Geocaching is a super fun game created in 2000 by a guy in Oregon. When GPS was created, he thought it would be really fun to go hide a little treasure in the middle of the woods in Oregon, post the coordinates to a chat room, and see what happened. What happened is everyone totally fell in love with the game and now there are over a MILLION caches hidden all over the world (possibly very close to where you are right now!). You can find a guide here. I've known about geocaching for a while but didn't have the funds for a GPS unit. Since the advent of smart phones, there are now even more ways to play. I have an iPhone and bought the geocaching app for my phone. It's $10, but so totally worth it. (You could use only the website, for free, and map out your caches, but I find that sort of difficult.) I go out at least once a week and hunt down anywhere from 1-10 caches. Someday, I hope to go on a multi-day cache adventure. I write about all of my cache adventures on my blog, under the tag, geocaching.
Caches come in all shapes and sizes, but the one thing they all my contain is a log book:
The log book is the essential part of the cache. In order to log any cache online (or via the app), you MUST SIGN THE PHYSICAL LOG BOOK!!! Some cache owners even check their books and will delete a posting to the website, if you haven't signed the physical log. As I said before, geocaches come in all shapes and sizes. There are teeny, tiny ones. There are REALLY BIG ones. There are even caches without a physical location. I prefer the physical locations. Geocaches also have many purposes....
People cache for different reasons. There are caches created to be quick and easy; these can often be found in parking lots near shopping centers or restaurants (called "cache and dash"). Some people cache to go to new places. You can discover little parks in your region or check out new neighborhoods by going out geocaching. Some people like the outdoorsy quality of caches. Caches range in difficulty of 1-5 with a terrain rating of 1-5. So, you could go for leisurely, easy access caches or more difficult ones. In town near where I live, there are a series of caches in the tops of trees!! Some people are into the learning aspect and enjoy caches set near historical markers and other landmarks. I personally love cemetery caches and am not really interested in the more difficult caches. Since I tend to go for the easier caches, most of the ones I find are not super hidden...
One of these books is a log book.
Geocaching can really be for anyone : urban peeps, town dwellers, history buffs, adventurous types, even fair weather cachers. I've found it to be a really engaging and cost-free activity. I can easily fill a day out at some parks, looking for caches, instead of at the mall or in the movie theater or bored at home. The app I use, associated with geocaching.com (the image at the top of this post) is really fun. You simply click "find nearby caches" and then follow the map. (I meant to take some screen shots to show you, but my phone totally died on me.) It's kind of my personal goal to spread the word to my friends, because I've found it to be such a fun activity. It amazes me that all of these little treasures are hidden everywhere, and all you need is an app (or a map from the website and a GPS device) and a desire to go find them! There's also a social aspect with cache events and meet-ups, if that's your thing.
So, I really encourage any of you readers with a smart phone or GPS device to get the app or hit up the web site and go find a cache near you. You really might be surprised at how close the nearest cache is! When I logged on, the first cache I found on my own, was right down the block from where I lived. Now, I'm always checking my phone to see if there is a nearby cache. Even when I'm out running errands, I'll do a quick search...so many times there is a cache right in the parking lot or grassy area of where I am. And I've had so much fun going out and signing logs. I've now cached in FOUR STATES! I just want to go out and find ALL THE CACHES!!!
(I'm so happy that Fenn decided to post about this hobby, because it's super interesting to me. I'd never heard about it before I read her blog! Be sure to pop over there and take a peek at her cute new blog design. Happy birthday, Fenn -- I'm so honored that you decided to party over here on your big day! If anyone else is interested in guest posting, feel free to email me: theloudermouth AT gmail DOT com)