Geocaching is a fun pastime/sport that is growing by leaps and bounds. Geocaching.com , the main website for the pastime puts it this way:
“Geocaching is the real-world treasure hunt that’s happening right now, all around you. There are 2,190,817 active geocaches and over 6 million geocachers worldwide.”
All you need to participate is a GPS unit and a free membership to geocaching.com so you can get the information you need to go ‘caching’.
The unit my wife and I use is the Garmin eTrex Summit HC Handheld GPS Receiver. The price might put you off but I bought a used unit and have had NO problems with it.
I will say that I also used it last summer to mark the ‘hot spots’ where we caught trophy fish on Lac Seul near Sioux Lookout, Ontario (see Fishing In Canada).
I have found caches stuffed into the top of a rotting fence post, a white plastic film canister attached to a white plastic fence post with velcro, hidden under a raccoon skeleton behind a guard rail, in a magnetic holder on a bridge walkway (2), hidden in a fake pine cone, stashed in a cedar stump, hidden under a bit of bark pulled away from a tree, in a magnetic key holder painted to look like part of an electrical box and stuck on the back of a road sign metal post…..just about anyplace you can possibly imagine.
If you hide a cache and people can or cannot find it they will make a log entry at Geocaching.com regarding the cache. If you get too many ‘did not find’ entries it’s time to go out and take a look, which is a good idea to do periodically anyway. If it is gone, just replace. In this instance ‘cachers’ say the cache has been ‘muggled’ (from the Harry Potter movies).
The Geocaching site has a lot of information for you to use to find these places. You will get a map, information about the relative size of the cache, GPS coordinates (which you can download to your Garmin via your PC), and you can get an encrypted clue. You don’t have to decrpyt the clue if you want to find it on your own. Sometimes the clues are tougher to figure out than actually finding the cache.
Here you will find the pages from Geocaching.com relative to my first cache, ‘It’s All About Water’.
If you decide to hide a cache of your own, you need to submit it to Geocaching.com…they will review it and see if it meets their requirements and then assign it a cache designation and publish it on their website. If they have a problem with it, i.e. too close to another cache, or on private property or whatever they will let you know so you can fix the problem.
They also allow you to sign up for emails that show new caches as being the ‘First To Find’ is considered an honor.
My ‘find’ count is 25….but, currently one cacher has found over 90,000 caches and hidden 753!!! Amazing…he/she must do absolutely NOTHING but geocache…that is a bit extreme for me!!
In any event, if you decide to take up this hobby/sport, have a great time…you get to exercise your mind as well as your body and it is a great way to spend some pleasant time outdoors.
Geocaching.com Main Web Site
Wiki Geocaching lengthy explanation of Geocaching