Geocaching a way to bring back childhood memories, fun

When you were a kid, did you ever embark on treasure hunts? Remember the excitement you felt as you deciphered clues and solved riddles to find the next piece of the treasure? Do you ever wish you could still do this?

Well, you can and some of the treasures are awaiting discovery right here on Western Carolina’s campus. In May of 2000, Dave Ulmer of Beavercreek, Oregon hide the first of millions of little treasures that are now hidden all over the world; this outdoor sporting activity is known as Geocaching.

Geocaching uses Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to pinpoint the general location of “caches,” and then participants’ uses deciphered clues to find the exact location to a small treasure. Caches always include a log book for participants to sign, and depending on the size, may include a small item for trade.

This worldwide phenomenon is currently in over 100 countries and caches can be found on all 7 continents. There are over 1.2 million active geocache locations and multiple websites dedicated to the activity, with the largest being

This treasure hunting game, being one of the world’s best kept secrets, has even found itself into the cell phone universe by having applications dedicated to it on both the iPhone and the Andriod. With millions of geocachers searching for the treasure, this activity has turned into a family friendly activity as well as an easy way to “Go Green.”

Geocaching encourages participants to look for and properly dispose of trash and waste they find on their way to discovering a cache. The “Green” effort is a small way to help the environment as well as bring a sense of community to all those who play.

In July of 2009, Western held a one-day geocaching class as part of their Continuing Education—My Buddy and Me program, which are programs geared toward activities that promote parent/child interaction. The class was designed to teach both parents and children exciting ways to have fun together while learning about science and art. The class hid caches around campus, as well as found local caches that have been placed by others.

By typing in Cullowhee’s zip code on, participants can find all the exciting treasures that are awaiting discovery on campus, as well as area caches.