Geocacher hunts treasure

Published 12:00am Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Natchez — An old coin, small dinosaur and folded up card. While most would considered these things junk, to Tim Eubanks they are pieces of buried treasure. Eubanks is a geocacher, someone who uses a GPS device to find locations where others have hidden small trinkets.

“I loved scavenger hunts as a kid,” Eubanks said. “It’s only natural that I’d enjoy geocaching.”

Eubanks has hunted for caches all over the state of Mississippi.

“A friend of mine got me started in geocaching,” he said. “I asked one day why he had a small box of junk and he told me they’d been left by other geocachers for people to find. I asked him when he was going out next and have been hooked ever since.”

Web sites dedicated to the hobby list coordinates for caches all over the world. The caches are usually some kind of watertight container that contains a prize. Some contain only small trinkets like the ones Eubanks has found. Others just contain notes from other geocachers.

“I think the appeal of geocaching is that you’re like a modern day treasure hunter, except instead of a map you have a GPS unit and coordinates,” Eubanks said.

Even though they use GPS devices, the geocachers will sometimes not find the cache.

“Some of the people who place their own geocaches go to great length to make it difficult to find,” Eubanks said. “There are a few south of Woodville that I’ve not been able to find yet, even though I have the coordinates.”

Not always buried, caches can be placed in hollow tree trunks or under rocks.

“I remember looking for a cache in Louisiana for almost a whole day earlier this year,” he said. “After hours of searching I turned over ordinary looking rock and found it was hollowed out and the cache container was glued to the underside.”