Before our trip to Italy last year, my husband and I went geogaching at home here in Flagstaff. We were looking for a “trackable” or “travel bug,” which is a small object that can be tracked wherever it goes by a unique code stamped or printed on it. Not all geocaches contain travel bugs, but luckily we located one, attached to this cute little sock monkey pictured here. This trackable, which originated with a child in the Czech Republic and had already traveled nearly 17,000 miles among various caches, would travel with us from Flagstaff, Arizona, to Venice and the Amalfi Coast. The little girl who owned that little traveler would be able to track its movements online.
For those of you who might not be familiar with this geocaching, it’s basically a worldwide treasure hunt made up of containers of variable sizes, from teeny-weeny “micro” caches to larger ammo cans, which you look for using a set of map coordinates and clues. In most of the containers, you’ll find small exchangeable items — take something, leave something — and a log, where you record your name or geochacher’s nickname and the date you found the cache. There are also “earth caches,” where you find and photograph a specific location and often have to answer questions which you post back on the geocaching website. The main site for this global activity is geocaching.com.
Started in 2000, this treasure-hunting game has really grown in popularity, now played by more than 5 million people searching for more than 2 million hidden caches all over the world.
And Flagstaff is a great place to go geocaching, with a large number of caches located in and around town. Some of them are easily accessible by parking close to the location and walking a short distance, while others take more time and effort and sometimes strenuous hikes. One fun benefit of geocaching is that you get to see places you might not otherwise go. It’s an adventure every time and a pastime enjoyed by children and us “big kids” alike, so it’s a great thing to do as a family or a couple. There are a number of caches located in the vicinity of Arizona Mountain Inn, so you won’t have to travel far if you’d like to learn about geocaching and give it a try during your stay.
This post was written by Deb Kingsbury, a friend of the Arizona Mountain Inn and local Flagstaff resident.