A friend asked me over the weekend if I had tried geocaching. I haven't, but it sounds like fun. I had read about this a few years ago, but did not realize that it was becoming more and more popular among outdoorsmen.
There's an official international geocaching site (Geocaching,.com), a guideline for the ethics of leaving your environment in better shape than you found it, and a whole calendar of offical sponsored events all over the world.
The treasure chests are now called "caches," or "geogaches," and the idea is to use your GPS-enabled device (including a smart phone), to get to the general area where the cache is hidden. Once you're in the area, you have to use your hunting skills to actually find the box, and apparently that's harder than it sounds. Once you've found the cache, you usually leave a mark of some sort (depending on what type of cache you're looking for), and then put it back as you found it, so other geocachers can share the experience of finding it.
Wikipedia has an impressive list of the different types of caches that have been used, and the approved techniques for finding them.
So often we hear the complaint that people spend too much time inside on their computers, but this is definitely not the case with an avid Geocachers, who use this amazing hobby to get out and see the world, meeting fellow geocachers all over the world.
Can you imagine what Captain Jack Sparrow could have accomplished with one of these devices and a worldwide geocaching organization? I know I sure could have used a system like this in those neighborhood scavenger hunts in high school.
The enthusiasm for this sport has given a boost to several industries. Of course there are apps for Apple and for Droid devices. And then there is shopping for gear (lots of gear!). And then of course there are the rogue geocachers who don't want to pay the associated costs with belonging to the official organization, so they've expanded the cloud to "opencaching" (well, sure). Finally, there are blogs and wikis and forums on which geogachers to share experiences and techniques, and declare themselves to be experts on an industry that didn't exist just a few years ago. Yep, it sounds like my kind of sport....Sign me up! Oh, wait. I don't like bugs. Or bad weather. Nevermind.