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Geocaching: find an exciting reason to get outside

The outdoor recreational activity officially started outside of Portland in 2000 and is still going strong today.


Keep a sharp eye out — geocaches can be hidden anywhere, even up a tree.

Photo by Kamaji Ogino

Sense of adventure? Check. GPS device? Charged and ready to go.

That’s really all you need to enjoy geocaching, the worldwide scavenger hunt that started in 2000 just 17 miles outside of Portland in the small community of Beavercreek.

Using newly upgraded satellite technology, computer consultant Dave Ulmer hid a black bucket filled with a slingshot and other items, plus a logbook, out in the forest. He then posted the location’s coordinates online — N 45° 17.460 W 122° 24.800 — and the rest is history.

Though the geocaching game has grown over the years, the concept remains the same. Participants will stash a container in a hidden location (read Portland Parks & Recreation’s policy), before sharing its longitude and latitude with others. Seekers of all ages can then set out for the joy of discovery.

The main rule is “take some stuff, leave some stuff,” and don’t forget a pen to sign your find.

All told, there are 4,493 geocaches around Portland. Here’s how you can get started.

  1. Download the Geocaching app to see a map of nearby geocaches. You can create a free account, or select a premium membership for access to additional posts.
  2. Use the app or your own GPS to navigate to the geocache of your choice; they vary in size and difficulty, with clues and things-to-know about the terrain.
  3. Once you locate the container, write your name and the date on the log, put it back where you found it, and share your experience on the forum.

Happy hunting.

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