Make us your home page

Geocaching store marks first anniversary in Spring Hill

SPRING HILL — Geocaching. It's like hide-and-seek, digitalized. Like orienteering, but with a prize at the end. And a store bearing the name — the only outlet of its kind in the Tampa Bay area — is celebrating one year in Hernando County in July.

The pursuit — that's what it's all about — offers "a sense of adventure, getting with nature, going to new places you never knew were there," said Geocaching Store owner Elaine Erickson, a devotee of the hobby sport since 2008.

Her pursuit of caches hidden in the woods, in parks, at roadside rests, near beaches and elsewhere has taken her to 23 states and as far as New Mexico. The 55-year-old Spring Hill resident, bringing up her geocaching app on the Internet, reads, "I've got 1,634 finds."

One creates a free account at to get started, Erickson explained, the app downloaded to a smartphone or other handheld device.

"The app brings up a map and shows you all the places there are caches to find," she said. "It's kind of like orienteering, but instead of flags you're finding containers."

Geocachers hide waterproof containers, from pill vials to ammo boxes, containing little trinkets or toys or coins, and register the cache location on the app. Following map coordinates, searchers seek out the sites. Each container, in addition to the loot, holds a log for the finder to sign. The finder may take an item as a memento and leave another trifle in its place.

"Anybody can do a cache," Erickson said, noting "a couple hundred" are listed in Hernando County, probably eight or nine of them at the Chinsegut Conservation Center north of Brooksville.

At the Geocaching Store, Erickson sells various-sized containers; such "treasures" as finder's tokens, path tags, patches and pink plastic flamingos, and hiking gear, including hats, signatory T-shirts and tote bags. Also available are branded tokens often exchanged at geocache rallies, as well as patches and coins to mark a cacher's finds, from 100 to 55,000.

Yes, 55,000, insists Erickson, noting some caches have been in place for years since the hobby was founded in 2000 in Beavercreek, Ore.

"Millions of caches are hidden around the world," according to the hobby's website.

A big part of that world has traipsed to Erickson's storefront at Kass Circle. A cache is stashed there. A world map studded with stickpins marking the origin of visiting searchers at her doorstep notes people from Europe, Canada and the Caribbean.

Erickson's cache is contained in a sturdy box sign on the front sidewalk. Almost as an afterthought, she said, "Some caches, you have to figure out how to get inside it." So it is with her wooden box, the paint bearing fingernail scratches and shoe scuffs. She offers a hint, telling three places the entry is not. She'll tell no more. It's part of the adventure.

"Kids, mom and daughter, senior citizens, retirees — they're the whole gamut," Erickson said of cache followers. "A lot of teachers use it for geography. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts can earn merit badges. It makes a good family activity with kids. Now that school's out, it gets kids out of the house."

Contact Beth Gray at

>>if you go

The Geocaching Store

What: Supplies and gear for geocaching

Where: 7387 Spring Hill Drive, Kass Circle, Spring Hill

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; Saturday and Sunday by appointment

Phone: (352) 606-2982


Special events: Elaine Erickson will host a meet-and-greet for geocachers at 5 p.m. July 9 at Beef 'O' Brady's, 7601 Horse Lake Road, Brooksville. She will host an introduction to geocaching at 10 a.m. Aug. 6 at the Chinsegut Conservation Center, 23212 Lake Lindsey Road, north of Brooksville.

Geocaching store marks first anniversary in Spring Hill 06/22/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 22, 2016 3:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas construction licensing board needs to be fixed. But how?

    Local Government

    LARGO –– Everyone agrees that the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board needs to be reformed. But no one agrees on how to do it.

    Rodney Fischer, former executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board Rodney, at a February meeting. His management of the agency was criticized by an inspector general's report. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. New owners take over downtown St. Petersburg's Hofbräuhaus


    ST. PETERSBURG — The downtown German beer-hall Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg has been bought by a partnership led by former Checkers Drive-In Restaurants president Keith Sirois.

    The Hofbrauhaus, St. Petersburg, located in the former historic Tramor Cafeteria, St. Petersburg, is under new ownership.

  3. Boho Hunter will target fashions in Hyde Park


    Boho Hunter, a boutique based in Miami's Wynwood District, will expand into Tampa with its very first franchise.

    Palma Canaria bags will be among the featured items at Boho Hunter when it opens in October. Photo courtesy of Boho Hunter.
  4. Gallery now bringing useful art to Hyde Park customers


    HYDE PARK — In 1998, Mike and Sue Shapiro opened a gallery in St. Petersburg along Central Ave., with a majority of the space dedicated to Sue's clay studio.

     As Sue Shapiro continued to work on her pottery in St. Petersburg, her retail space grew and her studio shrunk. Now Shapiro's is bringing wares like these to Hyde Park Village. Photo courtesy of Shapiro's.
  5. Appointments at Raymond James Bank and Saint Leo University highlight this week's Tampa Bay business Movers & Shakers



    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Jackson will oversee all of Raymond James Bank's operational business elements, risk management and strategic planning functions. Kackson joins Raymond James Bank after senior …

    Raymond James Bank has hired Grace Jackson to serve as executive vice president and chief operating officer. [Company handout]