As I started to feel more confident with going outdoors I decided to find out what geocaching was all about. I’d heard a little bit about it and watched Dude Like Hella try and fail to find a geocache in Alaska, but I really had no clue what it was all about. At the start of the summer I did a bit of research, found out that I could use my phone and went to find my first geocache, just metres away from my home.
- What is Geocaching? – A container is hidden somewhere and the coordinates (and sometimes clues) are posted online so that it can be found using GPS – we use our mobiles and the geocaching app.
- How can I find geocaches? – Visit geocaching.com and create an account. You can use the website to locate geocaches but it’s a good idea to download the app too. The app helps to direct you once you start looking for a geocache and will vibrate when you’re really close. You can also log your finds on the app, add friends and read up on clues or feedback. Be aware that you can use the app for free but if you want to see all geocache locations you will need to upgrade your membership.
- What’s inside a geocache? – The geocaches come in all shapes and sizes. Some merely have paper inside so you can log your name, the date and leave a short message. Others are larger and they will have a log book along with small little trinkets. The deal is, you can take a little souvenir of the geocache providing you leave one in return.
- What do I need? – You’ll need a GPS and the coordinates or your phone with the Geocaching app downloaded and 3 or 4G data so you can remain online. Take a drink, some bits and bobs to swap, a pen as not all caches have pens and some comfortable shoes depending on your location and the terrain of the geocache.
I told G about it and he came along for the walk but he wasn’t really into the idea of geocaching. I didn’t explain it well as I was still unsure but I told him it was like a treasure hunt and like the good boyfriend he is he held my hand and off we went. Once we were close we hunted around but could not find what we were looking for. I was ready to give up but G continued and suddenly he came across the Geocache! It was a book with Dracula written on it, lots of names and dates written inside and an amber stone. Hurrah!
From that moment on G was well and truly hooked. He explains it as earning a trophy or an achievement online, but in real life.
We downloaded the geocache app on both of our phones and found we had a few more on the hills close by. We packed up a bag, gathered some small items to swap, some water, our phones and the dog and headed out to see what we could find. Our two next finds were dedicated to pet cats, Ebony and Cornelius. They take a good walk to get to, a fair bit of scrambling through the bushes and woods but the views were breathtaking and both of the geocaches had plenty of previous visitors and tokens to swap.
If you haven’t embarked on a geocaching adventure I would love it if I could inspire you to try one. It’s a great excuse to get out and explore, absorb some vitamin D and learn about the area around you. The exercise is great for your body and your mind and there is a sense of achievement when you find the carefully hidden cache. Check out some videos on YouTube, some people have come up with some rather clever hiding places – though the ones close to me are usually under tree roots or bricks. You can even make your own, but be sure to read the rules and ask permission if necessary.
G and I are both gamers but G is pretty much addicted and spends a lot of time completing games – so for him to get a buzz similar to gaming, says a lot. It shows this is an activity that is good for people of all ages and even those who love nothing more than watching their gamer score go up. Grab your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or kids and give it a go. Sure they may moan initially but once they find one, they’ll be chuffed to bits.
Have you ever been geocaching?