Welcome back! Last week we talked about Sleep Apnea. If you missed that blog and would like to catch up, click HERE.
This week, we are going to talk about Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing). Many people know they need to exercise, but the boring grind of running on a treadmill doesn’t excite them. Some people like to hike, but grow weary of seeing the same things over and over. This is where Geocaching comes in! Never heard of it? Heard of it but not sure how to get started? Well, you came to the right blog!
In a nutshell, Geocaching is like a grown-up scavenger hunt. Someone places a “cache” (cash) – this can be super tiny (micro) or fairly large (lock and lockbox/ammo box) – in an area that most people don’t travel. The goal is to get folks to hike to new places and have new experiences.
Sometimes the cache ends up in a cemetery that dates back to the pioneer days. Sometimes it ends at a one-room schoolhouse. Sometimes it’s a lake with a swan on it. Granted, sometimes it’s just in a guardrail by a gravel road, but not usually. The goal is to place the cache in a special place. What makes these caches fun, is that you must be stealth about it. You don’t want people seeing what you are doing, only to steal the cache after you leave, right?
The caches have levels of difficulty. Maybe you can’t walk on uneven ground? There’s a cache for you. Maybe you love to be challenged? There’s a cache for you.
So what’s in the cache, you may ask? Sometimes it’s just a sign-in sheet (you sign your name and can claim the cache online to get stickers and other acknowledgments). Usually, if it’s large enough, you will find things people have left for the children in your group. Stickers, pencils, figurines, special coins, etc. If you take something, you should leave something. My husband and I collect small toys at yard sales to put into the caches we find. Even if we don’t take anything, sometimes the cache is empty, and you don’t want to disappoint the next child that finds it.
The equipment is pretty simple. Your cell phone (if it gets internet) can handle the task, or a little thing called a Garmin GPS device. Click HERE for more information about Garmins.
According to Geocaching 101, there are 8 things to do to begin your hunt.
At its simplest level, geocaching requires these 8 steps:
- Register for a free Basic Membership.
- Visit the “Hide & Seek a Cache” page.
- Enter your postal code and click “search.”
- Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
- Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.
- Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.
- Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location.
- Share your geocaching stories and photos online.
It really is just that simple! Some caches are super easy to find, others take a lot of time and your thinking cap. My husband and I once found one that was in a field. Someone had taken a plastic fern, attached a container to the “root“, and buried the “root” so it looked like a plant growing in the ground! Very clever! Took a long time to find it, but it was worth it. Some caches are “puzzle caches” and you go from place to place, gathering clues until you find the actual physical cache.
Some fun things to strive for is to find a cache in every city or state you visit. We’ve been in a snowstorm in Alaska looking for a cache. One time my husband took on “a cache a day for a month” in order to get a virtual sticker. Only problem? He got stung by a bee the last day and ended up in the ER. As soon as he was allowed to leave, I drove him to an easy cache so he could finish his month! Yes, it can be addicting.
The last little tidbit about caches is the “travel bugs“. You can find one and take it with you, or you can create one and leave it in someone’s cache for someone else to pick up. Travel Bugs are tracked online. For example, we placed a travel bug in a cache at the beach during our honeymoon. We left instructions online that the bug was in place, and if you took it, you had to post a picture of your wedding/honeymoon, and then place it in another cache in another city. That bug traveled all over the world and it was so much fun to see the pictures of other folks in love. Our bug is currently in Europe!
For an example of a typical travel bug, click HERE. You can attach them to fun keyrings if you want to, or just register them as is. They also have travel bug coins that are fun. Here is a link to a picture of another couple who had the same idea, to place a wedding bug in a cache. Click HERE to see their page.
Getting in enough exercise can often be a challenge, but Geocaching is something the entire family can participate in. It’s fun, it’s good for your body, and it’s family-friendly. It’s also a wonderful activity if you need solo time to recharge.
This is an excellent short video on the “how to’s” of geocaching. Enjoy!
If you found this blog to be informative or just a relaxing way to waste time, please do me a favor and share it on your Facebook page? To share, just click on the Facebook icon located right below this paragraph. Much appreciated!