January 21, 2016

The What’s and How’s of Geocaching

Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, very similar to “Hide and Seek”, just on a much larger scale. This activity relies very much on new technologies, specifically GPS (Global positioning system), which is the key ingredient to Geocaching.

Geocaching uses GPS technology and “Caches/Geocaches”, which are large waterproof containers, and takes place worldwide with many people becoming interested in this new activity.

The typical Geocache is a waterproof container, placed strategically in the wilderness, containing a log book with a pen or pencil. Once you have found the log book, the aim is to record the date you found it, as well as your unique geocaching code name, which is usually a rather unique handwritten code name. The rule is that once you have recorded your information in the log book, you must place it back in the cache, exactly where you found it. Larger containers do exist and these contain smaller items for trade purposes, such as coins, currency, small toys and trinkets, all of a sentimental rather than a financial value. These larger containers don’t exist at every single location, and are rather more scattered.

PB_GeocachingPhoto source: http://www.koppangcamping.no

The first ever Geocache was recorded in May 2000, in Oregon, with the ideology of “take some stuff, leave some stuff”. All Geocaches coordinates are listed on a Listing site, enabling participants to play the game. Geocachers obtain the coordinates on the listing site and then obtain the cache using GPS technology. Geocachers must record their information in the log book and leave it where it was found, allowing fellow Cachers to find the cache, as per the coordinates on the listing site. If the Geocachers come across a larger box, that contains trade items, they may take an item that they like as long as they replace it with an item of equal or greater value for other Geocachers to enjoy. These treasured items are called Swag in the Geocaching world. If participating in this, be sure that your backpack contains items for trade.

There are several types of Geocaches, the most popular being the traditional cache, which is the one that is most widely known, consisting of a log book and pen, and sometimes smaller trinkets for trad. It is advisable to look for these caches as they are more popular. However, there are other Caches that are also available to be sought out.

The mystery cache – contains a complicated puzzle that needs to be solved in order to receive the co-ordinates for the cache.

The multi cache – a cache with two or more locations, using a clue to arrive at the first location, you will then receive the coordinates for the second location where you will find the traditional log book.

Earth cache– a unique location where Geocachers may go to learn more about the earth

Event cache – an event for local geocachers to gather and discuss geocaching.

Cache in trash out – where Geocachers gather to remove litter and rubble from the environment.

Mega event Cache – an event set up for Geocachers which has an attendance of five hundred or more people.

It is advisable that you first start off seeking Traditional geocaches until you are more experienced. If you are going to be geocaching in the evening, you may find that you will need the best tactical flashlight available to help your search.

11Photo source: http://www.honolulufamily.com

The locations where Geocaches are found are rather diverse and tend to have some sort of meaning to the person who hid the cache. They can be in any location: underwater, at the side of a busy street, in a local park or even at the end of a hiking trail, no location is out of bounds for the Geocacher and because of the diverse locations, geocaching is also an incredible way to see your country and all that it has to offer, allowing you to explore and make memories as well as take part in this incredible game. Remember that you may find yourself Geocaching into the evening so take your best tactical flashlight along for your safety.

Geocaching can be described as a large treasure hunt, as essentially that is what the game is about. It is an activity that is becoming ever more popular as technology advances and as more people are made aware of it. What could possibly be more exciting than travelling the country in the search of tiny treasures, while exploring your surroundings and getting in touch with nature and your ability to make a difference.

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