Geocaching drew me outside

Submitted by Toni Brown

Okay, I'll have to admit I was never much of an outdoor person. Then I was introduced to geocaching through a Texas Parks and Wildlife program at our Human Resources retreat back in 2010 and I've been hooked ever since. 

Geocaching is a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS. Before, walking just seemed boring with no goal (except for the obvious needed exercise). Now I walk with a purpose -- to find a geocache. Every state park has geocaches and I have now visited many of them. Thirty-plus years in Texas and I never climbed Enchanted Rock until I found out there was a geocache up there.

I can honestly say that geocaching has changed my life.  As a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, I have spent many years rather secluded, wondering how to find my niche in the outside world.  Geocaching has opened up my doors and led me to places I never would have ventured to before.  It is an activity that I can do alone when I choose but it has also introduced me to a whole group of people who are interested in the same thing. I no longer worry about fitting in because I can attend geocaching events and we all have a commonality: the love of geocaching!  And no matter how many I find, there’s always another one around the next bend.

This picture is of my 1000th find in 2011 during a day of geocaching a series dedicated to the men and women who lost their lives in the war in Afghanistan. As an employee of Texas Parks and Wildlife, that inspired me to hide a series of caches dedicated to our game wardens who have lost their lives in the line of duty, as well as a series featuring Wildlife A-Z: 26 geocaches featuring some of our most endangered species here in Texas.

Now in 2013, I am close to finding my 7000th geocache. Life really is better outside!

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