Happy Earth Day!
Last year, during the summer, our local public library held a small workshop on geocaching. I’d heard about it from few parents but didn’t have time to research myself. We learned what geocaching is, downloaded the app, and searched and found our very first cache during the workshop.
It sounded really fun, mostly for kids but adults as well. Geocaching is basically a modern-day, global treasure hunt.
You preferably need a smartphone or you can look for caches online, note the coordinates and use a GPS to find them.
Directions to get started:
1. Download Geocaching app. There is a free version and a pro version for $9.99. We are currently using the free version and it’s working for us.
2. Create an account online or on the app..
3. Validate your account through an email you receive.
4. You can also work on geocaching.com.
5. Keep a pen with you for logging purposes at all times.
6. Prepare a bag of treasures just in case you get a big cache with treasures in it. I used small toys we had at home from birthday and special day goodie bags. We mostly found microcaches (see explanation below) which only have the log paper in it.
7. Go to app and start looking for caches near you.
8. Read the description: “about”, hint and the activity log. You better learn as much as you can about the whereabouts before setting out look for the geocache.
9. You can visit the website to see posted photos of the geocachers who have previously located the cache to know what the cache looks like. Or not, to add more mystery to your search. You’ll have a better idea about the types of caches and containers as you get experience.
10. Locate the cache using the app on your smartphone or GPS.
11. Log your find in the log paper as well as the app.
12. If the cache you found is big enough to have treasures, get a treasure and replace it from your treasure supply.
For details visit Geocaching Guide.
You will see there are 4 types of caches: Micro, small, medium, and large. Most caches we’ve come upon are micros, a tiny container with a log paper rolled in it. The app will tell you the size along with the ease of the location.
We use geocaching in few different ways:
1. Planned geocaching: We are going to a class or visit and I plan on looking for a cache nearby.
2. Keep’em busy geocaching: We are somewhere for another purpose and kids start showing signs of boredom. I look up for caches nearby.
3. Excursion geocaching: We are planning for a trip or excursion. I add geocaching to our itinerary to add anticipation.
The first cache, we looked for and found in a parking lot after few tries, was when we had 3 feet of snow was piled around.
Geocaching does not result in a successful find every time though. We couldn’t find the geocache which was supped to be placed conveniently across our hotel’s entrance in Aruba during our vacation. I went there twice, with and without kids, after reading all the info, looking at all the photos but the cache was not there. I checked few other caches and noticed the ones which are near main touristic attractions disappeared frequently. It is a disappointment, especially for kids, when that happens.
Geocaching.com website says, “There are 2,368,183 active geocaches and over 6 million geocachers worldwide”. So get out and find those caches, in your neighborhood, on your bike path, near your local park or even your travel abroad, wherever you are.
You can find me on geocaching.com as “practicalmama”.