Outdoor Adventure: Geocaching

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Geocache

If you’ve never heard of Geocaching, it can best be described as an international, outdoor treasure hunt and anyone can participate! During the pandemic, it’s difficult to find fun activities that don’t involve groups but are still engaging. This is a fun way to teach your kid(s) or a kids’ organization (such as Boy or Girl Scouts, Big Brother and Big Sister, etc.) about how to use maps, compasses, and locate sites using latitude and longitude!

Kids enjoy geocaching too!

In this edition of Outdoor Adventure, we’ll explore the wide and wonderful world of Geocaching, how and where to do it, what to bring, and the tools and apps you’ll need to find TREASURE. (Along with some pro-tips from a veteran Geocacher, “Sabrina”.)

 

Local Geocacher that goes by “Sassy”. Our expert!

A brief overview of how to join a geocache treasure hunt:

You can do this ANYWHERE! There are caches that cover the globe in every country in the world!

First, you’ll join the club! Next, you’ll “seek” a cache. Once you’ve joined, you can click here to receive the location of a treasure depending on your desired location. Set off to find the cache! There are different types of “prizes”. Sometimes there are “EarthCaches” where the person who set up the coordinates has found a beautiful and magical place to explore. Often, there is a thoughtful, scientific questions associated with an EarthCache. One of the most common (and most simple for a beginner) is a “traditional cache”. This is where there will be a small prize hidden in a tree trunk, under a rock, and in a small container of some kind. That is usually yours to keep as SWAG*!

SWAG

*Important note: SWAG is different from a “trackable”. A trackable will be an item that has a code. The original trackable creator will follow the code to see if, when, and where the trackable travels. Ideally, if you are not planning on moving the trackable to another cache, you will leave it in its place.

 

TRACKABLES

In order to locate a geocache, you’ll likely need the following tools/supplies:

-GPS device (your phone is a great starting place! You can eventually graduate to a map, compass, etc for playing on “hard mode’, or use an actual GPS device.)

-If you’re doing a “traditional cache”, you’ll need to bring a small prize to replace what you take, ie, “SWAG”. Sabrina has had poker chips with her Musical Mickey tattoo and Cacher name made. That shows you can make the cache prizes as personalized as you’d like! Similar to real-life Pokemon. You’ve got to catch them all!

-Bug Spray and Sunscreen

-Appropriate clothing for the weather

-Water and snack depending on the length of your hike

-Pens and or pencils with a notebook (preferably a waterproof log book)

-Duck tape and a spare container (Like a Tupperware)

-Sabrina recommends that you also bring tweezers and a 9V battery thanks to a special Geocacher that goes by “WV Tim”, if you’re geocaching near VA or WV.

Geo-Go-Bag

Here are some apps to help!

  1. Geocaching. Very straight forward and perfect for new Geocachers!
  2. Cachly. Works with an Apple Watch but is a paid app.
  3. i:geo. Doesn’t work on iOS but is a free app.
  4. Of course, you can always just use the geocaching site!

Some more advice from the Geocaching Queen Sabrina:

  1. Find a local geocaching facebook page. Pre-Covid, there were often Meet and Greets! These would come in handy: for instance, if you were stuck on a “PuzzleCache”, you might find someone else trying to figure out the puzzle as well, and you’d be able to figure it out together.
  2. Try finding a bunch before trying to lay a Cache of your own. You want to be well-versed in how they work so you can make yours both unique and able to be found correctly.
  3. Keep small children’s toys or puzzles in your back pack. It’s a game that’s enjoyed by many children, so having small SWAG available to place into a treasure box will ensure a positive experience for the next Cacher.

As with anything when you first start, keep it simple. Grab a cute keychain, a small card game, stickers, or another equally small but more personal item. Sign up for your account. Look up a nearby cache and set off! You’ll have to let us know if you find anything noteworthy.

Don’t go harmin’ our Garmin, Mr. Chipmunk!

(*We are not receiving any financial compensation for sharing information about Geocaching. We just thought it might be something fun for you and your families to enjoy!)

 

 

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