DuBOIS — Locals have been embarking on “the world’s largest treasure hunt,” otherwise known as geocaching — a real-life adventure to discover new places, enjoy nature and engage in an activity with family and friends.

Geocaching involves using an app or GPS device to navigate and find hidden containers called geocaches, according to www.geocaching.com. Starting in 2000, 75 geocaches were hidden. Today, there are more than three million of them in 190 countries.

In 2018, Visit Clearfield County became an official “GeoTour,” meaning that its “GeoTrail” is now available worldwide, according to www.visitclearfieldcounty.org/geocaching. It offers five trails used for geocaching — Forgotten Clearfield County, Hometown Heroes, Wet and Wild Waterways, Parks and Recreation and the oldest, Cemeteries, geotrails.

Treasure Lake resident Judy Smith, new to the geocaching world, made her Little Free Library on Caribbean Road also a geocaching location to draw more people in, she said. It became a hobby she enjoys, involving her grandchildren, too.

{span style=”font-size: 12px;”}{span style=”font-size: 16px;”}Once the cacher locates the treasure, they open the container and sign and date the paper log, always bringing a pen or pencil, and mark that they found the cache on the app. They can also bring what cachers call “swag,” said Smith. The rule is if they take something, they leave something, too, such as a sticker, plastic trinket or one of Smith’s favorites – gemstones.{/span}{/span}

Using the maps on the geocaching app, the cacher can see where the locations are in the area. For the “15801” zip code in DuBois, there are 497 geocaches. For example, the map shows there is one near the front gate in Treasure Lake, The Depot at Doolittle’s, Sandy Lick Creek and one of the DuBois fire departments.

There are several kinds of caches, according to the website, including traditionals, mystery, letter boxes and “bonus” caches, even underwater ones, rated by difficulty level. Smith’s is a birdhouse located in front of her home, with the clue, “Sit down and talk with Mrs. Robin.”

Charlie Coleman of DuBois, aka “Papa Bear,” began geocaching in 2016, finding his first geocache with his brother-in-law.

“What really peaked my interest in geocaching is the adventure and the places it takes you, places that you never even realized are in an area,” he said. “When I first started I ran into a couple other cachers and they were super helpful with any questions I had, so in return, I love to help others out exploring this great hobby.”

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Some of the places geocaching has taken him include vistas and waterfalls throughout the state, said Coleman, as well as abandoned train tunnels, decommissioned nuclear bunkers and caves.

Coleman has found about 1,150 geocaches and has hidden 64 of them.

“I am not one who always goes for the highest amount of finds –I enjoy the journey that is associated with the finds,” he noted.

Some favorite items he has collected and traded while geocaching have included handmade marbles, pins path tags and travel bugs.

Coleman geocaches both by himself and with friends and family at times, as well as fellow cachers, who can help if the geocache is harder to find.

“Geocaching is a fun way to hang out with family or friends who enjoy it –we enjoy the hunt and reward at the end,” he said.

Smith noted there are several geocaching resources, including tons of videos on YouTube.

Visit www.geocaching.com to learn more.

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