Enough about knee replacements Let’s talk about a fun activity for adults. I suppose every age category has it’s own fun activity. I know my teen fun activities are NOT what I want to be doing today!!!! Lol
Today I want to talk about Geocaching. This is actually something that the entire family can enjoy no matter what the age. It’s fun to do with grandkids. It also gets them away from the computer and out in nature. It’s a good yet not strenuous exercise for us.
So, what is it? Geocaching is basically an outoor treasure hunting game using GPS enabled devices. Yes, the treasure hunting (or hide and seek game) has become more upscale than when we were kids. The idea is to navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and find the geocache (container) hidden in that location.
The first time I became aware of it, I was on a hike with friends and we were climbing one of the fire towers. A family came along and I thought they lost something. However, they explained geocaching to me and showed me the cache they found on one of the legs of the tower. The kids were very excited.
What do I need?
- a GPS device or a fully charged GPS enabled mobile phone (I used my Android smart phone) so that you can navigate to the cache Please note: Some state parks have kits you can rent. If you use your phone, use airplane mode to save battery life.
- Geocaching membership – Basic is free
- “Handle” name
- App – on phone, go to Playstore look for c:geo, download app (Android) or cachly (IPhone)
How do I play?
- Register for membership (see above)
- Visit “Hide & See a Cache” page
- Enter your postal code and click “search”
- Choose any geocache from the list and click on the name
- Enter the given coordinates into your GPS device
- Use your GPS device to help you find the hidden cache
- Sign the logbook inside and return cache exactly where you found it
- You are also welcome to leave something of your own in the cache (something small)
- You can write about your experience at the geocaching website.
Where are caches?
Caches can be found all over the world!!!! I had a friend who searched and found some when she visited Israel. The locations can be quite diverse. They can be from on top of a mountain to a WalMart parking lot. One of my obsessed friends made us search a parking garage one time and was NOT leaving until we found the cache. We did but I can tell you, I was not excited about the area.
This brings me to something else. As with any outdoor activity, it’s best to go with another person. You just never know these days. I mean you can stumble on a path or get yourself into a dangerous position. Just be aware of your surroundings.
What kind of containers am I looking for?
I’ve seen many different kinds of containers such as ammo cans, tupperware containers, big pill bottles, empty film canisters or anything that can sustain weather really. Whatever they are, they will be big enough to contain a logbook. I’ve seen little books or just a bunch of papers stapled together. Larger containers may contain items for trade. You take something out and put something back of equal or greater value.
Regarding those items for trade caches – put something in that everyone can enjoy (ie no alcohol, dangerous objects). Don’t use food either since animals can find and destroy cache. I’ve seen people put lapel type pins in like this one that I have.
Of course, there’s a market and collectors of these.
Different kinds of caches?
- Traditional geocache (explained above)
- Mystery or Puzzle caches – these involve logic, math, clues or signs to dertermine the correct coordinates
- Multi-Cache – these involve 2 or more locations and the final destination is where the actual cache is located.
- Earth Cache – this is a special geological location where you can learn more about the earth and it actually has it’s own site http://www.earthcache.org/
- Letterbox Hybrid – this uses clues instead of coordinates and the caches contain a stamp that remains in the box but is used to record visits
- Event Cache – gathering of local geocachers. A specific time is established and coordinates are provided
- Cache In Trash Out – environmentally based and are normally larger gatherings of geocachers that focus on litter or vegetation clean up. Many hiking clubs do this as well.
As you can see, Geocaching has become a big thing. Now, I’m not good with directions on a good day. I can get lost if you turn me around too many times. However, I CAN use a GPS and am THANKFUL for GPS. So, it’s not that hard to use if I can do it, anyone can.
I have only done this a few times and it’s been fun. However, I do have friends that are serious about this and some even plan their vacations based on caches they have not found even in other countries. To me, that’s a little extreme but if that makes them happy, that’s all that counts.
So, if you’re looking for something to do while it’s still nice out, you might want to give this a try and take the kids! It will let them burn energy because, if you’re like me, you can’t keep up with those grands. It also might lead you to interesting places that you never thought about going to.
If you go, let me know what you think and if you found and goodies!
Comments and thoughts are welcome and encouraged!
Founder of Not Your Mamas Senior and Scrapbooking For Anyone