Get Started With Geo-caching

What is Geocaching?

If you are looking for a way to combine treasure hunting with orienteering and bring them both into the 21st century, then geocaching might be just what you are after. Geocaching involves hiding a cache somewhere, usually consisting of a waterproof container, a log book and a pen, and then listing their coordinates online. Those coordinates can then be viewed by others who can set out to try and locate the cache.

Often other items are left in the cache, such as small trinkets like uncommon coins, souvenirs and other collectable or interesting items. When someone locates a cache, they must write their details in the logbook and return the cache to the exact same spot it was located. The finder can also swap some of the other contents of the cache or in some cases, accept a challenge to relocate them somewhere else within a certain distance or time frame.

While the use of a logbook and a waterproof container are the traditional contents of a cache, over time additional types of cache have become popular, such as virtual caches which usually require the finder to email the details of the location to the creator or even scanning a QR code or downloading a text file from an embedded USB drive.

Geocache

What Kit Do you Need?

As it’s an outdoor pursuit, you will need your normal outdoor gear. But apart from that it can be done with just a compass and a map. However, to make your search more convenient, a GPS mobile app or device can be used. The added bonus here is that by using such a device you can store multiple cache locations in the device, while also making the task easier!

Where Can I Find a Cache?

Pretty much anywhere is the short answer. Caches are not limited to just the wilderness and there are many urban-based followers of this pursuit who have hidden caches in towns and cities. Of course, mountain tops are one favourite location for their placements. There are often plenty of hideyholes, the summit is also reasonably easy to find and you can bag a hill and the cache at the same time.

The image below is the cache on Tal y Fan, showing what you can typically find in a geocache. I didn’t have anything to leave behind, unfortunately!

2011-09-18_17-47-42_624

How to Get Started?

The best way to get started is to join the hunt. Once you’ve had a few successful finds then you can think about stashing your own geocaches. To find the location of geocaches local to you, try the following websites:

If you want to learn more about how GPS works, then try this link – Geography Links for GIS – thanks to Tonya and her Girls @ The California Hiking Page.

Hopefully there should be some caches hidden near you giving you an excellent reason to get back out into the great outdoors

Images: GPS / Geocache

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