If you don’t know about Geocaching, their website describes it best: “Geocaching is the real-world treasure hunt that’s happening right now, all around you.” Players hide geocaches, or “caches” and post their GPS coordinates for others to find. Since they can be anywhere, you might find one outside your office or in a mall parking lot. It’s a great way to get outdoors, get some fresh air and exercise, and visit some neighborhood places you’ve never visited!
Since it was a special day, we decided to go to a local park. It’s over 100 acres, so we were hoping to have an experience. To make the most of yours, I’ll introduce this activity as well as share tips that I’ve picked up along the way.
The first thing you’ll need is a device to help you locate caches. Geocaching provides a map which is great for planning, but once you get out in the field, a smartphone or other GPS device can help narrow down the location. The official Geocache team offers a free app, but I have an old phone and use c:geo. Apps are helpful because they can load hints and photos from the Geocaching website.
If you’re going to pick up a microcache at the mall’s parking lot, you might be able to get away with just bringing a pen. But if you’re going out into the “wild,” be sure to protect yourself from the elements as well as abide by the game’s first rule: “If you take something, leave something of equal or greater value.”
- Phone/GPS Device
- Bug Spray
- Hand Sanitizer
- Cache Items
If it’s been raining (as it had been too much here!), perhaps wear some boots. Julie styles her Chooka rain boots here.
Once you get in the cache area, consider any given hints as well as clues like paths that look like people have used. If you don’t spot it right away, think outside the box. Caches can come in a variety of sizes and difficulties, and cachers go to some surprising lengths to hide them.
When you find your bottle, box, or other container, congrats! Check out what goodies people have left, trade, or just sign the log. Be sure to hide it as well as you found it, take pictures of your adventure, and record your day on Geocaching.com. As you continue to play, you’ll find out about trackables, souvenirs and even making your own caches.
Check out the welcoming team! Although the goal is finding hidden trinkets, geocaching gives you a chance to explore areas in your own backyard of which you weren’t aware of. Cheering critters may be just one of the interesting images you snap on your trip.
Thankfully, a cache wasn’t in here.
As I’ve said, geocaches can be in parks or parking lots. But they can also be just behind a sign or in off-trail nooks, so be careful and aware of your surroundings. We cut out one cache from this trip because of bees! This activity can be tough, fun but also educational and rewarding. So grab a buddy or two and get exploring! There’s a whole world out there waiting to be found.