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Geocaching is a treasure hunt using a handheld GPS or a GPS enabled device. Users search the website for local geocaches that others have hidden and then load the locations into their devices. They follow the coordinates to get as close to the location as possible, and then the treasure hunting begins. Once it is found, visitors log their name and go on to the next one.
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The Veterans Memorial in Bossier Parish is one popular geocaching site in the area.
Looking for fun for the entire family? Look no further than geocaching. According to geocaching.com, there are more than 2 million geocaches worldwide and more than 6 million people who pursue the hobby. Shreveport and the surrounding area has its share of geocaches.
Geocaching is a treasure hunt using a handheld GPS or a GPS enabled device. An app can even be downloaded for smartphones. Users search the website for local geocaches that others have hidden and then load the locations into their devices. They follow the coordinates to get as close to the location as possible, and then the treasure hunting begins. Once it is found, visitors log their name and go on to the next one.
A lot of the geocaches are placed at local historic sites or other interesting places, ranging from the grave site of Johnny Horton to the Veterans Memorial in Bossier Parish. There's a geocache marking the site of Ft. Jenkins, a Confederate fort, at the present day location of Schumpert hospital.
Titus Haynes has been caching for over seven years and has found more than 10,000 caches. He was first exposed to it via a course he took at Bossier Parish Community College and enjoys the historical aspects of caching. He and his wife have both been hooked.
"It took us to a lot of places that we never knew existed. That was probably one of the more interesting things to getting involved and going and finding every state park and historic site in Louisiana and Arkansas."
Although some geocachers engage in friendly rivalries to see who can find more caches, there is no set time frame or amount of caches to find. But there are challenges that can be accomplished.
"I think it's something good," Haynes said. "You can do as much of it or as little as you want."
Annette Shows loves traveling and solving puzzles and often caches with both of her sons, who are 10 and 14 years old and occasionally her husband accompanies them.
"I have been all over the state of Louisiana. It's taken me to a lot of places that have interesting history and beautiful scenery. Some of my favorite caches are virtual caches or earth caches. I've been fortunate to cache in several of the Southern states, but I've also found some in Hawaii. Those have been beautiful."
An earth cache is a geocache located at a geological formation to teach the visitor about the site. However, perhaps one of the best aspects of geocaching is the people that are involved. Without others to place the caches, there would be nothing to find. Lasting friendships are often formed among cachers.
"I get to go to different geocaching events and some of the people that are there, I've known them for years and some of them are brand new," Shows said. "It's fun for me to meet the new people because they are excited and have lots of questions. It's fun to see their enthusiasm."
Geocaching appeals to those who like to travel and are interested in the historical aspect of it, not to mention those who enjoy treasure hunting, but beware, it can be addicting.
By Matthew Pizzolato