Spring is finally here, and after our long, snowy winter, I know we are all eager to get outside. Geocaching is a great family activity or solo sport that uses technology that nearly everyone nowadays already owns. A handheld GPS unit or smartphone can get the family outside exploring together. Children love to hold the devices and follow the navigation to the hidden spectacles. Whether the adventure is rural or urban, it can lead to exploring the unknown worlds of our community.
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor recreational activity and treasure hunting game using GPS (Global Positioning System) devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to locate “geocaches” in a waterproof container hidden at the location. The most common form of geocaching involves individuals placing caches and sharing the location on the Internet via www.geocaching.com. Once they have found something, participants sign the logbook in the cache container. They also post their “find” on the online logbook and can track their finds accordingly. They may also place or remove appropriate items from the cache; the general rule of thumb is to take an item and leave an item of equal or greater value.
To participate in this adventurous activity, just download the geocaching application on your smart phone, create a log-in user name, and then search coordinates near your zip code. I recommend clicking on the mapping link to gain an overall perspective of the vicinity. You could be caching by the end of the day. Please watch out for “muggles” when searching for your geocache. Muggles are people that may vandalize, steal, or find your cache without going through the geocaching procedures. Geocaches are listed all over the world and in locations you would never expect. Don’t be surprised if you find one just down the road from your house. Before you know it you will be interested in placing your very own geocaches in places of significance to you.
Geocaching has taken me off the beaten path to discover lesser known hiking trails, parks, buildings, and structures. It has also given me a history lesson of these unique points of interest. I love being free to explore and create a personal tour of an area. I also find it particularly interesting that locals hide caches in unique areas to highlight places of special interest. I cannot count how many times that I have been geocaching, and I thought to myself, “I would have never known that this place existed.” I feel that sharing these places through adventure is what makes geocaching so special. Geocaching is not just a great way to explore, but it also can save money, spark creativity, and most of all get people outside. It is such a fantastic way to find unique travel experiences. Plus, who doesn’t love a treasure hunting game? Happy geocaching!