Geocaching - Fun Outdoor Recreation
Looking for a fun outdoor activity? Try geocaching.
My husband and I enjoy spending time outdoors exploring parks and hiking trails and so, when I learned of geocaching, I knew this treasure hunting game would be one that we'd enjoy.
Who can be a geocacher?
Anyone! You can choose the level of difficulty, the location and the amount of time you want to spend on this fun outdoor game that is suitable for all ages. There are geocachers in over 100 countries now and whether you live in the city or in the countryside there are sure to be geocaching opportunities near you.
What equipment will you need to be a geocacher?
You'll need a gps navigation device. This could be a handheld unit like mine, or, if your cell phone plan has good coverage, you could use it. A geocacher plays a treasure hunting game involving either hiding a cache or searching for one using gps navigation. GPS (Global Position System) is a navigation system originally developed by the U.S. Department of Defense for military use. We all have access to this system now and can even use it just for fun.
We use a Garmin handheld GPS device. Before we start out, we do a search at Geocaching - The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site, where a membership is free. Using a zip code to search will bring us a listing of hidden caches in the area and their gps coordinates. The listings also provide information about the level of difficulty involved in finding the cache, clues, and perhaps some details about the difficulty of the terrain. Then we simply input the coordinates into our handheld unit which will tell us how many miles and eventually how many feet we are from a cache.Then we follow the way the arrows point.. Our unit has been very accurate so when it tells us that we are within a few feet of our destination, We'll start looking over, under and around things for our reward.
If you'd rather use an app for your smart phone, you can find geocaching apps for both the iPhone and for Android phones. These apps will find caches listings, navigate you to them and log your results.
What is a cache?
A cache is the hidden treasure that you are seeking. This is usually trinkets that are hidden in plastic boxes, coffee cans, ammo boxes or anything that will keep the contents clean and dry. Geocaching etiquette requires that if you remove an item from a cache then you should replace it with an item of approximate equal value. While you will find many inexpensive items, occasionally you might find a geocoin that is collectible and has value. Do not take one of these coins unless your are replacing it with one. Inside the cache box you will usually find a pencil and paper so that you can leave a note for the geocacher that hid the box, letting him or her know you were there and relating your experiences in finding the cache. Remember to be stealthy and watch out for muggles! Muggles are non geocachers who may be in the area and not understanding geocaching they might not know that they should not take a cache box for themselves.
I took a key chain from this cache and left a Matchbox car.
My husband and I have had fun searching for both the difficult and easy finds and in the process have discovered new places and things we'd overlooked before. We've hiked demanding trails finding caches in hollow logs, under rocks or in tree branches. We've found easy caches in city parks near monuments or under park benches. We've found some in old churchyards and near shopping plazas. They can be found just about anywhere so get outdoors and experience the thrill of the hunt.
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Collect Geocoins. Geocoins for sale or to find in the wild are cool collector items.
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