Geocaching involves hunting for treasure boxes called caches – kind of like a scavenger hunt, but with electronic directions. According to an official geocaching web site, “geocaching is an entertaining adventure game for GPS (Global Positioning System) users.”
Global Positioning System Important in Geocaching
The hobby of geocaching doesn’t require a lot of fancy gadgets, so it’s not an expensive activity to participate in. Vehicles equipped with a GPS are ready to take off on a hunt. Just be sure to visit geocaching.com to get directional coordinates for hidden caches in the area.
A GPS is used to locate where caches are stashed. A participant logs onto the geocaching.com web site where the coordinates are posted by other players, loads the coordinates into the GPS and then goes out on the hunt to locate where the cache has been hidden. The fun part is going out with the GPS to look for the cache. The GPS, using coordinates given locates satellites that are circling the earth overhead and uses them to track the cache.
Cachers look for their treasures and then have a virtual cachefest on the website each time they go to the section “find a cache and share your experience.” People from all over the world share their stories and become part of the caching community.
Information for Beginning Geocachers
A beginning cacher can find loads of information on the site, factsfacts. The author of this site refers to the game as a “high tech Easter egg hunt.” Also offered is advice on purchasing a GPS, geocaching terms and abbreviations, what to take along on a hunt and discusses hiding caches.
When geocaching, it’s also important to know the area before going on a hike alone. Be sure to keep a cell phone or other communication device handy and inform family and friends of the hunt.
It’s also a good idea to take a first aid kit along . Although geocaching is not a dangerous sport, caches are sometimes hidden in wooded or rocky terrain. Occasionally a treasure will be hidden in a place that’s easy to get to, but cachers like to make the hunt as challenging as possible in most cases.
Geocaching.com recommends packing supplies such as food, water and extra clothing, a map, compass, a GPS and extra batteries.
What’s in a Cache?
Caches range in size from a small film canister to something the size of a military ammo box. The cache can be as small or large as the person who designs the cache wants it to be. The boxes and canisters are filled with a variety of items, such as small toys and household items, as long as it’s not something dangerous. The goal is to find the cache, take something from it and leave something else behind for the next person who finds it. Also, be sure to sign the log found inside the cache and then document the find on the website.
A camera is always a good idea to help document the adventure. Photos can also be loaded onto the global geocaching website or a personal web page for easy access to those who want to know what geocaching is all about.
Caching Can be Educational
Another aspect of geocaching is that it can be used as a teaching tool for chldren. In nature, deer, racoons, skunks, insects and all kinds of wild growing plants can be seen in their natural habitat. After the outdoor adventure – a family can look up information on the various items and animals found.
Navigation skills can be learned as the child helps to find the caches with the GPS. Maps and other instructional materials can open up a whole new world to a young mind.
What is Geocaching
Bored on a sunny summer day, or even a dull winter chill? Geocaching is a relatively new activity or hobby that is family friendly, enjoyable for couples, as well as for a solo adventure!
What Exactly Is Geocaching?
Geocaching takes place when intrepid treasure hunters take to the outdoors in search of caches, or small containers containing trinkets and other items as well as, usually, a logbook to record their presence. Via the use of a handheld GPS unit – affordable ones begin at the $50 range – the geocachers enter a set of co-ordinates posted on geocaching websites for their area, and follow the directions to reach their destination.
Caches may be hidden in parking lots, cemeteries, wooded areas, sports fields, hiking trails, downtown areas – the sky is the limit when it comes to finding a geocache, properly hidden away from those who might discover it by accident without prior knowledge.
Commonly, those interested in geocaching tend to bring along a pocket full of small items, baubles, or even items commonly of value to leave in exchange for something they might take from any caches they find. Caches typically come in a few sizes – nano, micro, and small. Large caches do exist, although they are more unusual due to the chance that they may be found by muggles (people who do not engage in the practice of geocaching) and removed from the site or disturbed.
The Environment and Geocaching – Cache In, Trash Out
One does not have to be an active environmental activist to geocache – though most participants bring a shopping bag with them in order to pick up any trash they might find while exploring. Geocaching is an activity which, at its very essence, is about enjoying the out-of-doors and appreciating the environment.
The most popular website related to geocaching on the internet, Geocaching.com, actively promotes a “Cache In, Trash Out” programme which entreats geocachers from all walks of life to actively pick up waste on their outdoor adventures. Sponsored by DeLorme (a prominent GPS provider), there are also several meets where hundreds of geocachers hold true to their green philosophy and engage in group geocaching activities.
Fun for the Family, Safety and Responsibility
Not only is geocaching a very safe activity when conducted properly (always be careful when on rocky or uneven terrain, be sure to bring water, proper footwear, and communications devices in case of emergency) but it is great fun for all members of the family.
Children are very interested in the concept of hunting for treasures, love the outdoors, and trading small items of negligible monetary value can be a valuable and fun lesson in sharing and community, as well as a great chance to enjoy the gifts that Mother Nature offers!
An inexpensive, healthy activity that promotes wellness not only with regards to physical fitness (the requisite hiking and walking are perfect for light exercise) but also pertaining to cleaning up the environment and one’s own community, geocaching is a quickly growing hobby that is sure to capture the minds of those interested in getting some fresh air, having fun, and making a difference, however large or small.