Exploring the outdoors can be a satisfying break from daily life. Backpacking, hiking, and camping are just a few of the ways to pursue your outdoor interests, while adding some new skills and knowledge to your repertoire. But if you’re feeling a bit of a plateau in your outdoor activities and want to add some intrigue, try your hand at geocaching.
Explained simply, geocaching is a union of GPS technology, social media, and good old-fashioned treasure hunting. An object is placed at particular coordinates, and those coordinates are then entered into a website for other geocachers to use for their own hunt. The geocache is generally comprised of a watertight container, a log book, a writing implement, and some sort of trinket. Each time a hunter discovers a geocache, the contents, condition, and any other features of the cache are documented both in the logbook and later online. Some geocaches intend for the object within to be traded for another by every hunter, making the discovery new for everyone. Frequently hidden in rotting logs or under rocks, geocaches can be challenging to uncover, however. You may want to have a few wet wipes on hand!
You can easily search the internet to set up a free geocaching account. Your account provides access to the almost 1.8 million geocaches that exist all over the world. All seven continents and more than 200 countries have established geocaches, and the number just keeps growing! In fact, the popularity of geocaching has grown so much that a company called Groundspeak is creating geocache-themed tours in partnership with tourism locations. Current tours include the Star-Spangled Banner tour in Washington, D.C., the Gold Country tour in British Columbia, and a Riverwalk tour in Columbus, GA.
Besides a good sense of direction and adventure, the only tool you will need for geocaching is a GPS of some sort. You can use a phone that has GPS capability, or purchase a handheld GPS unit. A handheld unit is a good option if kids will be leading the search; they tend to be more durable and kid-friendly, especially inside a protective case. Various smartphone apps are available to help track geocache successes and communicate with the worldwide geocaching community, so you can literally hunt wherever you are!
What do you think you will find on your next geocaching adventure?