For those who haven’t heard of it, geocaching is basically a GPS-based scavenger hunt. People hide something – a cache, as it is known – and post the GPS coordinates online. You then enter said coordinates into your own GPS receiver and navigate to the location. Some caches are easy to find once at the coordinates; others are a little more challenging. Often there is a small “prize” included for the first to find it.
There are a few variations on the theme. Some people hide a series of caches tied to a specific theme. Others may hide a series of caches that are meant to be found in a certain order, each cache holding a clue to find the next – these are known as puzzle caches. There are also virtual caches, which don’t have a physical cache hidden. Instead, the destination, or some feature thereof, is the prize.
The type of cache described in the introduction is known as a traditional cache. These comprise a large majority of geocaches, and can range in size from a small lock-n-lock container to a large ammunition canister (available at most army surplus stores).
Some of the more challenging caches are very small canisters or containers hidden in the woods. Called microcaches, these can be very difficult to find when hidden well, or somewhat easy to find – it all depends on who did the hiding and who is doing the finding.
The best place I know of to get coordinates and other geocaching information is geocaching.com. It is a free service, but if you pay for the premium service you will have access to all of the caches – some people hide geocaches intended for geocaching.com premium members only.
Hopefully this has been helpful. I haven’t been actively caching for a while now because of school. But as I do get out there, I will post more. Feel free to contact me with questions, or if you want to go caching.
If you like hiking, geocaching is a great companion activity. I like to take my GPSr when hiking, so this just provides something else to do along the way. Living at the base of the Rocky Mountains, I take any excuse I can to get out there. You should, too!