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. Macy's chairman replaces ex-HSN head Grossman on National Retail Federation board


    Terry Lundgren, chairman of Macy's Inc., will replace Weight Watchers CEO Mindy Grossman as chair of the National Retail Federation, the organization announced Wednesday. Grossman stepped down from her position following her move from leading St. Petersburg-based HSN to Weight Watchers.

    Weight Watchers CEO and former HSN chief Mindy Grossman is being replaced as chair of the National Retail Federation. [HSN Inc.]
  2. Unexpected weak quarter at MarineMax slashes boating retailer shares nearly 25 percent


    CLEARWATER — Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, a boating business leader issued a small craft warning.

    Bill McGill Jr., CEO of Clearwater's MarineMax, the country's biggest recreational boat retailer. [Courtesy of MarineMax]
  3. CapTrust moving headquarters to downtown Park Tower


    TAMPA — CAPTRUST Advisors, a Raleigh, N.C.-based investment consulting firm, is moving its Tampa offices into Park Tower. CapTrust's new space will be 10,500 square feet — the entirety of the 18th floor of the downtown building, which is scheduled to undergo a multi-million-dollar renovation by 2018.

    CAPTRUST Advisors' Tampa location is moving into Park Tower. Pictured is the current CapTrust location at 102 W. Whiting St. | [Times file photo]
  4. Good news: Tampa Bay no longer a major foreclosure capital of the country

    Real Estate

    Once in the top five nationally for foreclosure filings, the Tampa Bay area no longer makes even the top 25.

    A few short years ago, Tampa Bay was a national hub for foreclosures. Not any more. [Getty Images/iStockphoto]
  5. Tampa-based start-up takes on Airbnb by promoting inclusion, diversity


    NEW TAMPA — Last May, Rohan Gilkes attempted to book a property in Idaho on the home-sharing platform Airbnb. After two failed attempts, the African-American entrepreneur asked a white friend to try, and she was "instantly" approved for the same property and dates.

    Rohan Gilkes poses for a portrait at his home and business headquarters in Tampa. 

Innclusive, a Tampa-based start-up, is a home-sharing platform that focuses on providing a positive traveling experience for minorities. Rohan Gilkes, the founder, said he created the organization after several negative experiences with Airbnb.
[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]