Entertainment & Media
By Carolina Figueroa
Volume 2 Issue 5
March 28, 2022
Image provided by Winchester-Frederick Country Convention & Visitors Bureau
Do you love to be outdoors, solve riddles, and search for interesting things? If so, you may want to try searching for geocaches! Geocaching is a popular “fun outdoor recreational activity and hobby that feels like real-world treasure-hunting”! People participate in geocaching from all over the world by using navigational techniques to “hide and seek” compact containers at specific locations marked by coordinates worldwide. They hide small containers, called geocaches or caches, with small prizes inside, and then other people try to find them using maps and clues on their Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers or GPS-enabled mobile devices. Currently, there are more than 3 million geocaches hidden around the world for people to find.
A typical geocache is created when a player hides a small-scale waterproof container somewhere in the world and then logs its exact location on the Geocaching app. Inside the container, the hider will put a logbook (or a notebook that players can sign) with a pen or pencil and sometimes small prizes, pins, trinkets, or little toys for trading. These mini toys and trinkets are usually of more sentimental worth than financial. Some geocachers may choose to use large plastic storage containers (similar to Tupperware). Next, other players try to find what has been hidden using the navigation system on the Geocaching app. Sometimes finding a geocache will be easy and straightforward, but other times they are very well hidden in their spots and you really have to look and search hard for them!
To get started, you first have to download the Geocaching app on a smartphone. When you click on the app, it shows you a map of nearby or local geocaches. You can also search for geocaches in different locations. For instance, if you plan on being away, you can search to see if and where there are geocaches in that location as well. Once you click on a geocache, you are able to see a description of it and other information about it, such as how much time it may take for you to find it.
Next, click “navigate” to open up the directions to guide and navigate you to the spot. You will have to ask an adult to drive you to a park that you walk around together. Some geocaches may be hidden in other public spots, like a walking path in town. Other geocaches are hidden in parks, urban areas, forest, deserts, underwater, on top of mountains – pretty much anywhere you can imagine! The rule for a hiding place is “the geocache should not be easily visible to a passerby who is not looking for the cache. It should be a camouflaged hiding spot and the cache should blend perfectly into their environment”. People use their creativity to find hard and challenging hiding places, like in a tree hollow or stump, underneath bushes, wedged securely in-between rocks, using a fake rock or small fake squirrel container, or even road signs (a magnetic geocache, nestled between the sign itself and the pole). Another rule is “do not ever bury geocaches (do not create a hole in the ground to find or place a geocache)”.
Once you navigate to the location, you will have to look at the recent activity and description in the app for any hints or signs for clues that might help you find the cache. Have fun on your search! Geocaches come in all shapes and sizes and most often they are a small tube or a medium-sized box that looks like a heavy-duty plastic container. The container could also be innovatively stored inside an object. People from around the world cleverly and creatively store and hide geocaches in fun containers. For example, hidden in the woods in Germany, one geocache is housed in a tricky wooden birdhouse covered in puzzles for finders to solve. In Spain, a plastic super-sized strawberry geocache container looks like a big piece of fruit. In Massachusetts, a geocache has its logbook hidden within a classic calling telephone. In California, a tiny tube is screwed into the back of a plastic pigeon to hold a geocache’s logbook. And in Holland, a container features a hen with plastic eggs, one of which contains the logbook!
There should always be a logbook so you can write down that you found the geocache with the date. The geocacher signs the log with their established code name and dates it, in order to prove that they found the cache. Many times, “you will find small prizes called tradeables, like small toys, pins, keychains, or crafts. You can take one of them as long as you replace it with an item of similar value”. When you are done signing the log, you must place the geocache back exactly where you found it so that other people can find it!
Geocaching is a fun and exciting way to spend time outdoors, explore the beauty of nature, exercise your mind and body, solve puzzles and riddles, appreciate quality time with family and friends, and enjoy treasure-hunting! It is a hobby and interest that delights and appeals to all ages. It provides fun and happiness for the whole family. You may experience new places and meet new people, and you will stay active and healthy while creating lasting new memories. You will realize that discovery, exploration, beauty, and adventure still exist in the real world. Good luck searching for cool and interesting geocaches, wherever you may be in the world!