Finders keepers: geocaching craze comes to Denton

Finders keepers: geocaching craze comes to Denton

Finders keepers: geocaching craze comes to Denton
February 13
00:37 2014

Nicholas Friedman // Staff Writer

With the UNT campus closed on Tuesday, the Denton geocaching community saw the perfect opportunity to break out their phones and do a little bit of treasure hunting.

They were able to successfully find six locations on the UNT campus over the course of a few hours.

Geocaching is a real-world treasure hunt that’s happening all of the time, all over the world, according to the official website. Members of the Denton geocaching community team up to find hidden containers of various sizes, known as “caches,” that contain a logbook and often times small items the finders take and replace with items of their own.

A world of adventure

Undeclared freshman Taylor Phillips, who signs his logbooks with the pseudonym “Scarecrow,” said he started geocaching five months ago and has successfully found 87 caches in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and parts of Oklahoma.

“Geocaching is always an adventure because you never know exactly what you’ll find inside a cache and what you’ll see along the way,” Phillips said. “It’s also really cool to travel some place interesting and then later being able to look back and say that you’ve been there and left your mark.”

Engineering sophomore Jacob Bowerman said that even though he has just recently started geocaching, he has found some interesting things.

“I went geocaching with my dad up by Lake Texoma and we found a cache that hadn’t been logged anywhere,” Bowerman said. “It was a small tube hanging from a tree and the only name on the logbook was from the creator who had made it in July of 2009.”

In one of the six locations the group visited, Bowerman found a small metal tag known as a Travel Bug that is supposed to be logged onto the official geocaching website so that it can be tracked.

“The Travel Bug we found had come all the way from Wyoming,” Bowerman said. “According to the website, it has traveled over 12,000 miles since it was first put into a cache and here it was right outside of Willis Library.”

Scavenger hunting with technology

Assistant professor of linguistics and technical communications Jordan Frith said what interested him about geocaching was how people could use mobile media as a way to experience places differently.

Frith wrote a dissertation on location-based services, which contained a section about geocaching and the effect mobile media has had on everyday life.

“Critics have often claimed that other mobile media like the book, iPod or mobile phone distract people from experiences of place,” Frith said. “Geocaching instead uses mobile media to get people to explore physical space, which is super interesting to me.”

Employing mobile media, Phillips said that he uses his iPhone when geocaching as opposed to a traditional handheld GPS system.

“There is an app from the geocaching website that allows you to access their maps of cache locations to use as a GPS device,” Phillips said. “It’d be nice to have a handheld GPS system just in case you lose Internet connectivity for the app, but in urban settings this poses no problem.”

Bowerman said that he likes the app because it is able to tell the geocacher how far away from the cache they are.

“The app will show you where you are in terms of distance,” Bowerman said. “Once you make it to the cache you can log it in the app and make a comment about your experience and what you found.”

A new way to see the outside

RTVF freshman Ryan Roiz said geocaching challenges him to look at things differently after finding a cache that was well-hidden on the UNT campus.

“We found a cache that was on the back of a magnet on an electrical box,” Roiz said. “It looked like something the electric company would put on the box, but when you flipped it over there was a logbook.”

Phillips said he enjoys the scavenger hunting aspect of geocaching because it allows him to travel outdoors and spend time in nature, which in turn helps him stay active.

“Sometimes I geocache with my younger brother, friends or whoever just so happens to be with me at the time,” Phillips said. “It’s always fun to travel with friends because geocaching is something unique that you can all do together.”

Frith said he thinks people enjoy the sense of exploration and competition that geocaching offers.

“Geocaching is a way to go outside, get some exercise and do something more exciting,” Frith said. “It adds levels of competition to our typical exploration and it can encourage people to work together to go to places they likely did not know existed.”

Feature photo: Radio, television and film freshman Ryan Roiz shows off the photo found in the cache near Willis LIbrary on Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Zixian Chen / Senior Staff Photographer 

About Author

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is the Editor In Chief of the North Texas Daily. In addition, he’s had his work published at The Dallas Morning News, GuideLive and the Denton Record-Chronicle.

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