Leisure Activities - Geocaching Treasure Hunt
What is Geocaching all about then?
We enjoy Geocaching - a pastime using Sat Nav and the internet to find hidden items around town and country.
It's best described as a fun and educational recreational activity; a treasure hunt that uses a GPS receiver or, more commonly these days, a smartphone + app to find, typically, a box with goodies in. See the entry on Wikipedia for a full description.
Here at micbinks we contribute to the geocaching community on the global GPS cache hunt website: www.geocaching.com - check us out under our ID which is, of course, 'micbinks' - and we enjoy searching out locations both locally and when on holiday.
Geocaching can be environmentally friendly - 'cache-in trash-out' - where participants clear rubbish from the geocache area (like The Wombles?). It's a family friendly pastime and healthy for both mind and body, what with all the walking/searching/thinking that's required. And it's highly educational - knowledge of navigation, topography, land use, GPS, mapping and the grid system is gained (oh, and where the nearby pubs are!). As a responsible pastime, accepted practice guidelines are published by the geocaching community.
So how do you go Geocaching?
Follow the electronic compass or map arrow, keeping in mind that, unless you have wings, you can't always navigate 'as the crow flies'. When you get to within, say, 10 metres, start looking around for any clues as to where the geocache might be hidden. It helps to keep in mind the cache container type you're looking for, description, previous finders' logs and the additional hint. This often gives it away with clues such as 'bottom of fence post', 'under seat', 'hole in wall', etc, so be careful not to spoil the fun!
When you've (hopefully!) found the cache, open the container and fill in the paper log with the date and your geocaching name. Larger caches contain small items you can swap if you wish. Seal the lid and carefully replace the geocache back where you found it, covering with sticks, stones, etc. ready for the next geocacher. If you wish, take a photo of something interesting nearby, taking care that it doesn't reveal the hiding place.
The final stage is to log your find(s), either from within the app or on geocaching.com: log in, browse to the relevant geocache page and add a sentence or two describing your find (try to make it interesting) plus upload your photo if you took one. And you're done!
So who places geocaches in the first place? Why, other
geocachers of course! Here's some we've hidden:
Let's look at one of our geocache finds...
Now, if we haven't put you off(!), read on for more on Geocaching...
Other geocaches require the solving of simple - or involved - clues such as noting dates on, say, a building, notice or gravestone then using these numbers to work out the coordinates by following a given formula. Now this may sound like too much trouble, but once you've tried one you'll find it's quite straightforward and a lot of fun, especially for the kids. Some can involve a trail; the most interesting can take you round a historic location, for example.
The larger lunch box caches contain small items to swap, the idea is one item is taken and one left which is noted in the cache and online log. Items thus travel from cache to cache, often great distances and overseas too. The next stage on from this are Travel Bugs where particular items are tracked as they travel around the country - or the world! Now, where's that tiny tatty teddy auntie gave me all those years ago...
Other types of geocaches include:
Muggles – what are they then?
Look out for the (usually) helpful cachers' trail when within spitting distance of the geocache you're searching out. This provides tell-tale evidence that the geocache is nearby, such as downtrodden vegetation or unnaturally positioned stones. But also be aware of a false cachers trail, indicating others have been looking... in the wrong place!
Let's look at some unusual geocaches we've found...
Geocache equipment and software
If the bug bites big then a dedicated handheld Sat Nav device can be considered, with more advanced Ordnance Survey mapping installed (subscription required). Finally, using your good old existing PC or laptop facilitates studying caches in detail and logging your finds (or no finds!) on geocaching.com.
Other useful items to take on your geocaching adventures are: gardening gloves for rummaging around all those prickly plants, small tweezers for extracting log strips, a small telescopic rod with magnetic end, and a poking stick as you'll never find one nearby when needed! Oh, don't forget a pen too.
Looking at some typical cache hidey holes...
Geocaching has social aspects too. Apart from the social network provided by the website, many local groups of geocachers get together, say, once a month in a pub; automatic news of upcoming local meets can be notified.
It's an international hobby with many overseas travellers finding and logging caches in countries they're visiting. Expect to see log entries from overseas visitors, particularly in popular tourist areas. We've searched out some rather scenic caches over the years while touring in Gower, the Cotswolds, Cornwall, Isle of Wight, Wiltshire, Kent Pembrokeshire, the Wye Valley, Dorset's Jurassic Coast, Buckinghamshire and Snowdonia.
Here's some 'guardians of the cache'...
GPSr Global Positioning System receiver (AKA a Sat Nav device)
Here's some Geocaching resources
you may find useful:
© micbinks 2010 - 2023. If you wish to reproduce any of our original content please seek our permission first.
Page last updated Aug 2021