If your an adventurous person and you’ve ever wanted to go on a treasure hunt, it’s now a possibility thanks to a fairly new option called geocaching. Geocaching is a outdoor game where you use a GPS enabled smartphone or device to locate a hidden container called a trackable. The level of difficulty ranges from easy to extreme and there are several thousand of geocaches hidden around the world. I’ve been geocaching for about 3 years and I’ve found about 113 so far. Here’s a beginners guide to starting your geocaching treasure hunt.
Step 1. Register– The registration can be found on the geocaching website and the basic membership is free. You’ll need to do this to search for caches and then later log in to comment, review, and log your finds. If you want more out of your membership, you have the option to upgrade to a premium membership for $29.99 to get exclusive features like more caches and exclusive information.
Step 2. Locate– Search on your computer or using your phone for nearby geocaching sites. Just for fun, whenever I travel I like to search my location and see what’s around me. I’ve never been in a place where several weren’t close by.
Step 3. Map It– Copy down the coordinates and enter the location into your phone or GPS device to see the direction you need to be heading and approximate distance from your current position. Make sure to note the hints that are given and the level of difficulty for the best experience.
Step 4. Track It– Follow your GPS to that location by either driving, biking, or walking. Many caches are located along bike paths and mountain trails, making the journey there interesting as well.
Step 5. Search– When you’ve arrived at your destination it’s time to start the hunt! Remember, even though you have the location of the trackable it could be hidden anywhere around you. Some caches are hidden particularly well and could be in odd places like fake rocks, the top of trees, or even buried under a layer of brush.
Step 6. Record– Once you’ve found your geocache look inside and remove the paper. Sign your name and the date and take note of all the people that have found this cache before.
Step 7. Re-Hide– It’s important to replace the trackable back in the exact way you found it so the next person can locate it in the same manner that you did. Don’t keep the container or move it from the original coordinates, keeping it from being found.
Step 8. Log– Log on to the geocaching website and share your experience with others. If you didn’t find it or the cache was damaged it’s important to let others know so that they don’t hunt for an invalid cache. This will also record your progress and let you know how many you’ve found and how long you’ve been looking.
While you can always just search for hidden caches, it’s also fun to be a hider and plant a trackable for someone else to find. When you create your cache provide accurate location info with some hints, then log onto the website and register your cache. Enjoy reading about other peoples search for your location and their review of your hiding spot.
Remember, while geocaching can be fun for all ages it’s important to note that some on the higher difficulty level can be dangerous. For example, some of the most famous extreme caches have been hidden on the faces of cliffs, under bridges, and deep in caves. If your hunt seems like it will take you more than a few hours to find make sure you let someone know where you’re going and when you plan on being back. Follow these eight steps to begin your next outdoor adventure and see what you can find. Have fun!