Treasure Hunt With A High-Tech Twist


Treasure hunts aren't about finding chests of gold anymore. In a new kind of modern treasure hunt, the treasure could be anything, hidden just about anywhere — in the woods, by a mountain trail, in a city park.

CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes reports that this kind of hunt has a high-tech twist that's enough fun to lure kids outdoors and away from their video games.

Monica Dettloff doesn't have any problem getting her kids excited about going for a hike. That's because this hike is more than just a stroll in the woods: It's a treasure hunt — and to find the treasure, they get to use a GPS device. That's way cooler than a GameBoy.

These handheld devices, at one time used only by the military, have inspired a treasure-hunting craze that's sweeping the globe.

What the treasure-hunters find is called a "cache." It's the hidden treasure in the new sport of geo-caching.

The hunt begins at home, where geo-cachers find their first clues on the club's Web site. Next, they pug the satellite coordinates of the treasure into the GPS — and then hit the trail.

Anyone can do the hiding, and the caches can be hidden anywhere. So far, there are more than a quarter of a million hiding places in more than 200 countries.

What's inside is never very valuable. Winning is more about stamping the log sheet to prove you've conquered the challenge and found the cache … which must always be replaced for the next geo-cachers.

"You take something, you put something else back in," says 7-year-old Ryan, Monica's son.

Monica's 18-month-old daughter, Kyla, is one of the youngest treasure hunters. Shirley O'Connell, age 84, is one of the oldest. As long as the weather is good, Shirley and Jack are on the prowl, patting down gates, beating the bushes and heading wherever their GPS leads them.

After finding a cache in some ivy, Jack and Shirley are at 1,500 finds … and counting.

"We hope to live long enough to get to 2,000," says Jack.

"I like the challenge of hunting for things," adds Shirley. "It keeps you young."

For those who are young, there are different pleasures. Says Ryan, "You get to find treasures and you get to see snakes and all kinds of animals."

Now that's an activity with something for everyone.