Allow me to introduce you to Sprowkey (my daughter named him), a geocaching trackable figurine that we customized and unleashed into the wild last week. He is made of polymer clay that was sculpted around an official geocaching identification tag called a travel bug. If you have never heard of geocaching, it is a growing hobby akin to a treasure hunt, that uses smartphones or other GPS devices, as well as online clues, to track down and find hidden geocaches. Although modern technology can help get you in the vicinity of caches, you’ll probably still have to do some serious old-school hunting as well as some problem-solving to find the prize.
There are many types of caches, ranging in size from large Tupperware containers to micro-containers the size of a pen cap. Then there are virtual caches, where the goal is to find a specific location as opposed to a container. Inside the cache there is typically a log book for geocachers to sign, trinkets and other swag available for trade, and if you are lucky, you may even find collectible or trackable items, like Sprowkey, that have specific goals. Geocachers may remove trackable items, log them online at geocaching.com, and move them to other geocaches.
Sprowkey’s insanely ambitious goal is to travel all the way to California, or as far west as possible, and for his adventures to be recorded along the way. Surely his travels will be chock-full of suspense, mystery, and all kinds of mayhem, and I’m hoping that fellow geocachers will play along and send me their own stories of Sprowkey’s exploits so I may highlight them here on this blog. Will he meet new friends and confront old foes, traverse difficult terrain, perhaps even fall in love? Time will tell.
As spring approaches and you yearn for some outdoor family fun, give geocaching a shot. Still not sure? Try looking at a map of your area on geocaching.com. You’ll be surprised at the number of caches quietly hiding right under your nose that you never even knew existed. There could be fantastic treasures hiding just around the corner….and maybe, just maybe, you’ll even stumble upon Sprowkey.