If you enjoyed playing the game ''hide-and-seek'' as a child, there is good news - it's called geocaching.
Geocaching is a modern-day high-tech version of the game ''hide-and-seek'' geared toward older adults. The idea is simple and quite clever - enter coordinates into a hand-held GPS unit and search for a hidden treasure, or ''cache.''
In order to play, users need a GPS unit and Internet access to acquire the coordinates.
Recent retirees Jeanne and George Powell, of DuBoistown, enjoy spending their spare time geocaching — a high-tech game of hide-andseek, in which a person or couple searches for a hidden object using coordinates on a hand-held GPS unit.
The containers or caches usually contain a small trinket for the person who successfully finds and unearths the hidden treasure. The caches vary in shapes and sizes. Most are waterproof and include a pen and paper in order to log comments, sign your name and record that you indeed found the stash.
Typical treasures found within a cache include commemorative coins, figurines, trinkets, keys, magnets and marbles. The idea is to find the treasure and replace it with one of equal value.
In addition, geocaching presents many opportunities to meet new people and exchange stories of their adventures with others.
George and Jeanne Powell of DuBoistown have been geocaching for more than three years and have found nearly 1,000 caches.
''After I found my first cache, I was hooked,'' Jeanne said. ''It's so much fun.''
Jeanne said a person doesn't necessarily have to be in tip-top great shape to enjoy this sport and that many caches are hidden in easily accessible places.
''It's a game that all age groups can enjoy,'' Jeanne said. ''Searching for the caches is great exercise too.''
According to Jeanne, there are about 100 hidden caches within a short driving distance, called ''park-n-grabs.''
''Everyday people walk right by them and don't even notice,'' Jeanne said. ''The caches are typically camouflaged and blend into their surroundings.''
The Powells said there is even a geocache hidden inside The James V. Brown Library.
''Everyone that works at the library knows it's there,'' Jeanne said. ''The employees have a great time watching people come in and look around.''
According to Jeanne, ''First To Find'' (FTF) caches are extremely popular within the geocaching community and typically contain an extra prize. This particular cache is just what the name suggests - people attempt to be the first to find it.
Theme caches also are popular hunts sought out by geocachers. For example, a Christmas theme cache may contain a figurine of Santa.
The Powells added that it is just as much fun to hide the caches as it is to search for them. Traditional hiding places include businesses, parks and cemeteries. Caches are not allowed to be hidden in playgrounds or schools.
In order to hide a cache, a person is required to get permission first and live within a short distance from the hiding location in order to maintain the cache in case it is stolen or damaged.
''It's frustrating to get a ''Did Not Find'' due to someone destroying or stealing the cache,'' Jeanne said. ''It's very important to be stealthy and to not be seen while playing the game.''
According to Jeanne's husband, George, some caches are very tiny and hidden better than others, so repeat attempts may be necessary. He added that geocachers tend to be very clever.
''Many are placed in trees, hidden under rocks or even disguised as other objects,'' he said.
Although most of their finds are in Pennsylvania, the Powells have uncovered caches all along the East Coast.
According to George, geocaching is a great way to explore our surroundings, because many caches are hidden in historical locations.
George said geocaching is a great way to spend time with the grandkids, too.
Unfortunately, people who do not geocache - or ''geomuggles'' as they are often referred to as by the geocaching community - sometimes stumble upon the caches.
Besides being passionate about the game, most geocachers are equally passionate about the health and well-being of the environment.
Most geocachers practice a Cache In Trash Out (CITO) approach to their treasure hunts. CITO is an environmental initiative supported by the geocaching community that encourages explorers to pick up any trash that they may stumble upon during their hunt. The Powells added that geocaching is a fun and exciting way to make the outdoors a more enjoyable place.
Individuals or groups, who are interested in geocaching, may log on to www.geocaching.com and type in a zip code to search for the caches in their particular area. The site displays the coordinates along with clues, as to the size of the cache and degree of difficulty.
According to the geocaching Website, there're more than 820,000 geocaches hidden on every continent, including Antarctica. The site is simple to use and offers a free membership.