Raising two boys isn’t always easy. Finding something for two boys to do with their mother that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg is even more difficult. We stumbled upon GeoCaching through a friend and decided to give it a try. We were hooked. My boys, their cousins, my sisters and family members and friends would join us on our adventures to hunt these treasures abound. What is geocaching you ask?
Geocaching is an increasingly popular, inclusive, fun and healthy pastime for individuals of all ages. It is also great for groups like families, friends, classes and youth groups working as teams. The sport combines technology with adventure and nature, a combination that some people didn’t think was possible. The basic core consists of using a hand held GPS receiver unit to guide you to a destination, where a hidden container (or “cache”) is stored. We use our phone. Once found, you log your visit in an included logbook, and optionally trade one of the many contained “goodies” (or swag as we call it) for one of your own.
Geocaching is real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS enabling devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
Geocaching started in 2010 by a man named Dave Ulmer, a computer consultant who wanted to test the accuracy of GPS by hiding a navigation target in the woods. He called the idea “Great American GPS Stash Hunt”. The idea was simple: Hide a container out in the woods and note the coordinates with a GPS unit. The finder would then have to located the container with only the use of his or her GPS receiver. The rules for the finder were simple. “Take some stuff, leave some stuff.”
On May 3rd he placed his own container, a black bucket, in the woods near Beavercreek, Oregon. Along with a logbook and pencil, he left prize items including videos, books, software and a slingshot. He shared the waypoint of his “stash” with the online community. And there we have it. So started this mass treasure hunt.
The name GeoCachiing originated by Matt Sum who was on the hunt for Mr. Ulmers treasure box. The prefix geo, for Earth, was used to describe the global nature of the activity. Caching, from the word cache, has two different meanings, which makes it very appropriate for the activity. A french word invented in 1797, the original definition referred to a hiding place someone would use to temporarily store items. The word cache stirs up visions of pioneers, gold miners, and even pirates. Today the word is still even used in the news to describe hidden weapons locations.
The second use of cache has more recently been used in technology. Memory cache is computer storage that is used to quickly retrieve frequently used information. Your web browser, for example, stores images on disk so you don’t have to retrieve the same image every time you visit similar pages. The combination of Earth, hiding, and technology made geocaching an excellent term for the activity.
So you might ask yourself, “where do I begin to hunt for these treasures placed all around the tri cities area and beyond, globally?”
First you will need to download the app onto your smart phone and create a login.
At its simplest level, geocaching requires these 8 steps:
1. Register for a free Basic Membership. (this is what we use and find many caches throughout the area.)
2. Visit the “Hide & Seek a Cache” page.
3. Enter your postal code and click “search.”
4. Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
5. Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.
6. Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.
7. Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location.
8. Share your geocaching stories and photos online.
There are many other levels to the game. You can find out more in great detail by visiting www.geocaching.com
You’ll be surprised at all the many hidden treasures (Caches) that are right in your backdoor and you never knew.
As the weather warms up, go enjoy the outdoors and get your geocaching on. Who knows, we just might run in to you. Do you geocache?