I see there is a new adventure sport emerging. It is called Geocaching. Geocaching is a real world game that consists of people hiding caches, then others go to find it. Hide and seek for adults basically. There are some sites that offer prizes for finding caches. One asks that you trade a found cache for another one. It is becoming quite a trend.
Now forgive me for being naive - but if you are going to burn gas and energy looking for treasure - why wouldn't it be REAL treasures that you search out? There is so much actual bonified treasure out there to be found - old coins, pioneer artifacts, Indian artifacts, actual lost mines and long buried treasures from yesteryear, and this is not to even mention gem minerals. The attraction of hunting for planted "caches" just escapes me somehow.
Rockhound State Park about nine miles southeast of
Deming, New Mexico. Photo courtesy Texas Campgrounds
There are ghost towns all over, and in those ghost towns are many lost items just waiting for the fortunate hunter to dig up and bring back to the world. Of course, this is just whole towns. Anyone hiking in areas previously trod by early gold rush era prospectors or pioneers is bound to stumble across lost homesteads at some time or other. Where ever parties of pioneers, wagon trains, or stagecoaches came through, there rests the possibility of real treasures. Pioneers were known to often bury treasures when they were being pursued by those who might steal it, or when the load became too cumbersome to be able to travel with it. I'm sure these people meant to recover these treasures at a later date, but for reasons ranging from untimely death to just lost directions, many of these caches remain buried and waiting for recovery to this day.
What about lost mines? No one yet has found the Lost Dutchman mine, now you want a real thrill, be the first to dig that one up. That is only one mine lost in the archives of history waiting to be retrieved. The Lost Cement Gold Mine still remains lost near the head of the middle fork of the San Joaquin river and the Lost Soldier Mine somewhere in Arizona near the Gila River bend has thus far managed to elude hunters. This is only a couple of mentions out of scores, possibly hundreds, of lost mines just waiting for rediscovery. Pirates and Bandits were well known to bury treasures as well. No report has been made of the Lake George or South Mountain treasures in Colorado having been found yet. Florida itself is not much more than a grand treasure cache, with hundreds of caches having been dug up that were left by pirates, explorers, and people fleeing battles, and who knows how many left to discover - and that is on land. For the adventuresome scuba diver, the gulf is an explorers paradise, hiding wrecks of ships toren on reefs, lost in storms, or sunk in battles.
The South Western portion of the US abounds with treasure stories of lost Indian treasures, caches stolen by invading Spaniards and buried to be lost later, and stagecoach and train robberies that resulted in burial of treasures. While some of these stories can be chocked up to legend, historical evidence exists to support many.
So maybe the fact with the Geocache game is the competition and involvement with others. Real treasure hunting does not necessarily negate these factors. Many a treasure hunt that I have seen revolves around shared research and information, as well as teams of hunters who report back to each other about progresses and failures. Some are undertaken with the spirit of sharing a cache, while others involve shared information but the actual discovery is pretty much a finders-keepers, winner-take-all proposition.
So simply speaking - while Geocaching sounds like an entertaining way to spend a weekend - for me "ain't nothing like the real thing, baby."
©2005 Sally Taylor