Pssst. There is treasure hidden in your area. No, seriously. All you need is a phone and the coordinates. Technically, it’s not a treasure. It’s a cache.
This is real world Adventure Gaming—geocaching. And it’s right up a mystery story-teller’s alley.
What is Geocaching?
So glad you asked! Here, the experts can tell you in 1:16 secs.
I’ve gone out with my kids and their cousins. And it is fun, inspiring, real-live mystery solving.
With a GPSsensitive ap downloaded to my phone, we’ve used coordinates and clues to locate nearby caches—small containers of hidden treasure. In this case “treasure” is defined as typical kid detritus (a lego figure, one nickel, mardi gras beads, a dentist’s jeweled ring or a lick-on tattoo.)
Back at the dawn of geocaching, people used to put cool stuff for grown-ups into cache boxes. I’ve heard tales of caches stuffed with books, CDs, lattes and smoked salmons. (The whole thing started in the Pacific Northwest.)
These days, times are lean. Sometimes all you find is one small pencil and a tiny notebook, for recording the day, time and details of your discovery. But the process is still pretty exciting.
Caches are often hidden in parks and forest preserves. Clues can be a single word or sometimes in code! Wandering about in a remote location, with one of my side-kicks (children) asking if this is safe, while the other one asks gotta any tasty snacks? feels pretty darn Nancy Drew. (Of course, my convertible is a big tan van, but other than that...)
Writing mysteries is one thing. But solving them is a whole ‘nother game. I've gotten lots of inspiration tromping about and figuring out clues. So—I challenge you, fellow NYUS! Hunt up a cache near you. Then write about your adventure on this blog. (You Canadians can wait until it’s not -40 below. Or find an indoor cache. Seriously. Practice safe geocaching, people.)
I’ll surprise the first cache winner to describe their hunt with a double latte! (You’re on your own for the smoked salmon.) I may even surprise the rest of you with lattes, if the story is good.