Geocaching is essentially a hi-tech, worldwide scavenger or treasure hunt using GPS technology. The best way I’ve heard it described is ‘using multi-billion dollar military satellites to find Tupperware hidden in the woods’.
In its most traditional form, geocaching goes a bit like this... Someone will hide a container of some sort, and record the latitude and longitude of that spot using a handheld GPS device, or even their smartphone. They will then post this information online, together with a description of the cache and location, and perhaps a hint or two. Someone else will then download that information and attempt to find the hidden geocache. Once you’ve found the cache, you sign the logbook (if there is one) and then register your discovery online. Easy, huh?
Of course, some caches are easier to find than others, which is why each one is given a Difficulty and a Terrain rating (both ranging from 1 to 5 stars). Geocaches also come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
In addition to the so-called ‘Traditional’ cache described above, there are a whole range of other cache types. These may, for example, involve finding multiple intermediate caches on the way to the final geocache (Multi-caches), solving some sort of puzzle (Mystery caches), meeting up with other geocachers (Event caches), or even visiting a location where there’s no actual physical cache (Virtual, Earth and Webcam caches)!
All these elements combined means there’s something for everyone!
As my friends and I discover in Jaspa’s Journey 3: Jaspa’s Waterloo, there are no prizes for geocaching. There’s certainly no cash in caches, unless you count the odd coin or two (which may or may not be local currency) left behind by previous finders. But that’s not to say geocaching is pointless.
1) First and foremost, there’s the simple challenge of finding the geocache.
2) At home, geocaching is a great way to motivate yourself to get off the couch and go explore your local area.
3) But for me, geocaching really comes into its own when I’m travelling. I’ve seen no end of interesting, off-the-beaten-track locations that I would have definitely missed, if not for a cache hidden by a geocacher with a bit of local knowledge.
4) You can also use geocaching as a way to challenge yourself. Visit the My Geocaching History page to discover the types of challenges I’ve set for myself – and accomplished – since I began geocaching back in January, 2007.
Note: There are several geocaching and geocaching-type websites and apps out there, including OpenCaching, TerraCaching, NaviCache, GeoCheckpointing and Munzee. Although I’ve dabbled with a couple of these, I’ve chosen to stick with Geocaching.com, which is by far the biggest and most popular site. Consequently, all geocaches, geocache types and geocaching statistics referred to on my site relate solely to Geocaching.com.Place content here.