Off the Shelf: Geo-what?!?

The North Olympic Library System has three geocaching kits that are now available for checkout.

The North Olympic Library System has three geocaching kits that are now available for checkout.

By Mary Coté


Hunt for treasure with a little help from modern technology!

The North Olympic Library System has three geocaching kits that are now available for checkout.

The name comes from geo for Earth and cache, both for hidden supplies and, nowadays, computer data. Using the global positioning system (GPS) and your wits, geocaching brings together a love of the hunt, our amazing outdoors and gadgetry.

Geocaches may be found everywhere and the basics of the game are simple.

First, participants select a cache from After a cache is selected, the coordinates to the location are downloaded onto a GPS device. It is then up to the players to use their navigational and detective skills to seek out the hidden container.

Caches may contain simply a logbook for those who’ve found it or perhaps a small treasure to share.

Geocachers traditionally leave an item in exchange for any they might take; these are known as SWAG, an acronym for “stuff we all get.”

Each kit, housed in a backpack donated by Swain’s General Store, comes with all the tools you’ll need for successful geocaching: a Garmin eTrex10 GPS device, a user guide and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Geocaching.” Patrons may borrow each kit for up to three weeks.

To reserve a kit, call or visit any NOLS library or visit the online catalog at

Be forewarned: Geocaching can be habit-forming and community-building. One library patron’s family has geocached in 38 states.

Another adventurer — a library staff member who likes to bring her daughter and dogs along — met her co-worker’s mother, who maintains many geocaches.

Geocaching also has found its way into fiction for young mystery readers: two of the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner, “The Great Detective Race” and “The Box That Watch Found.” Kathy Reichs’ “Code: a Virals Novel” also features the hobby.

Make sure to check out other unusual items at your library: the Explore Olympic! Pack, Birding Kits, maps of Olympic National Park, Storytime To Go Kits, and pool passes for Sequim, Port Angeles and Forks.

You can find all these resources and more at

To reach the Sequim Library, call 683-1161 or stop in for a visit at 630 N. Sequim Ave.

Mary Coté is a customer service specialist at the Sequim and Port Angeles branch libraries.


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