Geocaching…if you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry, you are undoubtedly in the majority. It is a great treasure hunt activity using portable handheld gps units to find the “treasure” or cache. There are close to 900,000 hidden worldwide, so it is an activity that could potentially take up a good amount of time. I am relatively new to the geocaching scene, so cannot effectively communicate the big picture, but here is a short summary of how things seem to work.
First, and most importantly, you must have a portable gps device, my blackberry does the trick. I downloaded the Blackstar application from the Blackberry app store (for free), and it worked right away and without any problems. Secondly, you must have an account at Geocaching.com (also free). Once you have an account, you can search by zip code and it will list for you the caches in the area. At this point, all you need to do is put the gps coordinates into your gps device and enjoy the hunt! Typically, the gps will get you within ten feet or so of the cache, and the rest is up to your “caching instincts.” The individual caches vary in size and difficulty. This information is available to you on the website when you view the cache and the coordinates. Once you find the cache, just log your find back on the website, and it keeps track of all of your finds for you.
Another fun thing about geocaching is that you can hide your own caches and log them on the website for everyone else to find. If you have a great hiding spot that is close to home, or that you travel past frequently, hide a cache there for everyone to enjoy! Make sure it is somewhere you can visit frequently in case there is a need for maintenance.
One of the best things about geocaching for me is that you go places that you never would have before. I haven’t found many yet, only 14, but I have seen things I never would have seen if it weren’t for geocaching. For example, a great organ donor monument and small park in Columbus. There are also trackable items that you can place in the caches (assuming they are large enough to hold them). By entering the code that is on the trackable item, you can see where it has been, and where it wants to go…hopefully you have the ability to help it along its journey.
My experiences geocaching have been few, but always fun. I am officially “hooked.” Join and add me as a friend, I’d be glad to compare notes.