Geocaching is new hidden treasure hunt, says Nebraska man

Story by Erika Kime, NewsNetNebraska


If you ask Josh Brown, 25, what he likes to do, he’ll say he likes to camp, hang out with friends, and hunt for treasure.

Geocaching, a treasure-hunting phenomenon, began in 2000 with one cache outside of Portland, but the hobby really took off a few years later and now spans all seven continents – yes, even Antarctica.

The top five geocaching countries and the number of caches hidden. Data courtesy of

Geocaches can be any size from about the size of a thumbtack to a 19 liter container. The bigger caches can include small prizes like toys or trackable tokens, but smaller caches simply have a slip of paper inside to sign.

Brown, Lincoln native and a full-time graphic designer, likes to go geocaching with his girlfriend, but will frequently go by himself if he can’t convince her to accompany him, he said.

“We tried to hide one in Missouri when we were at her family reunion, but the mods [administrators that work to monitor geocaches] wouldn’t let us because we live too far away to monitor it,” Brown said. “I’ll plant one eventually. I gotta find the right spot for it first, though.”

Geocachers can use the official app to find and log caches, but some use GPS and skills such as mapping coordinates, cracking hidden codes and solving puzzles. They can be hidden virtually anywhere in the world, usually outside.

“It’s not the prize that you’re really after,” Tyler Troxel, Brown’s friend and occasional geocaching partner, said. “It’s the thrill of the hunt for something hidden.”

Brown said he likes the thrill of finding something hidden that the average person doesn’t know is there. “It’s like finding a secret, but one you get to share with thousands of other people,” he said.

One of the best parts of geocaching is seeing how creative the people hiding the cache can get, Troxel said.

Brown and Troxel described finding a series of caches spread across a span of West O Street that were in the shape of airplanes as well as finding a doll house cache that was deep inside a forest.

Occasionally a cache will be discovered by Muggles, a geocaching word for non-geocachers. The worst part of geocaching is getting excited about a good one and never finding it, Brown said.

“We once looked for a good hour for a cache before giving up,” he said. “I’m pretty sure it was stolen, but there’s still that hint in my mind that I just wasn’t looking in the right spot. And that is just the worst feeling ever.”


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