Have you ever thought about venturing out to geocache but weren’t sure where to start? Maybe you are uncertain what geocaching even is but are interested to learn more. If either of these are you, then you’ve come to the right place.
Geocaching is essentially an outdoor treasure hunt. People all over the world hide caches of different sizes and types and it’s your job to find them. Some are easier to track down than others, but all are worth the effort of finding. For our family, the best parts about geocaching are that A. it’s practically free and B. it’s all over the world and I do mean all over the world. This means that no matter where you are resting your head, be it off the coast of Maine or in wilds of Antarctica, there is most likely a cache waiting to be found.
To get started you simply need a gps. It doesn’t have to be a fancy gadget by any means. In fact, many people use their smart phone and a free or low cost app to handle the job. Groundspeak is the one our family prefers; simply look it up on your app search and download. The free version does the job, but the paid version is obviously better. I recommend using the free download for your first handful of caches to see if treasure hunting is for you and if it is, splurge and buy and premium app. If you choose to use a gps, you will also need an internet connection for access to geocaching.com where you’ll find all the caches that are in the area you’re planning to hunt.
While not necessary, it’s also fun to carry a few inexpensive (and small) toys or gadgets with you for trading. Many of the boxes you discover will have treasures that are left behind by fellow cachers. You are welcome to take one just so long as you exchange it with something different. Examples of trinkets we’ve left include army men, bouncy balls and mini buckets of play doh.
Not all caches contain gadgets; many aren’t big enough, but one thing that they all have in common is a log book of some sort. Whenever you find one, be sure to sign the book so that the owner of the cache knows you were there. If you’re using your smart phone, you can also log that you found the cache online at geocaching.com which will keep track of all your finds for you.
Once you’ve finished basking in the glories of your catch, be sure to return the log to the cache and place it back exactly where you found it. This ensures that the next geocacher to come along with have the same fun experience that you had!
As you gain more experience and discover more treasures, consider placing a geocache of your very own out for others to find. It’s a lot of fun to hunt, but it’s also fun to watch others search and record their experiences finding yours. If you have kids geocaching, you should also consider putting a small investment into a travel bug at some point. These are essentially little dog tags that have a unique serial number you can track. You assign it a destination or a “travel goal” and then place it in a local cache. Other hunters pick it up and send it on it’s journey from one box to the next. Along the way you can follow it online at geocaching.com to see where it’s been and where it’s going next.
If you’re looking for a fun, low cost hobby that goes where ever you go and never loses it’s luster, then give geocaching a go. I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad you did.
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