It’s the summer and you are looking for free and fun thing to do outdoors with the kids or with friends. Then why not try out Geocaching.
What is geocaching?
Geocaching was originally similar to the 160-year-old game letterboxing, which uses clues and references to landmarks embedded in stories. Geocaching was conceived shortly after the removal of Selective Availability from the Global Positioning Systemon May 2, 2000, because the improved accuracy of the system allowed for a small container to be specifically placed and located. The first documented placement of a GPS-located cache took place on May 3, 2000, by Dave Ulmer of Beavercreek, Oregon.
It has now spread across the globe and has come into the digital realms of Android and IOS, with there even being a geocaching app. This was something that was passed onto me by a friend and I knew I had to try it out!
The in App experience
There are so many parts to geocaching to understand but the app is nice and straightforward. The geocaches come in various levels starting at easy, going up to advanced, with some caches that are split into two pieces (the first area is usually a riddle etc to then get you the the final treasure spot).
You will then be given how far the geocache is away from you, the level of difficulty, how big or small the cache is and information on the area. Normal people are known as muggles (slight tip of the hat to Harry Potter) and they are people to try and avoid/stir any attention from.
Caches do come in all shapes and sizes and usually with the larger caches there will be included both a log book and a small low price item in there, which is classed as your treasure. If you choose to, you can take the treasure inside and replace it with one of your own similar treasures. These are usually fun things such a small toys etc, this is something that makes it super exciting for the kids.
Finding my first cache
My first find was pretty easy, myself and a friend went out at lunchtime for a sunny walk and decided to try it out. The app was very straightforward and with each cache you try out there may be some information on the area. It prompts you when you get close and there is also a built in compass to tell you if you are going in the correct direction (to the meter in fact, which is really useful)
With the world being more and more focused on mobile devices people are spending less and less time being active and in the outside world. With the Geocaching app comes the outside world, technology and spending time with your friends. It is great for families, individuals and of course smaller groups of people and you do feel a sense of being an undercover agent, hunting for treasures (which of course all kids would love to be pirates!). It did also get us out of the office and walk a lot further than we usually would, which is a great way of getting in that extra exercise.
Things to take with you on a cache trip
- A pen to fill in the log
- A small low price item that you may swap out in larger caches
- Enthusiasm and a good state of mind!
That cache feeling
I can only describe it as a treasure hunter come undercover agent. When you are looking for a cache you do have that warm, exciting feeling and when you arrive in an area you do try your hardest not to look like a total crazy person/look out of place. Some of the caches are hidden in quite funny places and we did spend some time looking amongst a tree, which to some people you may look quite crazy, so thats why its better and more fun to go with friends!
Creating your own cache
There are literally thousands of these caches throughout the entire world (I even tested the map to see where else and there were caches hiding and there are even some in the savannahs of Africa). This is down to the very large community of people that utilise that App and enjoy the world of caching. I have not yet created my own cache as I still want to play more to understand.
On a sunny day, whether it be on your work break, on holiday with friends or out on a day trip with family and young children, geocaching is definitely something to try out. It’s fun for everyone, challenges you, keeps you fit and at the end of it all you feel hooked. The caches come in all shapes and sizes and I absolutely love the community of people that create these caches. Caches are hidden in some amazing and clever places, some being easy finds, whilst some involve solving riddles, taking you on more of a treasure hunt. If you’re going with your children, it really does give them that sense of adventure and excitement on going on a treasure hunt, which is a great way to create lasting family memories. My friends kids are absolutely hooked and for her it is a great free day out.
The initial version of the app with the easy caches are free, but the downside is you do have to upgrade to a subscription for anything further. However behind all great ideas are great people and these people definitely do deserve to be backed, so if you do get the geocaching app, please do invest!
If you would like to know more about geocaching check out their website https://www.geocaching.com/play
Or get downloading the App and go out and find some treasure!