Geocaching and Letterboxing are two great, family orientated activities that can be enjoyed for only the price of gas. Getting out to enjoy the thrill of the hunt for a local geocache or to place a letterbox with your family at that secret spot is a fun and educational way to spend a beautiful Arizona day.
Geocaching and Letterboxing are modern day treasure hunts that either utilizes the latest technology of satellite GPS- enabled devices (Geocaching) or the decoding of a written treasure map (Letterboxing). Both are not only intellectually challenging but also force the “treasure hunters” into the out-of-doors and all those natural surprises that come along from just being in and among Mother Nature.
Geocaching is a relatively new sporting activity. It involves using a mobile Global Positioning System (GPS) to locate hidden containers called “geocaches” or “caches” anywhere in the world. The homemade caches are waterproof containers that contain some trading trinkets and a logbook for the discoverer to document the find.
The first geocache was placed on May 2, 2000 near Beavercreek, Oregon. There are now over 1,535,000 active geocaches placed in over 100 different countries and on all seven continents – yep, even Antarctica! There are over 5 million geocachers currently registered with one of the many geocache website. Most sites ask you to join and provide some GPS cache clues free. Some sites have a fee, so be sure to do your research.
A favorite Geocaching website is http://www.geocaching.com/. Enter your zip code in the search window and see the 21,300+ Arizona geocaches available. You must join this site but the Basic Membership cost (thus access to the clues) is free.
Letterboxing is an older form of treasure hunting having been created in England in 1854. It involves the hiding of small, waterproof boxes and then posting clues to the where about of the letterbox online. Most letterboxers have their special, self-made stamp, called a signature stamp, which they stamp into the logbooks found inside a letterbox.
Letterboxes are found everywhere. There have been letterboxes in the Smithsonian as well as in Disneyland. Letterboxers obtain the written clues, now online, and then head out into the world to locate the hidden treasures. Sometime the clues suggest the use of an orienteering compass, but usually Letterboxing does not require any special tools; just a sense of fun and adventure!
Letterboxing too has many wonderful websites and here is our favorite - http://www.letterboxing.org/. This site tells you everything you need to know about how to get started letterboxing, even how to make your own signature stamp. It also provides the clues for over 500 letterboxes found around Arizona.
So as you look once again to get into Arizona’s amazing out-of-doors, check out Geocaching and Letterboxing for your family and adventurous friends. They are both outdoors sports where the journey and the hunt are equally as special as the final destination.
Info: http://www.geocaching.com ; http://www.traillink.com/stateactivity/az-geocaching-trails.aspx ;
http://www.letterboxing.org/ ; http://www.letterboxing.info/ ; http://members.cox.net/azroadie66/index.html