What is geocaching?
The official definition is “a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game”. Basically, players use a GPS device to hide and/or locate hidden containers called geocaches and share their experiences in an online community of other players. Geocaches can be found all over the world and can range in size from a small camera film container to a large paint bucket or ammo can.
How it began:
Geocaching began in May 2000, when GPS technology took a great leap forward and GPS receivers around the world got a massive upgrade. Shortly thereafter, the White House announced that anyone could now "precisely pinpoint their location or the location of items (such as game) left behind for later recovery."
Inspired by this technological advancement, Dave Ulmer, a GPS enthusiast, decided to hide the very first geocache in Beavercreek, Oregon at N 45° 17.460 W 122° 24.800. He posted the coordinates online with instructions to “take some stuff, leave some stuff”, and the world of geocaching began.
Since the first geocache was hidden, the semi-secret geocaching community has grown and spread around the globe. Unique geocaching terms have formed, and a website has arisen and evolved. If you visit an REI store, you can even find a Geocaching section that sells cache containers of all sizes and accessories, such as logbooks, special pens, and water-proof materials.
Who should geocache:
EVERYONE!! Seriously, I do not know anyone who does not like geocaching. When I worked at a daycare facility, I would recommend it to parents all the time! How could anyone, of any age, say no to an activity that gets you outside, gets you active, and gets your creativity working? Besides, it’s TREASURE HUNTING! If you do not like treasure hunting, you obviously skipped your childhood. :D
My geocache and me:
In 2008, I learned about the wonderful world of geocaching from my friend James. Of course, I asked the classic question, “What is geocaching?”, and as soon as he responded with the words “treasure hunt”, I was hooked! Sadly, my list of found geocaches is dismally small at the moment. However, since purchasing my iPhone, and subsequently the Geocaching App (it is totally worth the $10!), there are no excuses for my logged geocache list to remain in its lowly state. :)
At this point, I am sure you are dying to try finding a cache of your own. To get started, go to the Geocaching website (http://www.geocaching.com/default.aspx) and create a free account. Then, do a search for geocaches in your area, note their coordinates, grab your GPS device, and go find them!!
You may have noticed that the site also offers Premium accounts for a small fee. Many hard-core cachers sign up for premium accounts, because they offer extra benefits, including premium-only caches. If you decide to become a die-hard cacher, I would recommend purchasing an account. For anyone who wants to be a casual cacher, you will be fine with the free account. Believe me, there are plenty of free cache listings to keep you busy for a long time!
A few other important things:
When you find a cache listing that you want to hunt, be sure to note its size and difficulty level. This will be extremely helpful as you search. Many caches also list a hint or clue about where to look. If you still have trouble finding the cache, you can look at other players’ notes and/or pictures for further hints.
Feel free to send me any questions you might have! You can reach me at AtTheLamppost, or you can find me on geocache.com (Member name - kaliska47).
Are you still reading this blog? Why? Go find a geocache and quit being a muggle! :)