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Geocaching in the Woods and the City

Think of geocaching as a high tech scavenger hunt that can be played virtually anywhere, anytime, with any number of people. It's a world wide phenomenon that involves satellite science to hide and search for containers that contain a log and other trinkets called hitch hikers. Jared Ress, an interpreter at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield County, says geocaching is being done all over the world.

Some folks will go out and find clever places to hide little boxes, usually in the woods although there are urban geocaches as well. Other folks can go to geocaching.com and they can look up the coordinates- the latitude and longitude- to find these caches and then they'll take their personal GPS devices and go for a nice hike," states Ress. " Get as close as you can with your device to the exact location and then you have to spend a little bit of time once you arrive just searching around."

Every year, Virginia's state parks set out a series of geocaches following a central theme. This year, the theme is bird watching. Next year it will be the American Civil War Sesquicentennial.

Jim Meisner, with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, explained that all 36 Virginia state parks offer geocaching. There are GPS units available for rent, instructors are on hand and there's room for large groups and school field trips.

We have the smaller caches that individuals place but then we also have the main cache in every park that we are responsible for. In every one of our state parks we have a geocaching brochure that explains it that helps you to get setup on the website. But on our website, vastateparks.gov, you can download that brochure so you can use that one brochure and travel to every state park to find the main geocache in every park," explains Meisner.

Actually, there are geocaches all over the place, more than 1,000 inside Richmond city limits. And most enthusiasts own their own GPS units or download geocache apps to their smartphones.

So grab your smartphone or GPS and start exploring.