September 27, 2020

IMG_8590BY TASHA LUNNY

You never would imagine that there is a global community of treasure hunting happening all around you.

From the park down the street, to far away places across the globe, there are over two million treasures waiting to be found and all you need is a GPS, a sense of adventure and maybe some hip waders.

Geocaching is an activity that seems almost too strange to believe, and even with over six million geocachers around the globe, it is an activity that also manages to stay under the radar.

It all began in 2000 when one man wanted to test new GPS technology by hosting a “Great American GPS Stash Hunt.”

The rules were simple, hide a container in the woods and post the GPS coordinates online.

It was such a hit it grew to become what we know today as geocaching.

Kevin Guppy, or better known by his caching nickname “Kguppy,” might seem like an average auto worker to anyone who doesn’t know him but his spare time is often spent trudging through forests, trees and neighbourhoods hunting for treasure.

“I have been doing this for five years now and I am still loving it,” Guppy said in an email interview.

“Just this morning my phone went off to tell me a brand new cache got published 1.4 kilometres from my house.

I wasn’t even out of my pyjamas yet, but I threw on shoes and flew out the door.”

Since being introduced to the activity in 2009 he has tracked down over 5,000 caches and not just in his area code.

“Geocaching when travelling is always fun,” Guppy said.

“It’s nice to be able to find caches in different areas and cities that you don’t usually go to …. I’ve travelled down the 401 to Belleville from Kitchener and stopped along the way just to grab a few.”

He has also travelled to Windsor and even logged over 100 caches during a day trip to Parry Sound, but the most impressive adventure he has ever engaged in was a trip to Las Vegas where over 2,400 caches lay hidden along the Extraterrestrial Highway in the hot, Nevada desert.

“I’m always asking my wife if she minds me going out to do more but I had to ask really nice to do the trip to Las Vegas,” Guppy said.

It took four days and a lot of water but Guppy and his teammates found over 2,485 caches along the ET Highway.

Throughout all his travels, Guppy has seen his fair share of creative caches.

He has seen everything from an ammunition can that came with a keychain of 150 keys and the cacher had to find the correct key to unlock it, to canisters that need a certain measurement of water to allow the cache to float to the top.

“I think what interests me most about geocaching is all the different places and containers that people come up with to hide caches,” Guppy said.

The most deceiving cache he has ever found was on a road trip in the United States.

He had been searching the entire area where the cache was supposed to be but was coming up empty-handed.

He and his friend had noticed a beehive wedged between the sides of a walking bridge but avoided it out of fear of getting stung.

After closer inspection he realized the beehive was exactly what they were looking for — treasure.

“Someone had taken the time to hollow out the back of it and put a small container with a magnet on it, it was just awesome,” Guppy said.

Aside from being an active cacher, Guppy has created over 70 of his own geocaches, all easy enough to intrigue and inspire beginners to get a taste of the “cache life.”

The equipment needed differs depending on how difficult the cache is.

Guppy explained some small tools include “tweezers for getting log sheets out of smaller containers, magnets and flashlights.”

Advanced cachers, like Guppy, need some heavier equipment such as hip waders, a kayak, a telescopic ladder and reaching tools.

“I also know people who have used a metal detector and mountain climbing gear.”

As long as you have a GPS for finding, a pen for logging and a sense of adventure, you too can be a part of this global game.

For more information, answers to commonly asked questions and cache locations, go to www.geocaching.com.

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