Have you heard of Geocaching?
If not, Geocaching is an outdoor scavenger hunt that anyone can play.
People from all over the globe hide or search for small treasures typically in places that you pass by each day. I love Geocaching with my kids because it gets my kids excited to exercise, it is a low-cost activity, and you never know what you are going to find. Are you curious about how to get started? Keep reading and I’ll explain how to start and give you some tips for a successful day of Geocaching.
Step #1 – Create a Geocaching account.
Go to the app store or Google play store and search for the geocaching app. The app is free, and there are plenty of caches available without having to upgrade to a premium account. Download the geocaching app, and create a login
Step # 2- Locate a cache you want to find.
In the top left corner of the application, there is a search icon. Tap on the search icon and decided how you would like to find your cache. I typically use the location feature, as I typically add geocaching into another daily activity such as going down to the Burlington waterfront for a trip to Echo, having a little picnic, and finding a cache or two.
Step # 3 – Research the cache.
Once you have found caches in the area that you are planning on going to, click on the cache to find out more details about the cache. Once you have chosen the cache you would like to find, you will need to understand how to find the cache.
Each cache has 7 main components to research:
1. The type of cache
There are three different types of geocaches:
Traditional: A cache where you receive the coordinates in the post and use the coordinates to find the cache.
Pro tip: Traditional caches are the easiest and I would recommend them for beginners and for geocaching with kids.
Multi-step: A cache where you receive coordinates to a cache, and from that cache, you receive another set of coordinates for the final cache.
Riddle: Where you solve a riddle to receive the coordinates to find the cache.
2. Difficulty of cache
The difficulty works on a scale from one to five. From one being the easiest to five being the hardest.
Just like the difficulty, the terrain works on the same scale. A one is typically a flat paved path and a level five difficulty would be located on the top of Mt. Mansfield.
The cache size runs on the same scale as the difficulty and terrain. However, one is the smallest type of container, also referred to as a micro, which is often times a film container. A size five container would be around the size of a lunch box.
Pro tip: Don’t forget a pen to sign the geocaching log.
This tells you a little more about the cache and its location.
The activity log will tell you the last time that the geocache was found. Because these are hidden in the public, sometimes caches get what the geocaching community refers to as “muggled” or stolen.
Pro tip: Always check the activity when geocaching with kids to ensure that the cache has been recently found, as nothing is worse than not finding a cache.
This will tell you all the necessary information about the cache: is the cache stroller-friendly, is it available in the winter, or if dogs are allowed at the cache site.
Step # 4 – Start
Hit the start button and you will see a map and a yellow line appear. At one end of the yellow line, you will see a blinking blue dot- this is you and your current location. On the other end of the yellow line, you will see the cache. Simply follow the yellow line. You will know you are going in the right direction when the yellow line gets smaller, and the distance to the cache becomes shorter.
Step # 5 – Find the cache
Here is the fun part! The coordinates will bring you close to the cache but not directly onto the cache itself, therefore you will have to look for the cache. I tell my kids to pretend as if they were hiding a five dollar bill- and ask them where would they put it, and then have them look in that location. Geocaching is an excellent activity for teaching perseverance and problem-solving skills.
Pro tip: While looking for the cache it is important to be as stealthy as possible. You don’t want to give the cache away to people who might be hanging around, as the more people that know about the cache outside the geocaching community, the stronger the risk of the cache being “muggled”.
Step # 6 – Log yourself and put the cache back.
Grab that pen, and fill out the log sheet. Oftentimes caches contain small trinkets inside like a marble, a quarter, stickers, or a toy ring. The community rule is that if you take something from the cache, you must leave something behind for the cache. Lastly, make sure to place the cache back exactly where you found it so the next geocachers can find the cache as well.
I hope you enjoyed my intro into Geocaching. Did I forget any tips or tricks? We are always looking for a good geocaching adventure, so if you are a geocacher, where should our next adventure take us?