Western senior Katy Pace discovered the real-world treasure hunt activity geocaching while studying abroad in France and has now brought it back with her to Bellingham.
Pace said she enjoys geocaching so much that she has made an effort to spread the game to the Bellingham community. Pace started a Facebook group on Sept. 4 that aims to connect active geocache members and individuals interested in geocaching in our area.
“I would like the group to develop into something where people take that interest and move forward,” Pace said.
Geocaching, an activity claimed to be a contemporary GPS treasure hunt, is enjoyed by over 6 million members all over the planet, according to the national geocaching website.
Pace is an active geocache member in the Bellingham community and said that the game allows its members to seek out a variety of locations and hidden items, known as “caches.” Members discover these hidden caches based on a given set of coordinates that lead members to their final destination and, or hidden treasure.
The game provides the opportunity to find items, questions or facts left by the original geocache hider or past geocache members who have found the very same cache. Pace said that the game offers something fun and exciting for almost anyone.
Discovering a cache requires members to accomplish a variety of tasks. Traditional caching is the simplest version of geocaching and the most widely available, active geocacher Vincent Ourthiague said.
Ourthiague resides in France and introduced Pace to geocaching during her study abroad in France this past year.
“What’s great about this type of cache is there are many things to discover with them,” Ourthiague said. “It can be a great landscape, something interesting to see in a city, or a really clever hiding spot.”
Members may have to participate in “multi-caching,” where one must travel to multiple locations before finding the true cache’s placement. They may even solve clues before being given the cache’s true coordinates, which Pace defined as “mystery caching.”
A physical cache can look like anything, Pace said. Some caches are so small that only a piece of paper can fit inside, while others are big enough for members to leave larger items that can be traded.
Once a member finds a cache, they have the option to leave a personal belonging or take a keepsake left by a past geocacher, according the national geocache website.
Ourthiague, who has found more than 5,000 caches, said that people usually leave items that they like. He said he personally enjoys leaving foreign coins that he has acquired from around the world.
Ourthiague has geocached in 13 countries and hidden 30 caches himself.
“I always place my caches in locations I want to make people discover because I want to share those places, maybe a historical location or a great point view,” Ourthiague said.
For those who are already active members, or are interested in trying the game, join Pace’s page by finding Bellingham Geogaching on Facebook.