Ever wanted to combine the fun and enjoyment of being outdoors with the fun that you can get from a new tech gadget? Ever long for the days when you could search your backyard for buried treasure? If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, its time to enter the world of Geocaching and rediscover the outdoors and have a little bit of an adventure while doing it. Geocaching is fun the whole family can enjoy as well and helps one get out and take a break from the hustle and bustle of day to day lives.
What in the world is Geocaching?
Geocaching is a sport where you take a set of Global Positioning Satellite or GPS coordinates, and use them to find a hidden container or cache. The cache is often full of trade items which you can exchange with similar items that you bring with you. In addition to the trade items there will also always be a logbook. Here you sign the date, your Geocaching name and any extra comments you want to leave about finding the cache. The caches themselves can be hidden and found almost everywhere. From a crowded shopping mall, to a remote section of woods, the limit is only in the ingenuity of those hiding the caches. Hiding of the caches is actually done by the same people finding them. There are a set of guidelines to follow, but other than that any registered user can go out and place a cache. I recommend waiting till you have found a decent amount to get an idea of what other cachers are doing.
The actual act of caching itself, is more about finding the cache rather than what’s in it. Often times trade items are trinkets and other low value items, however often times caches are placed in either scenic views or less traveled areas. If you are only looking to gain and collect things then this may not be the hobby for you. If you are looking to get out and explore however, then I urge you to check out Geocaching and give it a try.
Tips and hints
First and foremost, before you go out caching, always make sure you are prepared. Obviously you will need your GPS receiver, but it is also a good idea to bring both a pen to sign the log book (some caches will have one, some won’t!) and either a printout or notes about the cache(s) you are seeking. In addition to that it is usually a good idea to get map of some sort of the area you are going to, to help get around. It is all well and good if the GPS tells you the cache is 600 feet away, until you realize theres a natural obstacle in your way, that a map might show you how to get around. Always read the description ahead of them as it may give you insight in to how to prepare. Some might be simply hidden under a pile of logs, others might be way up in a tree. Its always good to know what you are in for before heading out into the woods unprepared. Look at the rating as well as it may give a clue if you are up to that particular challenge. Sometimes it can also help to bring along a buddy, though that is entirely up to you. If you do go out alone, I recommend at least telling someone where you are going just in case something happens.
In short, Geocaching is a fun way to get out and explore and use a little bit of a very cool piece of technology. It isn’t for everyone, but if you even remotely enjoy being outdoors, check out this modern version of hide and seek!