Have you ever gone geocaching? It is the perfect activity for week 8 of our adventure-a-week challenge! Once you have a GPS, it is something you can do for free, and is a great way to explore a new area – or even to see a familiar area is a whole new light. As it is described on their website, Geocaching.com, it is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online.
The fun is in the hunt – to find these hidden caches, more than what is inside them. They can range in size from micro caches in tiny capsules only a couple inches wide with barely enough room for just a sign-in sheet, to regular sized caches often in an ammo-box or other waterproof container which often have little trinkets of small value which you can trade out in addition to the sign-in sheet, to “virtual” caches which are not a typical cache with a log-in sheet, but just takes you to an area where there is an interesting sight to see and find. My personal favorite are micro caches- I think they are the most challenging to find! Often, in addition to the coordinates given for the GPS there are clever clues to help you narrow down your search to a more selected area.
To start, you sign up and download the waypoints from Geocaching.com, and input them into your GPS to get you to the area where the cache is hidden. Once there, you start hunting. But with a somewhat clandestine air- you have to be aware of “muggles”! The definition of muggles on the geocaching.com website makes me laugh: “Muggle: A non-geocacher. Based on “Muggle” from the Harry Potter series, which is a non-magical person. Usually this term is used after a non geocacher looks puzzled after befriending a geocacher searching for a cache, or when a non-geocacher accidentally finds a cache. Geomuggles are mostly harmless.” If you call too much attention to a cache, non-geocachers who saw you might move it or take it after you leave, not realizing what it is. So be sneaky! ;)
After you have found the caches and logged into the sheets and had your fun exploring, when you get back home you log your finds on the geocaching website. Geocaching is something we enjoy doing occasionaly – but it had been a pretty long time since we had gone geocaching, so this week it was fun to get out and try it again! Here was our adventure, there were very few “muggles” around where we were geocaching, so I was able to take pictures without too much trouble:
I don’t usually bother trading items in the larger caches – anytime I’ve seen someone give Geocaching a try thinking that the trading is the main thing, they’re usually disappointed …the fun is really in the finding! A lot of times the clues/names and such are very clever, too. But I did decide to leave one of my mini-art prints in one of the caches, as you see above. :) We had a great time, and one of the fun things about geocaching is it takes you to new places and helps you find interesting areas. We certainly made some new discoveries!
If you haven’t gone geocaching, you should give it a try! Here are a few more geocaching terms that might be helpful to know:
BYOP: Bring your own pen. This means the cache is too small to hold a pen along with the sign-in sheet, so you must bring your own to be able to log your visit.
Multi cache: This is where a single cache hunt is made up of a series of individual caches, in a series. It is usually on some theme, and you may need to find the caches in a certain order to get all the information needed to find the later caches.
Travel Bug: You might find a travel bug in a cache. This is a token of some sort with a tracking number, and hitchhikes from person to person and cache to cache, with its progress tracked online.
CITO/Cache in, trash out: This is a common practice that as you geocache and log into caches you find, that if you find litter in the area you are hunting, you take the time to collect it and throw it away. So do some good while you are out having fun!
Have you ever gone geocaching? Does it interest you?
Leave you thoughts and comments below!