With summer here, it seemed like a great time to repost this and add it to our list of summer activities for the kids.
Have you been Geocaching?
We spent some time Geocaching this past weekend and had a blast. Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers of all ages. Your basic goal is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches and then share your experiences online. There are 100's of 1,000's of Geocaches all over the world and it's likely there are many just a few miles from your house.
How do you know where to look?
You will need a Geochacing membership to participate, it's free or, you can upgrade for $9.99 for a 3 month period or $29.99 for a year. The upgraded membership gives you access to special caches. I recommend you get the upgrade. I've found the caches that are free (especially those in town) are often very small, disturbed, not maintained or just plain missing.
There's also a free app. or another $9.99 will get you an upgraded app. The app. turns your phone into a GPS and gets you on your way. Note: Both the free app and the paid app. work well, while the $9.99 app. does have some extra features, I found the free one to work fine but, for those that are really going to get into this fun hobby, you will probably want the upgrade. The upgrade includes added log features, easier navigation and better search and filter options.
Once you get logged in:
1- Enter the zip code of the area you would like to search in.
2- Choose any Geocache from the list and click on its name.
3- Enter the coordinates of the Geocache into your GPS Device.
4- Head out on your adventure
(photo source Instagram #Geocaching)
How do you know what you're looking for?
You never know what you'll find. Geocaches can be anything from a birdhouse to a cleaned out mayonnaise jar. Some are just tiny little objects like a magnetic screw or key holder that attaches to a fence or under a picnic table. The website and/or app. will provide clues though.
What to bring:
1- Gloves: The caches aren't buried but many are hidden among shrubs and bushes.
2- A walking stick: (a broom or paint handle works fine) used for moving brush aside
3- A Pen: Used for signing the log book
4- A small exchange item: Many caches have small goodies inside. This makes them very fun for the little ones.
Geo-cachers have the give take motto. Don't take unless you replace. In my last cache, I left a couple of free Domino's coupons and took a little toy horse. If you are the lucky one that finds the Domino's coupons come back and let us know.
After you find your geocache, you can sign the logbook and share any notes and a selfie online. Make sure to return the cache exactly where you found it for the next person. And, be on the lookout for “Muggles” (non-geocachers) when you put it back, so it doesn't get disturbed.
What's a Geocache Travel Bug?
Last, I want to mention, be on the lookout for Travel Bugs. Travel Bug is usually a dog tag that is attached to a “hitchhiker,” or an item that travels from place to place. If you find a Travel Bug the first thing you need to do is “grab” it online so you can add your own story to its journey. Each travel bug has it's own mission and story. Use the information on the tag to find the mission of the travel bug and help to send it on it's journey. Read more about travel bugs on this page of the Geocache website.
The Geocaching community is very social. I recommend you check the date of the last time the cache was found. This information is very valuable as to what the condition of the cache will be and when it was last checked on. When you find a great cache, follow the person that hid it. It's likely they have other great caches too.
Also, you might want to scan through the reviews on the Geocache website, (alert: there could be spoilers in the comments). Some of the people that hide the caches are really good about maintaining them and others don't. Or, they get bored of it and don't remove them from the Geocache site. If you find a cache that has a problem, report it so, Geocache can remove it from the site or fix it.
We enjoyed our adventure and look forward to doing it again. This is a fun idea for a weekend adventure outing for the family, a fun date, or go it alone. Pack a lunch and enjoy the day. Have you gone Geochaching? Please feel free to leave a comment and tell other readers about your Geocache experience.
Happy Treasure Hunting!