There are over 6 million geocachers worldwide and almost 2.5 million active geocaches in 214 countries – there is even a geocache on the International Space Station!
In Manitoba, there are around 6,500 geocaches located around the province. A fun and easy activity for people of all age groups and abilities, the geocaching game has two parts:
- First, someone hides a geocache and posts its longitude and latitude on the internet (Geocaching.com is the most popular site).
- Next, other geocachers use their own hand held GPS devices or smart phone to find the geocache and sign the log book. Usually they take something with them and leave something they’ve brought for the next modern-day treasure hunters. The items usually found in a geocache include stickers, coins, key chains, or badges.
“Geocaching will take you to places in your town or city you didn’t know or forgot existed,” said Mike Neale, president of the Manitoba Geocaching Association. “As you leave your own city, a whole different world opens up for you. There are so many wonderful places to visit in the world that just aren’t on the tourist maps or brochures.”
For example, in Manitoba, you walk through a protected area of tall grass prairie near Lake Francis south of Lake Manitoba. The geocache here is located among the native wildflowers and grasses that once spread south from the Interlake to Texas.
Head up to Child’s Lake, six hours northwest of Winnipeg, to find a cache placed in honour of Grandpa Joe – the geocacher’s grandfather who spent many years flying his Cessna 185 float plane at Child’s Lake to get to the family cabin. The cache contains a bag of memorial items and a copy of Grandpa Joe’s biography for all those who find the cache to read.
Locate a geocache along the route that La Vérendrye followed in 1738 as he departed south from Fort la Reine – now a museum honouring the heritage of the Canadian prairies located in Portage La Prairie.
“Travelling as a geocacher is a different experience,” said Mike. “It will always take you longer to get where you need to go, but the journey will always be an adventure of small detours to find treasures.”