Home Campus Hidden treasure at BYU-I: One year later

Hidden treasure at BYU-I: One year later

About one year ago, I was traversing the BYU-Idaho campus, searching for someplace to stash the small blue box in my pocket. I needed somewhere outside, but where the weather wouldn’t ruin it, somewhere accessible, but only if you knew where to look.

Eventually, I found it, squeezing the plastic container full of goodies into its new hiding spot.

I had just placed my very first geocache, and it’s still there today.

A geocache is a hidden container with its coordinates logged on geocaching.com for users to track down. There is often a logbook to sign your name in and small treasures you can take if you leave something in return.

There are geocaches all around the world, including 150 within a 10-mile radius of Rexburg, so the opportunities to practice compass-following and treasure-finding skills are everywhere. Last spring, I hid the #ScrollTreasure geocache on campus for an article about geocaching.

One year later, I have an inbox full of almost 100 notifications from people who logged their find of the tiny, blue box. Join me as I follow the timeline of the first year of life for a geocache hiding treasure right under the noses of mostly unknowing BYU-I students.

From professors to families to travelers just passing through town, a treasure hunter can be anyone. Anyone can create a free account to find nearby geocaches and logging your find on the website is an optional way to track your experiences.

May 2021
Find logged May 30 by user fish fry: Found while on our way home from Yellowstone. Thank you for the adventure.

The #ScrollTreasure cache was published on May 22, and Jeff Croney, an Idaho Falls resident on his way to Yellowstone National Park, was one of the first people to find the cache.

Croney fell into a love of geocaches after being asked to teach a Boy Scouts class on the subject in 2007 with no idea what it was. Since then, he has found caches from Montana to Utah and as far away as Washington DC.

“The people that hide caches will take you to some of the more unique places that you never knew about,” Croney said. “You will learn things about the place you have lived and never noticed. See things that you have driven past. Stop and smell the roses that you forgot about. The journey to some of these places is far better than the adventure of finding the cache.”

June 2021
Find logged June 5 by user Branko7: My office is on this building, but I wasn’t fast enough with Smile92183 to get anything close to a F2F. Nice spot—muggles on school days will be a major concern. Stealth! TFTC!

Brian Felt, username Branko7, is a Rexburg resident and Russian professor for BYU-I.

“Finding the cache was a lot of fun,” Felt said. “My office is in the Hinckley building, and it was neat to have a cache so close by. I found it with my son who is my geocaching buddy. It took us a minute of searching to find it, so it was a good hide. Caches that you find immediately sometimes aren’t as much fun. The fun is in the search!”

Felt has been geocaching for 10 years as is evident by his proficiency with geocache terms such as TFTC — Thanks For The Cache — and F2F — First to Find.

“There are two things I really enjoy about caching,” Felt said. “First, it’s something I can do with my family. Second, it gets us outside and takes us to places we would never have thought of visiting. The best caches are ones that take you to off-the-beaten-path kinds of places.”

July 2021
Find logged July 16 by user JoleneWells: Here for school and thought we’d check out geocaches on campus! Super cute logbook!

Jolene Wells and her boyfriend — now husband — pose for a selfie to post with their log after finding the #ScrollTreasure geocache. Image credit: Jolene Wells.
Jolene Wells and her boyfriend — now husband — pose for a selfie to post with their log after finding the #ScrollTreasure geocache. Image credit: Jolene Wells.

Jolene Wells is a sophomore at BYU-Idaho studying fisheries, range and wildlife management. Like many geocachers, her first time participating in the activity was by accident.

“I started my geocaching career by accidentally finding a random plastic box in the middle of nowhere on a hike with my husband (then boyfriend),” Wells said. “I was so, so, so excited that I found it. Since then, I’ve loved looking for and finding geocaching. I loved the feeling of success I’d get when I found one.”

November 2021
Find logged Nov. 4 by user beldredge: Quick find while visiting the campus today from Atlanta, Georgia. Nice hide. Paused for a selfie afterwards. TFTC

Brad Eldredge takes a selfie in front of the general area where the #ScrollTreasure cache is hidden.
Image credit: Brad Eldredge
Brad Eldredge takes a selfie in front of the general area where the #ScrollTreasure cache is hidden.
Image credit: Brad Eldredge

While touring a few colleges in Idaho and Utah with his daughter and wife, Brad Eldredge stopped to find the #ScrollTreasure cache.

“I dropped by just as classes let out, and there were lots of students coming and going,” Eldredge said. “While searching for geocaches, I’ve learned to be casual about the hunt to avoid drawing attention. Geocachers borrow the term ‘muggles’ to describe those who aren’t in the know. I casually sat on the rocks, pretended to take a phone call and quickly spied the container. I retrieved ‘Scroll Treasure’ from its hidey-hole, autographed the logbook for future posterity and replaced the container as found.”

Eldredge has been finding caches since 2008. Over the last 14 years, he has found thousands of geocaches in 36 states and three countries. More than anything, he appreciates “hiders” who find fun and creative locations to make the activity possible.

“Gotta run,” Eldredge said. “I’m off to my next geocaching adventure.”

January 2022
Find logged Jan. 24 by user Sumnerb: Doing this right after a bunch of snow wasn’t my brightest idea. Fun cache though, thank you.

“I remember that geocache very well, definitely one of my favorites that I’ve found on campus,” user Sumnerb said, who asked to be referred to by his first name, Roger. “I remember we had around six inches of snow at the time, so that definitely added a challenge in finding it; I had to shuffle around in the snow for a while looking in each crevasse of the rocks. Finding it was very gratifying.”

In the five years since starting geocaching, Roger has found 27 geocaches and a lot of good memories.

“I think what I like most about geocaching is how it makes you feel like you’re part of something,” Roger said. “That sounds silly but when you’re out walking around in some park trying to find a hidden container and you have to make sure nobody sees you, it really makes it a lot more fun than if everyone knew about it.”

March 2022
Find logged March 27 by user mutualdestruction: Very fun. Got some weird looks

Dixon's friend Owen holds the #ScrollTreasure cache they found. Image credit: Korenna Dixon.
Korenna Dixon's friend Owen holds the #ScrollTreasure cache they found.
Image credit: Korenna Dixon.

Korenna Dixon, a junior studying English, was on a Sunday afternoon walk with a friend when he suggested geocaching. She was immediately on board.

“I really enjoy the treasure hunting experience,” Dixon said. “I’ve always idealized movies like Indiana Jones and National Treasure, so to be able to find hidden treasures around campus in my everyday life is super exciting.”

Although they worried about searching in the wrong spot or looking strange in front of the group of students who just got out of church, Dixon and her friend persevered and were rewarded with the small box full of trinkets.

“It’s a really great activity to get to know people because everyone comes to the challenge with different experiences and insights,” Dixon said. “You would be surprised how many times I have completely missed clues or hints, that my 10-year-old sister caught onto immediately. I would highly recommend geocaching to anyone who enjoys adventures, treasure hunts or escape rooms.”

May 2022

Almost one year later, I decided to see for myself how much the little geocache I hid so long ago has changed. For a dollar tree box filled with trinkets and a hand-sewn logbook I made with cut-up postcards and thread, it has lasted remarkably well.

The original trinkets have long since been replaced by treasures such as half-filled punch cards, a black Minecraft cat toy and stickers, but the logbook remains; filled with scrawled signatures and increasingly older dates, it stands as a testament to the geocaching community. A community that lives in plain sight, relying on the curiosity, tenacity and kindness of its members to keep running. It’s a community that welcomes anyone, and if my experience is anything to go by, it will last for a long time.

So, in the end, maybe the real treasure wasn’t everything inside all those hidden containers, but the friends we made along the way.

(And the tiny Minecraft cat. I’m definitely keeping that one.)

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