By Mathew Brock

Once reserved for enthusiasts either committed or wealthy enough to afford a handheld GPS, the outdoor treasure hunting game known as geocaching is more popular than ever now that smartphones have found their way into nearly everyone’s pockets.

These days it’s as easy as downloading an app and hitting a button to instantly see the coordinates of every geocache in a 10-mile radius, along with hints and the ability to digitally log your visits wherever you are.

The rules of geocaching are fairly simple. Players are given a set of coordinates and hints to lead them to a hidden container. This container houses a log sheet to write one’s name and the date; sometimes it also holds various trinkets to exchange for something of similar value. It’s important to replace the geocache as it was found for the next visitor to enjoy.

Geocaches can be found in almost any city, no matter how large or small, and Brookings is no exception. There are more than 20 geocaches within the city itself, hidden away in neighborhoods, parks and street corners. Well over 100 more are scattered throughout Curry County, both up the coastline and inland along the many hiking trails.

Visiting a geocache can be a great activity for those brief spurts of clear weather or to entertain holiday visitors and children during the winter.

Creating and maintaining your own geocache can also be a fun and rewarding experience, though it’s recommended to read up on the responsibilities and legal guidelines of doing so first.

You can learn more about geocaching and its rules at www.geocaching.com.

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