As a kid, you probably imagined going on a treasure hunt, maybe battling some pirates or thieves and ultimately finding a chest full of gold and jewels. While geocaching won’t provide you will any gold coins or high seas expeditions, it is a thrilling treasure hunt.
For those unfamiliar with the game, geocaching is, essentially, a worldwide scavenger hunt. All you need is a smartphone or GPS to help you navigate your way to a set of coordinates. Sometimes there are clues to decipher and trails to climb. Sometimes the geocache is carefully hidden in the trees. Sometimes it can be as small as a thimble, an sometimes it will be a large container. Most contain a logbook to sign your name in, and many have little trinkets like figurines, marbles or coins that you can collect. Be sure to bring something of your own to leave behind! With more than 2 million geocaches all over the world, there are endless opportunities for a variety of ages and skill levels. If you want to join the hunt, here’s how to get started.
Join a Geocaching Community
There are many geocaching groups and online communities across the world. If you’re a newcomer, you may want to go with a group or learn more about it before you set off on your trek. Joining a geocaching community can help you learn some skills, make friends and get connected to your new hobby. The biggest online community is Geocaching.com, and there are many forums and local groups you can also join.
Select a Cache
You can find a geocache to hunt for based on distance, difficulty, terrain or other features. Simply copy or print the coordinates and let the hunt begin! Many caches are listed with users’ comments or stories about the cache or items inside. Be sure to prepare for your trek, as some caches are difficult to find and require hiking long distances. However, there are many very simple geocaches, and there are likely a few in your own neighborhood!
While there are no official rules of geocaching, some government websites or groups list their own sets of guidelines. Most are common-sense pieces of advice: do not trespass on private property, minimize harm to nature, do not deface or remove the geocache from its location and do not endanger yourself or others. If you decide to bring a trinket to leave with the cache, make sure it is something that will not spill, leak, rot or attract animals. If you decide to plant your own geocache, make sure you use a watertight container that cannot be eaten or carried of by wildlife. You should also be aware of any geocache placement restrictions, as some cities and states forbid placements on certain lands.
Next time you’re camping, take an hour or a full day to join the world’s largest scavenger hunt by getting outside, making some memories and finding some treasure!