What is Geocaching?

Posted: December 21, 2010 in Everyone, Geocaching
Tags: , ,

I get asked on a fairly regular basis, “What is geocaching?” It is hard to explain, yet easy at the same time. In plain english it is a high-tech treasure hunt. But in reality it is more, and less than that.

In Geocaching you use a small handheld GPS device, or a smart phone. To find an object hidden someplace. Commonly in the woods, but they can be in cities, parks, and even in front of someone’s house(after permission is obtained). I have seen geocaches at malls, shopping centers, and even fire departments. The range from the size of chap stick lid(nano) to a 5-gallon bucket(Extra Large). Tupperware, magnetic key hides, 35mm film cans, and ammo tins are the most common. There is a rating system of 5 stars, for terrain and difficulty. A 5/5 is the hardest ever(there is a 5/5 on the ISS!) Where as 1/1 is the easiest, and where you should start!

So, you create a FREE account on geocaching.com, enter your address and find the latitude and longitude of a cache near you. You put into your GPS device, whether it is a $50 eBay special eTrex, or a $700 DeLorne, it will work. You walk/drive/ski/boat/swim/climb/run/crawl/ride to the cache site, known as Ground Zero. Now you have to actually find the cache. GPS is not dead accurate. Your device should tell you how accurate it is, and that is your search window. You look and look, no luck. Well online there should be a hint available most of the time. Decode it and use it! Hey! You found it! Great job! Now what? Now you sign the log! Inside every cache there is a log. You date it and sign it, and if there is room tell a little story! If you found a cache big enough, there will be swag in it. Take an item, and give an item of equal or greater value. Close up the cache and hide it EXACTLY as you found it! Now go find another one, or head home your choice. But when you get home, remember to get online and log your find, or did not find, on the geocaching.com website. Just go to the page for the cache, and hit add log. It is that easy!

Now, when you go geocaching. Remember to be discrete. Some people, often called muggles, do not know what geocaching is! (Hey, you used to be a muggle!) Often they will wait till you are gone, go get the cache themselves, and destroy it! I have also had the police called on me while geocaching, and fire. That is a story for another blog. If they do catch you. Just explain what you are doing, in detail of course. Usually they will understand. Some police officers even cache and know what it is! If it is just a normal person, also explain, and maybe they will start geocaching themselves, you never know.

There are sometimes a things called trackables in the cache. This is an item of some kind, with a special code on it. If you take this item, remember you NEED to drop it off at another cache in the near future. You log this on it’s own separate page, and you can see where it has been, and it’s goal or where it wants to go. I will elaborate on trackables in another post later on. Just remember, you take one of these, DO NOT HOLD ON TO IT!!!

Why do I geocache? I do it, with Anna, to get out. When we moved up here from Corning, the first thing we did is go geocaching so we could get to know the area better. It is a way for us to bond. It is also a great way to get out end experience nature. I have seen things I never knew existed, even in the Southern Tier where I had lived my entire life. You will meet some of the nicest and helpful people on the planet while geocaching. Some of your co-workers may even geocache, you never know. I go as trckey2 in the geocaching community    Profile for trckey2. We did have many hidden, but when we moved a good friend adopted them from us. Now I have many stories about geocaching, and there is much more to discuss. But this covers the basics. I will have future posts with stories(like the time geese surrounded our car till we fed them pizza), tips, tricks, more details on various aspects, and my opinions.

Let me know if there are any certain topics that I need to go over. Feed back is welcome!

Want to know more? Go to www.geocaching.com to find out!


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