Before Hurricane Harvey swept through the Coastal Bend, Port Aransas had about 100 geocaches hidden around town. Now, there are only about 30 left because the storm damaged and washed many away.
Fortunately for geocachers, Kieth Petrus, a Port Aransas man, is hoping to restore some of the lost geocaches.
But first, what is geocaching? Think of it as the world’s largest treasure hunt. There are millions of geocaches hidden around the world, and there are probably some not too far from you.
Adventure-seekers, like Petrus, are looking high and low for this one-of-a-kind treasure.
“If you’re an obsessive-compulsive person who likes to rack up numbers doing something that’s a hobby, this is a great hobby,” said Petrus, who is also the publisher of the one and only geocaching magazine, called FTF Geocacher Magazine.
After creating a free geocaching account, participants find hidden containers using their smart phones or GPS coordinates. Geocaches come in different shapes and sizes, and some are a lot harder to find than others. But when you do find one, it’s like finding hidden treasure. Sign the log book. You can even leave a knick-knack behind or trade items.
“Each one I find, I’m thrilled because it’s not something easy,” said Deborah Sweatman, a geocacher. “So every time I find one I feel like I really accomplished something special.”
Sweatman has also been maintaining a geocache outside of her Port Aransas office for nearly two years. She says people young and old will go looking for the treasure, and it’s even brought more people to her business.
Each find is a different experience taking adventurers to unique parts of town, or places they’ve never been.
“There are all these amazing places that this hobby takes you to,” Petrus said. “When you catch the bug, it’s very difficult to stop doing it.”
To date, Petrus has found more than 2,200 geocaches and has hidden 75 others. He hopes to continue hiding geocaches in Port Aransas as the town is being rebuilt after Hurricane Harvey.
Click here for more information about FTF Geocacher Magazine.
Click here for more information about geocaching.