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treasure chestIf you like walking but find that your children are less keen than you to head up the mountains, then you might like to introduce them to a new game called “Geocaching”.

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played by all kinds of adventure seekers, both young and old.  The idea behind the game is that small containers, called geocaches, are hidden in literally thousands of locations throughout the world, by “geocachers”.  Geocachers will post their location online, using a GPS device to identify the exact reference, helping treasure hunters to find their “booty” in the shortest possible time.

Once found, geocaching etiquette demands that if you take one of the many small items located in the geocache box, then you replace it with something of your own.  Hence the treasure is constantly updated to avoid disappointment for future treasure hunters.

Those of you with GPS devices will find the task of treasure hunting relatively easy compared to more traditional hunters who prefer to use maps and ordnance survey coordinates to pinpoint the treasure.  You can browse the list of geocaches hidden in your area and choose to hunt one that suits the level of walkers in your group.  Some hikes are considerably more difficult than others so be sure to choose the right one for you.

Once you’ve completed a couple of treasure hunts yourself, you may then decide to hide your own geocache and post its location online.  Anyone can hide a geocache, providing you follow the basic rules.

To get an idea of the scale of the game, take a look at the official website at www.geocaching.com.  Put in your postcode and see how many geocaches are located in your area.  As an example, if you type in Geneva, you are rewarded with over 100 geocaches located within a 10 mile radius!  Read the description posted with each geoacache as well as the list of comments posted by other geocache hunters to get an idea of the nature of the walk.

To see the excact location for each geocache listed on the site you will need to become a geocache member.  According to the geocaching site, on 20 July 2010, there were 1,133,600 active caches and an estimated 4-5 million geocachers worldwide. Over a 30 day period, there were 3,970,825 new logs submitted.

Good luck!