For more than fifteen years geocaching has been giving those both young and old the opportunity to live out their buried-treasure fantasies. And while the word might conjure up ideas of hi-tech equipment and the need for a special set of skills, geocaching is something the whole family can do with minimal spending.
What Is It?
A geocache is actually just the name of the container that the “buried treasure” is found in. They can come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Some geocachers make the search harder by using camouflaged containers or putting them in unexpected places (like in tree branches). The most typical sizes of caches are: micro (smaller than a baseball); small (about one liter); regular (about a couple gallons); and large (larger than a regular). The geocaches are buried in various locations and logged at geocaching.com. Then they await your discovery.
How Do I Start?
All you have to do to start your adventure is head to geocaching.com, where you can register for a free basic membership–and then the world is your treasure map. It might be helpful to remember that the name you register with becomes your geocache name, the one you will use to sign logbooks when you find caches, so make sure you chose something you won’t mind writing down over and over.
Once you enter a zip code, list of geocaches in that area will populate and you can enter the coordinates into your GPS-enabled device–and voila! your epic adventure has begun!
What Should I Bring?
Make sure to do some research about the area you’ll be exploring and dress appropriately. Depending on the length of the hunt, be prepared with snacks and water to keep you full and hydrated along the way. Bring your logbook and a pen to sign the logbook of the cache you’re trying to find.
In addition to logbooks for you to sign, some geocaches have trinkets or other items inside, called Trackables, which is what turns geocaching into a real treasure hunt. If you want to remove an item from the cache, make sure you replace with something of a similar size and value for the next intrepid traveler to find. Some Trackables come with their own information that can be logged so you can see just how far the item has traveled.
Why Do It?
In addition to coming becoming a landlocked pirate, geocaching allows you to join a worldwide community and feel connected to something far greater than yourself. You can make friends in the geocaching forums from all over globe and, at the very least, have some great adventures.