The Geocache Craze

By Sally Taylor

Gold TreasureI see there is a new adventure sport emerging. It is called Geocaching. Geocaching is a real-world game that consists of people hiding caches; then others go to find it. Hide and seek for adults, basically. There are some sites that offer prizes for finding caches. One asks that you trade a found cache for another one. It is becoming quite a trend.

Now, forgive me for being naive – but if you are going to burn gas and energy looking for treasure – why wouldn’t it be REAL treasures that you search out? There is so much actual bonafide treasure out there to be found – old coins, pioneer artifacts, Indian artifacts, actual lost mines, and long-buried treasures from yesteryear, and this is not to even mention gem minerals. The attraction of hunting for planted “caches” just escapes me somehow.

Nebraska Homestead

Nebraska Homestead

There are ghost towns all over, and there are many lost items just waiting for the fortunate hunter to dig up and bring back to the world. Of course, this is just whole towns. Anyone hiking in areas previously trod by early gold rush era prospectors or pioneers is bound to stumble across lost homesteads at some time or other. Wherever parties of pioneers, wagon trains, or stagecoaches came through, there rested the possibility of real treasures. Pioneers were known to often bury treasures when they were being pursued by those who might steal it or when the load became too cumbersome to be able to travel with it. I’m sure these people meant to recover these treasures at a later date, but for reasons ranging from untimely death to just lost directions, many of these caches remain buried and waiting for recovery to this day.

The superstition Mountains can be seen behind these  old buildings in nearby Goldfield, Arizona

The superstition Mountains can be seen behind these  old buildings in nearby Goldfield, Arizona.

What about lost mines? No one yet has found the Lost Dutchman mine, now you want a real thrill, be the first to dig that one up. That is only one mine lost in the history archives, waiting to be retrieved. The Lost Cement Gold Mine still remains lost near the head of the middle fork of the San Joaquin River, and the Lost Soldier Mine somewhere in Arizona near the Gila River bend has thus far managed to elude hunters. This is only a couple of mentions out of scores, possibly hundreds, of lost mines just waiting for rediscovery. Pirates and Bandits were well known to bury treasures as well. No report has been made of the Lake George or South Mountain treasures in Colorado having been found yet. Florida itself is not much more than a grand treasure cache, with hundreds of caches being dug up that were left by pirates, explorers, and people fleeing battles, and who knows how many are left to discover – and that is on land. For the adventuresome scuba diver, the gulf is an explorer’s paradise, hiding wrecks of ships torn on reefs, lost in storms, or sunk in battles.

The Southwestern portion of the US abounds with treasure stories of lost Indian treasures, caches stolen by invading Spaniards and buried to be lost later, and stagecoach and train robberies that resulted in the burial of treasures. While some of these stories can be chocked up to the legend, historical evidence supports many.

So, maybe the fact with the Geocache game is the competition and involvement with others. Real treasure hunting does not necessarily negate these factors. Many treasure hunts that I have seen revolve around shared research and information, as well as teams of hunters who report back to each other about progress and failures. Some are undertaken with the spirit of sharing a cache, while others involve shared information, but the actual discovery is pretty much a finders-keepers, winner-take-all proposition.

So, simply speaking – while Geocaching sounds like an entertaining way to spend a weekend – for me, “ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby.”

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©2005 Sally Taylor, Ezine Articles (dead link,) updated January 2024.

About the Author: Sally Taylor is an avid gem and treasure hunter, explorer, writer, and is the owner of Rockhound Station 1, a global rockhound community website that provides forums, articles, newsletters, and more.

Also See:

Abandoned Mine Areas

Lost Treasure Tales

Pleasures and Dangers of Rockhounding

Relic Hunting – Discover a Piece of History