app (find more info on the app in the links below) and enjoying this uncommon and very affordable activity together.
According to Geocaching HQ, since the sport began in 2000, more than 3 million geocaches have been hidden in 190 countries around the globe. At the time of this article there were 461 locations right here in St. Joseph near landmarks, historic sites, museums, the parkway … everywhere! Many of them are mapped online at www.geocaching.com. Not sure where to start? Visit the site or download the app and type in the zip code for your location.
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