Caching in on Fun

Has anyone ever told you to go take a hike?  Have you considered actually doing it?  Do you enjoy scavenger hunts?  If you answered yes to these questions, then geocaching is for you!

Geocaching is a scavenger hunt appropriate for adults or anyone who can follow a GPS.  The basic premise is that somewhere out in the woods, someone hid a treasure chest (or geocache), and in that chest is a collection of random goods including anything ranging from a heart necklace to a plastic stegosaurus.  The GPS coordinates will help you get to the area, and then it’s your job to find the actual geocache.

Caching in on Fun

Geocache hidden under a rock

In order to begin your geocaching adventure, you must look up coordinates in your local area.  The website is a great place to start.  You can create a free account, which allows access to a number of coordinates in your area.  Once you’ve completed a search in your requested zip code, you’ll be able to choose your adventure based on the difficulty of the search, the difficulty of maneuvering through the surrounding terrain, and the size of the geocache itself.  You can also download the geocaching app onto your smartphone.

Some GPS coordinates are only accessible once you’ve solved a puzzle.  When my fiancé, Perry, and I went on our first geocaching adventure, we had to think back to our Hebrew school days when our puzzle asked us to translate Hebrew letters to their corresponding numbers in the alphabet.  The answer resulted in a series of numbers that led us to the geocache.

Caching in on Fun

Perry and Allie spot a geocache

Once you have your coordinates, you are almost ready to go.  You need a GPS device or your smartphone with a full battery.  You may also want to bring some bear mace just in case you run into any geocaching bears.  You should also pack some items that you want to leave in the geocache.  The rule of thumb is, take one, leave one.  If you take an item from the box, then you must leave something in its place.  However, not all geocaches have items.  Some contain just logbooks and others contain tasks, such as “Draw a self-portrait.”

Caching in on Fun

Here is a look at the inside of a geocache along with some of its treasures

Once you discover the geocache, you sign the logbook and then perform your exchange of goods or task.  You then must put the geocache in the exact same spot where you found it.  When you get home, you can log back into the geocaching website and enter your day’s progress.

Geocaching is a great way to get some outdoor exercise while still having a goal that you’re trying to achieve (in addition to burning calories!).  It’s also a fun activity for friends and couples who are looking to try something new.  Be warned, however, that you must be patient when reaching your destination.  The coordinates will bring you to the location, but not the actual geocache itself.  Luckily, Perry is the more patient partner ; he really scoured the area for the box, while my dog and I played fetch with an unending supply of sticks.

Caching in on Fun

This is a micro geocache.  We were never able to access the message inside
because the previous geocacher screwed the geocache back into the rock too tightly.

Start collecting some coordinates and treasures now, so when the warm weather rolls around, you’ll be ready to get out there and begin your geocaching adventure!

Related: Geocachers: A Secret Society Stalking Your Streets

About the Author

Stacey Spector

I’m probably one of the busiest people you’ll ever meet. As a high school teacher by day and a grad school student/cook/athlete by night, I appreciate any technology that can help make my life more manageable. I also revel in anything that provides an escape from the world of grading and writing essays.

I’m interested in using technology in the classroom and have vowed to never become that teacher who can’t keep up with her students’ cool new gadgets and sneaky ways of doing shady things during class.

  • I keep thinking that it would be fun to try geocaching; thank you for reminding me of what I am missing! =)

    • Stacey Spector

      No problem. Let me know how it goes!

  • We do loads of hikes in the summer and maybe this year we’ll give it a shot … or I can do it as a diversion as I start trail runs in the spring preparing for an Ultra …

    • Stacey Spector

      Absolutely! Good luck with your training.

  • I occasionally dabble in geocaching. In fact, back when I was but a reader at Gear Diary in 2008 I won an ETEN X800 because of the antics of a failed geocaching mission ( 🙂

    • Stacey Spector

      That’s great! The ETEN X800 is more valuable than anything you’ll find in a geocache.

  • Perry B

    That micro-cache underneath the rock took literally 45 minutes of walking in circles around the waypoint.

    • Stacey Spector

      Yes, it did. We’ll be avoiding micros on our next geocaching adventure.

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