Ever wanted to be a pirate and search for buried treasure? Is your favourite part about Easter the egg hunt? Do you pride yourself in your ability to find lost car keys? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then geocaching just may be for you. I’ve wanted to go geocaching for years. Last week I got my chance and had a great day with my friends Shane, Shaun and Tina.
What is geocaching?
According to Geocaching.com,
“geocaching is a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS… Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.”
Getting started was actually dirt simple. After becoming a member (for free) at Geocaching.com, I tapped my postal code into the site and got a LONG list of nearby caches. Seriously, these things are EVERYWHERE. We chose one to get started, entered the coordinates into the Geocaching app Shaun had downloaded onto his Blackberry, called CacheSense (you can also use a GPS device), and hit the road.
Finding a cache
The first cache we found took a while. Our GPS got us close but a lot of tree cover made it difficult to pinpoint its location. All part of the fun. After a half hour or so of searching high and low, we finally spotted the small, plastic container in the crook of a tree.
Inside caches you’ll find a logbook to sign and often small trinkets people have left behind. You are welcome to take something from a cache but the rule is you have to replace it with something of equal or greater value – a neat way to get a souvenir and to share something with future geocachers.
With a win under our belt, we plugged in the coordinates of another nearby cache and started hunting for that one. At one point I thought I had found it and reached for what looked like a container amidst a pile of sticks.
It turned out to be a bag of dog poo. Awesome.
Shane ended up finding our second cache – this time in a hole of a tree.
Our third cache of the day proved the most challenging. This one was tiny, wrapped in camouflaged tape and stuffed inside the hallow of a broken limb. The limb itself was cleverly hidden amidst the branches of another tree.
That’s one of the cool things about geocaching – it’s not just about following your GPS to the proper location. It also involves a lot of searching and sleuthing when you do get to the area.
The Geocaching Community
After I got home I logged our finds on the Geocaching website. The website is very robust and includes the ability to search and sort caches by difficulty, terrain and location. You’ll also find active forums, event listings and product reviews for GPS devices and apps.
As our first outing we only scratched the surface of Geocaching. I can’t wait to get out and do it again. I’m hooked!
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