Yesterday we spent the afternoon geocaching. We have really enjoyed geocaching and seeing many new sights while doing it. I shared with you last fall about the Wordless Bracelets we make for geocaching and thought I would try to answer a few questions about how we geocache.
What is geocaching?
Geocaching is when you use coordinates on a GPS to find a hidden treasure (cache). This is usually a bottle or box with a log book in it and possibly a trinket that you can exchange for one that you have brought with you.
What do you need for geocaching?
The main item you need for geocaching is a GPS. We have been blessed with a Garmin GPS that we use. Many of the smart phones have a GPS app available. As long as you are searching for geocaches in your phone’s service area, your phone will work just fine. Some other items to take along with you are: a pen, trinkets to trade, and basic hiking and first aid supplies.
How to begin geocaching?
Before we go geocaching, we visit geocaching.com . You will need to create an account. A basic account is free. If you want the extras…like hints to be downloaded to your GPS, you will want to get the Premium membership. It’s $30 for the year. This website will give you a listing of the available geocaches in the area and from there you will be able to download the coordinates directly to your GPS.
What do you do to prepare for a day of geocaching?
As I said above, we go to geocaching.com. We have already created an account so we signed into it.
At the top of the page you will see a tab marked “play”. On the drop down menu click “Hide and Seek a Cache”.
This will open the next page that asks you to enter the location you would like to geocache. We were going to a park, so we entered the address of the park.
After you enter your location, the website will pull up the geocaches and the distance from your location. You can click on the ones you would like to download to your GPS device. We choose ones within just a few miles.
Then we download each of them to our GPS device. The website will tell you the size of a cache, how hard it is to find, the last time it was found, and so on.
What does a day of geocaching look like?
Once you have the geocaches loaded to your device, you are ready to go on a treasure hunt. We headed to the park and pulled out our GPS. We directed it to show us the “closest” cache.
It told us it was 170 feet in this particular direction and so we headed in that direction. The closer we got the less distance it was showing on the GPS until we got near a tree (this particular one was a tree…we have found them in trees, by grave stones, on guard rails, in electrical boxes…).
We looked around the tree for any rocks or bark or things that just shouldn’t be there and…
…we found the cache. This one was a “micro” cache and it only had a log book it in.
We signed our name and date and put the cache back exactly where we found it. We marked that cache found on our GPS and headed to the next one.
This one was found just a little off a path at the park.
It was a bigger cache and we were able to take a trinket and leave one of our wordless bracelets.
After that we found about 3 more caches. We had to get in the car and travel up the road a bit to a cemetery. Geocaches are often in cemeteries, ball fields, parking lots, and parks.
We have geocached in our town, all over our state, and in other states as well. I bet there are some in your town!! Its a great way to get the kids outside and is a really fun treasure hunt. It can also be a very inexpensive hobby and enjoyable for the whole family! Give it a try…I’m almost certain you will like it. Don’t be disappointed if you can’t find the cache on your first try. We have a few we can’t seem to locate, but we keep going back to look from a different perspective!