Have you tried GeoCaching?
Looking for a highly addictive, enjoyable, and healthy pastime that can be enjoyed by the whole family?
Why not try GeoCaching?
If you find yourself on a quiet Sunday afternoon looking for something simple, enjoyable and exciting to do with the kids that doesn’t attract a hefty price tag, then the practically free hobby of GeoCaching may be for you.
GeoCaching was established in the year 2000 as the “GPS Stash Hunt” – whereby forum user David Ulmer posted the GPS coordinates to a hidden treasure trove in an internet group, suggesting that members seek to find the stash. He kept the rules pretty simple: “Take some stuff, leave some stuff”. From this the concept of GeoCaching was born.
The etymology of the term “geocache” serves a dual purpose: it joins the prefix “geo-” (meaning “Earth”) and “cache” – which refers both to the Old French word for a temporary hiding place, and the modern computer term “cache” from which information is quickly retrieved. This together quite appropriately describes a “geocache”; a hidden storage place on earth that contains information (and sometimes even more!).
How do you say it, you might ask? The correct pronunciation according to the official page is “cash” as in currency, although continuing the ever-paralleled American/Australian use of English, most Australian participants say “cayshe”.
GeoCaching today is driven by two forces – a GPS enabled device (such as a NavMan or Smartphone) and the official geocaching website and app (available for both Android and iPhone).
The object of GeoCaching is to use the App on your phone (or coordinates from the website in a GPS device) and explore areas to find these hidden containers. They are ranked on the website by their difficulty, the intensity of the terrain of their surroundings and their actual container size. Caches range from the minuscule (“nanos” – about the size of a pen lid) to the huge (a”large” cache is about the size of a tacklebox or ammo-can).
Reasons Why Go GeoCaching
It’s a win-win situation for everyone
When geocaching, families may work together to solve the puzzle and find the hidden cache. It is far more probable that you and your family will take pleasure in the activity and benefit from the positive effects of becoming closer to one another if you all concentrate on attempting to locate a cache. It is also far less probable that the children will tumble out.
It’s always a good idea for families to get some fresh air and exercise by doing something active outside, especially if it helps them stay fit and healthy.
It is easy on one’s wallet
Many of the features on the GeoCaching website are completely free. Although there are a variety of optional features for which you may pay more, the overall cost of the activity for groups is rather reasonable.
Your typical clothing and footwear for walking or jogging, such as the finest hiking shoes, are the only additional items of gear that you will need.
To take up a new adventure
You should begin your geocaching adventure by selecting a geocache search that is rated as easy, and then as your experience and fitness level increase, you should go to geocaches that are rated as more difficult. Because there are seemingly never-ending problems, there will always be fresh paths for you to explore.
Nourishing the mind as well as the body
When you go on a treasure hunt, you are not “just” exercising your body by walking or jogging, but you are also engaging your mind since you have to think critically in order to find the hidden caches.
The excitement of making a discovery
There is always an element of excitement involved in locating your cache. You should crack open the cache and investigate its contents to see who has previously registered their discovery. In most cases, the caches include additional items, such as miniature treasures.
A day in the sun beats a day in a dark, stuffy room any day
Spending time in natural settings, particularly outdoors, has been proved in a great deal of studies to be beneficial to both one’s physical and mental health. There are very few situations in which you would be better off spending the day indoors as opposed to going for a walk or run outside, and those that do exist are quite unusual.
To get further knowledge on a locality
A quest for a geocache will lead you to new locations, regardless of whether you are looking for one in your immediate vicinity or are traveling to an unfamiliar region or area. As you journey to the cache, you will visit new locations and come across a variety of things along the way.
It’s happening all across the globe
It is estimated that there are millions of geocaches hidden away in various parts of the globe. You are becoming a part of a big community of people who are interested in finding hidden caches, and there are always new ones to look for.
There are also geocaching activities held in many different locations, giving you the opportunity to meet new people who share your interests and form new friendships.
Finding a geocache will provide you a reason to go outside and exercise, whether you’re having trouble getting yourself to go for a walk or a run. Walking the path will reward you with advantages, such as greater physical fitness if you do it.
It’s both educational and enjoyable
You will learn how to travel to a site if you participate in geocaching. You will need a hand-held mobile device that is GPS-enabled, such as a smartphone, in order to complete this.
This will serve as your mechanism for navigating the area. You may use this to get the official Geocaching app, which is completely free, and then select a geocache to search for. You may use the geocache coordinates as a starting point for practicing map reading and compass navigation if you’re interested in learning how to do so. This is a smart move to make if you are going to a cache that is located farther away from civilization or if you are going to be venturing out into the countryside while the weather is bad.
When you are out looking for geocaches, it is a lot of fun to learn how to read a map and navigate the area.
Why Not Try GeoCaching? Here’s What You’ll Need
- Sturdy shoes
- A writing implement (a key-ring pen comes in handy) to add your username to the log book inside.
- Some trinkets to support the ethos of the GeoCaching community that “if you take something out, you put something back in”. A good suggestion for items to leave might be toy cars, animal figurines, cool-shaped erasers or party favours like balloons or blowers.
- A fully charged phone/device. Nothing is more devastating than getting within 100m of the location and seeing the dreaded “no battery” appear across your screen.
- A sense of adventure and encouragement for the young ones.
In next to no time you’ll be experiencing the pleasant rush of adrenalin you get from finding that small container hidden craftily underneath the seat of the bus stop, or pulling out a lunchbox full of the types of small tokens kids delight in. GeoCaching is enjoyed across the globe by the young, the old, Scouting and Guides groups and sporting teams. It is truly a hobby that nearly anyone can enjoy.
Another aspect of GeoCaching that amplifies the fun is that it is supposed to be done out of the plain sight of non-cachers. Non-cachers are warmly referred to as “muggles” in the caching community, thus ninja-like skills are sometimes required to nab the cache without being seen (as well as maintain your composure and excitement when opening it as to not draw attention).
You will probably be surprised to discover just how many caches are within walking distance of your home, or around your local parks and playgrounds. Caches have to be on public property (unless permission to place in a private location has been granted) and at least 100 yards apart from each other.
Within a 2km radius of my home, we found 12 geogaches that we’d previously been entirely oblivious to.
The only word of warning you’ll need is how addictive the hobby can become. If you’re not afraid to be that weird friend who says “I’m just ducking over here for a moment” whilst stealthily glancing at your phone during lunch in a different neighbourhood, then you’ve got nothing to lose!
The website can be found at: www.geocaching.com and the app is available on Android and IOS in both Free (Geocaching Intro) and Premium (however plenty of people GeoCache solely using the free app). To make the experience authentic, sign up for free on the website for your own username, and don’t forget to log that you’ve found the find with a pleasant: “TFTC” (Thank-you For The Cache).