Searching for treasure the high tech way

Whether it’s Indiana Jones searching far and wide for valuable artifacts or Captain Jack Sparrow looking for that elusive treasure, the thrill of the hunt is something that appeals to many.

While we can’t all be archaeologists working in far-flung locales (or pirates, for that matter), it doesn’t mean you can’t indulge your penchant for seeking hidden treasures.

In a world of smartphones and GPS’s, it’s easier to become a part-time treasure hunter than you think. Geocaching is an activity where people can look for hidden caches within their vicinity, often with nothing more than a GPS.

The first step is to visit a geocaching website where you can search for caches in your area. Locations will be listed using the cache coordinates, which you then plug into your device.

Although a GPS unit used to be mandatory in geocaching, smartphone apps are now a cheaper alternative. The Geocaching app by Groupspeak lets you find nearby caches, view your location and the cache’s location on the embedded map, and allows you to navigate to the cache using a simulated compass arrow. If you’re getting closer to the treasure, you’ll even get a vibration and audible alert. The full version of the app costs $10 but the introductory version is available for free.

Usually, a cache will contain a piece of paper or a logbook and some trinkets. The logbook is where geocachers write their name and the date as evidence that they found the cache. The trinkets are up for grabs, but it’s geocaching etiquette to replace what you get with another trinket for the next person.

Last June, B.C. Parks hid 100 caches in parks all over the province for geocachers. The original contents of the cache include a specially designed B.C. Parks 100 collectible coin. Coordinates can be found at www.bcgeocaching.com.

This July at Sun Peaks, geocachers can take part in the second annual Seek the Peaks geocaching event. The event will be divided into a Valley Cache and an Alpine Cache treasure hunt. About 50 caches are already stashed somewhere along the trails, but up to 24 new caches have been added. The Valley Cache event will take place on Sat., July 23 starting at 1 p.m. The Alpine Cache event will be on Sun., July 24 starting at 10 a.m. Participants will be given trail maps and cache coordinates on the day of the event.

While the event itself is free, participants need to purchase a discounted lift ticket for the Alpine Cache event as the caches are located on the mountain. First time geocachers may attend the Learn to Geocache Course to be provided on July 23.

A wrap up barbecue will follow at Masa’s Bar and Grill where participants can enter to win draw prizes from Helly Hansen.

Call Adventure Centre at 250-578-5542.

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