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What is geocaching? Geocaching is an outdoor sporting activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or smart phone to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", all over the world. To date, over 1,200,000 caches have been placed in over 100 countries. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook where the geocacher enters their geocaching name (and sometimes the date) when the cache is discovered.

Larger containers such as waterproof Tupperware or military ammo cans can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little value. The idea is if you take something you leave something of equal or greater value. Geocaching is often described as a "game of high-tech hide and seek".

Geocaching was conceived shortly after the government removed Selective Availability from GPS on May 1, 2000, allowing for improved accuracy down to about 6 feet now. The first documented geocache was placed on May 3, 2000, by Dave Ulmer of Beavercreek, Oregon.  Geocaches come in many sizes from nano (about the size of the metal part of a pencil); micro which is sometimes a 35mm film canister; small which is maybe a small Tupperware type container;  regular which is the size of an ammo can,  and large which is a 5 gallon bucket or larger.

Geocaching comes with its own set of terms. One of the most important is “Muggle” or a non-geocacher. "Muggle" or a non-magical person originates from the Harry Potter series. Usually this term is used after a non-geocacher becomes puzzled after befriending a geocacher searching for a cache, or when a non-geocacher accidentally finds a cache.  The sport will take you to places you never knew existed.

For instance, a geocache near Florence, SC (The Bomb Crater GC1DP23) was the sight of an atomic bomb exploding back on March 11, 1958. At 16:19 a B-47E bomber, Aircraft 35-1876A, accidentally released a nuclear bomb as they were passing over the Gregg property in rural Mars Bluff South Carolina. This Broken Arrow is considered to be the only time a nuclear bomb was ever dropped on America. The high-explosives in the bomb detonated, but, because the fissionable core of the bomb was stored in another part of the plane, a full-on nuclear explosion did not take place.

Another cache, The Minister’s Tree House (GC2D3RQ) in Crossville, TN is just about the World’s Largest Tree House containing a ten-story tree house estimated to have between 8,000 and 10,000 square feet of space.  Another, a phone booth that reveals its cache if you enter the correct phone number, is located in Portland, Oregon.  An outer space geocache, “International Space Station” GC1BE91, was placed by astronaut Richard Garriott in October 2008.

Many types of geocaches exist such as the traditional ones previously mentioned where the geocacher follows a set of coordinates, locates the container, and signs the log. Other types of geocaches include multi-caches, puzzle, virtual, earth, webcam, and event. The virtual cache takes you to an interesting place but has no container. You usually have to answer a few questions about the location and maybe take your picture there to get credit for finding it. Regular geocaches aren’t allowed in National Parks such as the GSMNP. However, parks still contain quite a number of virtual caches; however, no new virtual caches placements are being allowed.

An event cache is just a party organized by its creator. The cache page will give you coordinates to its location as well as the date and time of the event.  Events are held for many different reasons. One would be just to get together and discuss the sport. Another reason might be to celebrate a fellow cacher reaching a milestone such as finding 1,000 caches. Customarily, parties (events) are given to a fellow cacher for reaching 1,000 (1K) finds, 5,000 (5K) finds, and each successive 5K finds after that. The 1K cacher is presented with a gold ammo can as a trophy of their achievement. Attendees are requested to bring swag (trade items) to fill his ammo can.

Geocaches are hidden by any geocacher wishing to contribute to the game. Each time a cache is found the owner gets an email as the finder goes online and logs the find. You can find out where geocaches are located by visiting the website Registration is free but a premium membership is offered for $30 per year offering additional features. You can search for geocaches in an area by simply entering the zip code; 528 geocaches exist within a 20-mile radius of the SCPLS King Family Library and 396 geocaches are located within 10 miles of downtown Knoxville.

Sevier County Public Library System
408 High Street • Sevierville, TN 37862
Phone: 8654533532
Fax: 8657746024