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Geocaching is free fun for the whole family

Would you like to go on a real life treasure hunt? Yes! Are you looking for some family fun that happens to be FREE?

Um, yes!

Just as pirates hid treasure and marked the spot so they could find it again later, geocaching takes the idea into the 21st century using advanced GPS technology to guide players to hidden treasure.

Geocaching is a hide and seek, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS (Global Positioning System) enabled devices.

Players navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then endeavor to find the geocache (concealed container known as caches) hidden at that location.

There are 2,670,796 active geocaches and over 6 million geocachers worldwide. The game is played in 33 countries, including Antarctica and wouldn’t you know it? There are loads of geocashes hidden right here in Pahrump.

To get started Geocaching, go to the official Geocaching website (www.geocaching.com) and create a profile. The site is very user-friendly and has the information you need to be a successful treasure hunter.

A basic membership is free with more than 40 caches in Pahrump that are free to access. If you find you enjoy the thrill of the hunt you may wish to upgrade to a premium membership at $9 for three months or $30 for a year to access more than 600 geocaches in Pahrump and the surrounding desert.

Once you're logged in, enter your location and the site gives you a list of caches near you. Choose a cache and get the GPS coordinates and information including the difficulty of the search, terrain ratings, helpful hints and the size of the cache. There is an app you can download or you can load the GPS coordinates into your GPS device or phone to assist as you go out and search for the cache.

Once you find it, open it, sign the logbook and see what'€™s inside. Some caches contain little trinkets. The rule is: if you take something you must leave something of equal or greater value, so bring some knickknacks to trade. Then you put the cache back exactly as you found it. After that, you go back to the geocache website and log your experience.

Caches come in different sizes - from micro, about the size of a film canister containing only a logbook, to large, which are typically an ammo box and may have all kinds of fun stuff inside.

Remember as you plan your adventure that you may be heading out into the desert. Dress appropriately, bring water and extra batteries for your device.

When you get close to your destination be sure to reset “home” on your device to the location of your car. One hill looks much like the next when you’re trying to remember where you parked.

Nothing ruins a family outing like having to reenact the Donner Party.

So, does geocaching sound like fun? Then grab the kiddies and go make some memories. Talking like a pirate is optional but highly recommended.

Frugal Family Fun contributed by Patti Diamond from Divas On A Dime, Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous! www.divasonadime.com. Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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