True to its grassroots origins, the rules of the game are continually evolving, as players adopt new variants and challenges, but the basics remain. Step one: Log onto Geocaching.com to set up a free account, then enter your location to view the coordinates and clues for nearby geocaches, which are rated for difficulty and terrain. Step two: Grab your GPS device (hint: smartphones count) and start hunting! Step three: When you find the treasure, sign the logbook, select a prize and leave something of equal or greater value for future hunters.
While the rules are simple, the hunt may be anything but. After leaving my first geocache mission at Kepaniwai Heritage Gardens with nothing more than a single rubber slipper and crushed confidence, I decide to recruit Brad as reinforcement.
We head into ‘Iao Valley the following morning, and after thirty minutes, are still stumped. Stymied by doubt and coated in a fresh layer of cobwebs, I’m ready to concede. Moments later, I hear the magic words: “Found it!”
Like two kids on Christmas morning, we hover over a plastic jar the width of my palm. Crammed inside are a weathered logbook and toys seemingly plucked from a quarter vending machine. We sign the book, remove a strawberry-shaped eraser and leave a luggage tag.
I can confirm that telling someone your hour-long treasure hunt yielded a kid’s eraser will make you sound a bit nuts. But veteran geocachers know it’s not about the prize.