Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game in which participants follow a set of GPS coordinates to find a hidden container, or cache. A number of websites list locations where caches can be found. The website geocaching.com has almost two million cache coordinates. When you discover a container, you sign the logbook inside, exchange a trinket for one of those left by previous players, return the container to its exact location, and go on to search for another. Afterward, many geocaching players share stories and photos online.
The two essential things you need to get started are cache coordinates and a GPS device or GPS-enabled mobile phone. A topographical map of the area and a compass are also recommended. If you are geocaching in the countryside or wilderness, you should have sturdy hiking boots, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellant, a water bottle, a first-aid kit, extra batteries for your devices, a camera, a notebook, and pens.
The main guideline of geocaching is to be considerate of other players. Never remove or relocate a cache. Leave it exactly where you found it so others can enjoy the hunt as well. When you take a trinket, leave another of equal or greater value. Leave the environment better than you found it by collecting and disposing of trash you find along the way. Respect private property and register and obtain permits if necessary when geocaching on state or federal land.
Caches are hidden all over the world. Containers vary in size from micro-caches as small as a thimble or film container to larger receptacles such as plastic Tupperware containers, ammunition boxes, buckets with lids, or fake rocks or logs with hidden compartments. Some caches are in plain sight, while others are hidden by sticks, rocks, or bark. Some are in rugged terrain accessed only by rigorous hiking and climbing, while others are in city parks, vacant lots, and even underwater. There are so many cache coordinates available online that you can choose the type of location that appeals to you.
Besides traditional geocaching, there are a number of variations on the activity. In mystery or puzzle caching, you have to acquire information or solve puzzles in order to locate the cache. In multi-caching, you go from one stage to another, finding a clue at each location that leads you on to the next until you find the container with the logbook. A night cache is a multi-stage activity in which you follow reflectors by flashlight to the ultimate location. When you find a moving or traveling cache at the listed coordinates, instead of putting it back, you re-hide it at a new location and then post the new coordinates.
The most spectacular and inaccessible cache site is undoubtedly the one located at the International Space Station. Geocaching is becoming popular with scuba divers as well, and underwater cache sites exist in a number of countries, including South Africa, Spain, Indonesia, and the United States. Some underwater caches can be accessed by canoe or kayak and others you can reach with a light dive, but the deepest caches require full scuba equipment. Finding other challenging caches could involve rock climbing, mountain climbing, snowshoeing, or extended multi-day hikes into rough wilderness areas. Geocachers compete with each other to place caches in unique locations. In 2012, Disneyland shut down for hours because a cache placed inside the entrance triggered a bomb scare.
Whether you prefer to search close to home or explore exotic locations, geocaching is an exciting and fun outdoor activity.
This article was written by Sheldon Armstrong, a regular contributor here at INFOtainment News. He writes this on behalf of Body Glove Tours, your number one choice when traveling to Hawaii when looking for a great way to unwind after a day of Geocaching or a great adventure on its own. Check out their website for more information!