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Geocaching 101

Picture of geocacher discovering a cache.
Courtesy of Garmin
Picture of a geocache.
Geocache

Geocaching is and outdoor adventure game, which uses the Global Positioning System. Find out more about becoming a geocacher right here.

Geocaching 101 - What Is Geocaching?

Geocaching is an outdoor adventure game, which uses the Global Position System and other navigation techniques to find a hidden "cache", which might be placed anywhere in the world. A geocache could be hidden just about anywhere - a park, under a rock off a hiking trail or inside a telephone booth in a large city. Caches are usually in a small, waterproof container and contain a logbook to record finders' visits and a few trinkets. The locations of these geocaches are given as latitude and longitude coordinates and posted on the Geocaching Web site at www.geocaching.com. At the site, you'll find coordinates for nearly 250,000 geocaches in more than 200 countries around the world. These caches can be found by locating the coordinates using a GPS unit (an electronic device that can find your approximate location on the planet).

Geocaching 101 - Finding A Cache

  • The first thing you'll need to get started in geocaching is a GPS unit. You can find a basic one at most outdoors stores or a GPS Solutions store for around $100. You should also bring along a compass, a map of the area you're searching, a pen to write in the log book and an item to place in the geocache.
  • Go to the official Geocaching Web Site at www.geocaching.com with your parents or another adult and select a geocache that's in your area, using the search tool on the site. All the caches have a description and a difficulty rating, to help you get started. For your first hunt, you and your parents should pick a cache that has an easy rating and isn't too difficult to find.
  • Once you've selected a cache to find, use your GPS unit to navigate to the location coordinates, which will be within a few feet of the cache. The final 30 to 100 feet is the hardest part of the hunt. The cache could be hidden under a rock or in a treep stump. Try to think, "If I were hiding a cache, where would I put it?".
  • Once you've found the cache, write your name in the log book and replace the cache where you found it. If you take an item from the cache, replace it with something else. You likely won't find anything of great value in a cache - but what's inside the cache isn't really as important as the thrill of the hunt.

Geocaching 101 - Helpful Tips

  • Always geocache with a friend. It's more fun and geocaching with another set of eyes is safer and makes it easier to track down the cache.
  • Tell someone else where you're going and when you plan to be back.
  • Know your surroundings. Many geocaches are hidden off the beaten path, so look out for wildlife, dangerous footing or other possible hazards.
  • Cache in, trash out. Bring a garbage bag along on your hunt and pick up any garbage you see along the trail. This will help keep the "geocache play area" clean.
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