If you have a Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled device and a little bit of imagination, you don’t need to go far to set out on a great family adventure in South Walton. The popular sport of geocaching has proven itself to be a great pastime with many, as close to 300 tiny treasures are hidden throughout the area.
Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting sport in which participants use a GPS to hide and seek containers, called geocaches or caches. A cache is a small waterproof container that stores a logbook and often a trinket. Geocachers (participants) enter their nickname into the logbook and trade the trinket with another of equal or greater value.
A geocacher finds clues for their search on the website (geocaching.com). Once you join, and create a nickname, you enter a zip code and find posts with clues and coordinates for area hunts. Most clues give the basic location of a cache along with an additional hint to decipher or perhaps a bit of history or tale about the location.
The cache is typically close to the GPS coordinates, however may be cleverly tucked inside of a tree or under a log. The cache containers come in various sizes, ranging from a 35mm-film canister to an old ammunition box.
In South Walton, caches can be found in area state parks, the Point Washington State Forest, tucked under a beach access, or even tucked away at area restaurants.
Serious geocachers acquire trackable coins or travel bugs (unique
tracking tags that attach to items) for exchanging in caches. These
items can be tracked around the globe from the unique number stamped on
it. The item becomes a hitchhiker of sorts that is carried from cache to
cache (or person to person) in the real world, and you can follow its
progress online. These coins and travel bugs can be purchased online at
websites such as cacheboxstore.com.
Lori Ceier is the publisher of WaltonOutdoors.com an online magazine about exploring the outdoors in and around Walton County.