Geocaching

Some of you may have heard of geocaching.  For those who haven’t, here’s an overview.  Geocaching is an outdoor activity where people use GPS devices to try to find hidden containers.  These containers are hidden all over the world.  People put little trinkets in the containers.  If you find a container (called a cache), you can trade trinkets with the trinkets in the cache.  To play this game, you go to Geocaching.com to find coordinates to caches near your location.  The cache pages have a map to the general location, an indication of how big the cache box is, how difficult the terrain is, and how hard it is to find the cache.  It also usually includes information about where to park, a description of the area and a hint to help you find it (the hint is encrypted so it doesn’t show unless you want the hint).

Now you may be asking, why are you telling me about geocaching on a travel site?  There are a few reasons.  It’s a fun activity to do to break up long car rides.  It allows the kids to get up and run around in nature while searching “for treasure”.  It’s also great to do when you’re on vacation.  You’ll find that a lot of caches are hidden at parks or other natural areas.  People typically hid caches in their favorite locations around their town, so it’s a good way to find the best locations around a town.

My parents have been doing geocaching for years.  They especially like to take the grandkids out on “a treasure hunt”.  We did 2 caches this weekend with them this weekend and the kids were begging to do more.

It doesn’t take much equipment to do geocaching.  You need a handheld GPS or the equivalent.  Most smart phones have GPS built into them and you can get GPS apps from the app stores.  I have an Android phone and use c:geo.  It’s a free app and it makes geocaching so easy.  It allows us to do geocaching without any preparation because there’s an option to find caches nearby.  After you decide on a cache you want to find, you can tell it to give you turn by turn directions to the cache (that gets you to where you need to park).  When you get to the parking area, you change it from turn by turn directions to navigate using a compass.  The iPhone has similar applications.  Here’s a list of some of them.

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