I’ve recently discovered a great way to while away a few hours. It’s the perfect way to liven up a country walk with the children and never fails to inspire you to head somewhere new. What is this new activity I’ve taken up? Geocaching! I know I’m probably a bit late in discovering the geocaching phenomenon but I’m pleased that I’ve discovered a new way to engage with the great outdoors.
For those of you don’t know what geocaching is or haven’t tried it for yourself, here’s the lowdown.
Geocaching is a treasure hunt that relies on GPS technology to locate the hidden cache or treasure. Most of the time a cache is a small, waterproof box that contains a logbook and a pen or pencil, amongst other items. However, sometimes a cache comes in the form of a small sealable tube called a nano-cache. These small pods are magnetic and normally contain only a rolled up logbook. The larger cache box will sometimes contain a gift or reward for the geocacher who locates it. This is likely to be anything from a reel of cotton to a pen – geocaching treasure can be quite obscure!
Caches are planted in hidden locations in town or country areas. The hiding place could be under a park bench, up a tree, under a rock or attached to a street sign, the possibilities are endless. Geocachers seek out these hidden treasures guided by GPS coordinates or waypoints posted online.
If you have a GPS device, you can explore the area where a cache is hidden. This is where the fun begins. Although you will have the GPS coordinates, geocachers can be crafty. You might need to look high and low before you locate the cache. As you can imagine, the children in your party will love this element of your treasure hunt. In my experience, the more concealed the cache, the more fun you’ll have finding it.
If the cache contains a reward that you wish to take, you will need to leave something in its place. You can let your imagination run wild or put something in that you have in your pocket, such as a sweet, a coin or a pencil. Sometimes the box will contain a clue about more hidden treasure. If that’s the case then you might begin to find geocaching addictive. Once you’ve check the contents of the cache you will need to put it back in exactly the same spot as you found it.
The final step in your geocaching adventure is when you get home. Head back to the website where you found the coordinates and leave some comments for the original hider and for other geocachers who might want to track it down. You can then start planning your next treasure hunt or plant your own treasure to widen the opportunities for other budding geocachers.
Have you got any tales of geocaching or do you have any great tips or advice for people new to this exciting activity?