Did you ever search for buried treasure as a child? Collect shells and rocks picked up on the beach? Try to dig a hole to the other side of the earth? Geocaching is a treasure hunt for grown-ups, so if you answered yes to any of the above questions, it may quickly become your new favorite hobby.
|Geocache hidden in a piece of wood|
A simple hand-held GPS unit is all you need to start Geocaching. You can look for something as fancy as you like, but the only requirement to use your GPS unit for Geocaching is the ability to program coordinates into it. Expect to pay about $150.00 for a basic hand-held unit.
In order to find co-ordinates for caches in your area, sign up for a free membership to www.geocaching.com. Geocaching.com's free membership gives you access to hundreds of caches in your area.
Finding your first cache
Some caches require you to solve a riddle that provides you with GPS coordinates. Once you have your coordinates, and any accompanying instructions (such as property boundaries, or park hours of operation, etc), head out to find your cache!
There are a few rules to remember while hunting for a cache:
Ask Permission: Sometimes an individual will put a cache on private property--in this case, always ask permission before starting your hunt. Always take care to leave the area as you found it, don't scatter trash along your way, and be respectful of the property owner.
Walk Friendly: A cache might be tucked into a hollow log, taped to the bottom of a bench, or disguised as a bird-feeder, but there's no need to disturb the ground or your surroundings more than it takes to look carefully. If you're on a hiking or walking path, don't venture off and start blazing your own trail.
Take Something Leave Something: Once you've found the cache, be sure to sign the logbook. This will let the cache owner know how many people have visited your site. Many caches contain coins or other small trinkets. If you take something out of the cache, be sure to leave something of your own behind.
Some items in a cache are called Travel Bugs, or trackable items. Travel Bugs are registered at geocaching.com. Pick it up, and deposit it in the next cache you find. You can also place a Travel Bug in a cache and request that it be transported to a specific place. If you have a friend on the East Coast, you can send her a small item, track its progress across the United States, and let her know when it reaches a cache near her location.
Geocaching is a great group adventure, and there are caches hidden all over the world—on your next big travel adventure, take along your GPS, and go on a treasure hunt!