The green dot marks the spot: Cache me if you can

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By Julia Fisher

Believe it or not, the occasional barbarism behind widely popular sports such as football and boxing does not appeal to the entire human population.  Some of us just aren’t cut out to swallow that kind of physical violence.  Fights?  Uncivil.  Blood?  Nauseating.  Bone-snapping?  Chilling.

There are certain individuals who prefer less violent means of physical activity—sports geared more toward character development, if you will.

People who prefer to tone their navigating skills and intuition rather than their punching muscles or biceps.

These free-spirited individuals are known as Geocachers (pronounced geo-cashers).

Their equipment is light, their teams malleable, and their playing field enormous.  Geocaching is where companionship, friendly competition, and non-violent physical activity collide.

Geocaching is as an adult version of a scavenger hunt.  Players use the free Geocaching Intro app on their GPS-enabled smart phones to identify hidden geocaches nearby.

When the app is opened on a smart phone, it displays a map of the surrounding area, pinpointing the user’s location with a blue dot, and hidden geocaches with green dots.

It uses the phone’s built-in GPS to guide the user to geocaches, and can pinpoint those up to a mile away and as accurately as 30 feet away.

A geocache is simply a hidden weatherproof container.  Given this, not all of them look the same.  They vary in size from micro to large, and the sizes of specific geocaches are indicated on their logs found when using the app.

Small, regular, and large geocaches tend to have trinkets to trade inside, while extra-small and micro caches contain the minimum requirement of a scroll of paper to sign on for when one finds the hidden container.

“Geocaching lets you do something fun with friends while still being active. I’ve found 36 geocaches so far.  The coolest one I’ve found was a super small pill container tucked at the bottom of the CSUN letter statue.  There are geocaches pretty much wherever I go so it’s fun to stop every now and then to see what cool new finds are in the area,” senior Eileen Iniguez said.

Since its start-up in September of 2000, there are over 6 million geocachers and 2,556,073 active geocaches worldwide.

As people have gotten more into geocaching, the hides have become more creative and difficult.  They are hidden underwater, within cities, in the desert, and in trees, across all seven continents.

The highest geocache in the world lies at the peak of Mount Everest, and it is rumored that there is even one on the International Space Station orbiting Earth.  However, you don’t have to travel far to find any, because there are over 800 easy finds right in Granada Hills.

“Geocaching is a crazy adventure.  I’ve found 50 items on the map, and the local police even helped me look for one of them,” senior Omar Peraza said.  “My friends and I were looking under rocks next to the Los Angeles River and they stopped us because they were wondering what we were doing.  When we told them, they said they geocache too.”

The geocaching community has expanded rapidly since its start 15 years ago, and it shows no signs of stopping.  Keeping up with the hobby adds a little adventure to life, and, sports enthusiast or not, everyone loves a good scavenger hunt.

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