By RODNEY PAGE, Times Staff Writer
Published December 2, 2005
For those who like to hike, solve clues and find buried treasure, check out geocaching.
The idea is to find a cache, basically a treasure, by using GPS coordinates left by participants on various Internet sites. The coordinates are precise latitude and longitude numbers.
The caches can be anywhere in the world, or they can be in your back yard. They can contain almost anything. Caches can be as big as a 5-gallon bucket or as small as a camera film container. All have a log book for those who find it to mark down information about themselves. There also can be valuable items left behind by the caches' inventor or those who visited afterward, although usually it's no more than a small trinket. The No. 1 rule is to leave something in the cache if you take something.
Locally, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who have discovered geocaching. At a recent gathering at Bill Jackson's in Pinellas Park, 75 people showed up. Dennis and Kathi Burgess organized the meeting. They have been geocaching for almost three years and maintain several caches around the area.
"It's like a puzzle, a challenge," Kathi Burgess said. "It's really about sharing interesting places with others. If you find a spot that is particularly nice, you can put a cache there and let others enjoy it."
How big is geocaching? According to the official geocaching Web site, www.geocaching.com there are 216,115 active caches in 219 countries.