Geocaching 101

Park Bench in Cincinnati, Ohio

Park Bench in Cincinnati, Ohio

What is Geocaching?  Well, the best description I’ve ever heard is that Geocaching is where people use millions and millions of dollars worth of United States Military satellite technologies to find some Tupperware in the woods!  While it’s much more than that, it’s also not far off.  Geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt, where you take mini-adventures (or involved challenges) to locate various hidden caches placed by another member of the Geocaching community.  As of 2012, the Geocaching community is 6.3 million strong and growing daily!

According to Groundspeak, “Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online.”

I first joined Geocaching in October of 2005.  I’ve taken several leaves of absence from the online treasure hunt in various times, but I constantly find myself going on the hunt when I have spare time or the desire to discover new places.  I’ve introduced several people to the ‘sport’ especially with the spread of smartphones because most everyone has the ability to join the fun at absolutely no cost!  Yes, that’s right, sign up now completely free!

Who can Geocache?  Anyone!  The only requirement is that you have a GPS unit and an internet connection (and since you’re reading this, I’ll assume the internet is at your fingertips!).  The GPS unit you use is completely up to you.  You can start out with an inexpensive GPS such as the Geomate Jr. Geocaching GPS, or you can get something more fancy such as the Garmin GPSMAP 62S.  If you’ve got a smartphone (Apple iOS, Android, Blackberry, etc.), there are several apps that will get you hunting caches in no time!

Where are Geocaches?  More places than I can count…seriously!  According to geocaching.com’s main page, there are  1,931,720 Geocaches planted worldwide as of today (November 3, 2012).  They range in size and difficulty, making it easy for the family to enjoy (both young and old!), as well as many that are handicap accessible!  While some are rather simple and easy to find, some are far more difficult.  Some involve some difficult terrain, I’ve found some at the bottom of lakes, some at the top of mountains.  The fact of the matter is that they all involve different levels of difficulty.  I love the Geocaching website because each cache has a difficulty and a terrain rating to help you quickly recognize caches that meet your criteria for what level of adventure you desire or have time for.  Some are located deep in the woods, some have been hiding under the park bench you sit at everyday…and you never ever knew it existed!

How do I find where Geocaches are located?  On geocaching.com you can search for all the Geocaches near you (from you right now it’s probably not far at all to find your first cache!).

Cost: Free! (if you currently have a GPS or GPS enabled smartphone), Premium Memberships Available for $30/year

Watch this video to learn more!

For more information, visit geocaching.com/guide

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Posted in Geocaching, Outdoor Activities, Outdoors
One comment on “Geocaching 101
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