GOSHEN - Equipped with a GPS system, a pen and some good hiking shoes, geocachers roam the outdoors in search of their treasure - a camouflaged, waterproof container holding a log book.
They use coordinates to get within 17 feet of their targets and must use their eyes to find the objects, which can be as small as the tip of a finger or as large as a 5-gallon bucket.
"Our motto is 'I use multi-million dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods,'" said Joan Troyer, a geocacher from Goshen.
Geocaching is like an Easter-egg hunt for adults; the fun of the game is in the hunt and pride of finding a difficult cache.
The process is simple: the cache's owner hides it on public property and enters the coordinates into a geocaching website such as geocaching.com.
Cache hunters get the coordinants and use a GPS unit or a GPS app for smartphones to find the caches. The hunters then write their name in the log book and record the find at the website.
Some caches are part of quests such as the Indiana Spirit Quest, which has caches hidden throughout the state - including Elkhart County - at gravesites of historical interest.
"I've seen gravesites of Revolutionary soldiers and cemetaries so out of the way you never knew they were there," said Troyer. "The Spirit Quests are some of the coolest geocaches because you can see a little bit of history."
To keep geocaching interesting, some people hide complicated puzzle caches that include locating multiple caches or decoding coordinates. Others set up their own quests.
"I know a retired couple from Oregon who have found geocaches in all 49 states in the continental U.S.," said Troyer.
After 11 years, geocaching has developed rules and etiquette outlined on websites to make sure participants respect others and don't get in trouble, since wandering around looking for a small object can seem like suspicious behavior.
"The great thing is that the game can be anything from finding caches to really getting into it and getting special GPS units and hiding your own stuff," said Troyer. "You can be really invested and spend a lot of money or not."