And let me begin this post by warning you that if you read on it might take over yours too.
So Claud sort of introduced me to this idea on Friday before a big group of us headed to the mountains of Boone for the weekend, as a proposed activity for Sunday. She sort of explained it (like hiking plus a scavenger hunt) and directed me to the website, but I definitely learn better by doing, so I decided to wait until we hit Boone to really dive in. And it may have been the highlight of the trip.
So it turns out that about 10 years ago geocaching was created, and it has turned into a worldwide scavenger hunt, with geocaches (pronounced geo-cash) now hidden ALL OVER. Literally, you’ve probably been near hundreds and never even knew. And that’s cause someone’s doing something right.
A geocache ranges between the size of a 35mm film case (called a micro-geocache) to Tupperware containers. Each contains at least a log in it (a small piece of paper rolled up and put in a zip loc to protect it) that people log the date and their name on when they find it. Of course your real name doesn’t go on there, but your Geocaching name/identity (another reason why I love this- you can’t go wrong with something that requires a different identity). Some of the larger ones contain random trinkets in there that people leave behind. When you find it you put your own small trinket in, and trade it for a different one. You then take that one to the next geocache you find and trade again.
The actual containers are hidden everywhere from under rocks, to in tree stumps, to hanging from branches. Anyone can create a geocache, and once you do you log it on their website so that others can find it. On the website you can also search by city or zip code to find geocaches in the area, and they’ll give you the coordinates of where it was left. You then use your handheld GPS to find them.
Several great things about geocaching:
1) I love road trips. You all know this. I love the random adventures they bring, and the fun things you discover along the way. However, fun things (until now) often include rest stops with the best sodas on tap. Now road trips have taken on a whole new meaning, with fun geocaches to find EVERYWHERE.
2) You can do one per day, one per month, 10 per day, or 1 in your entire life. There’s no rules about how many you have to find in how long. It’s totally up to you. If you find yourself bored on a Saturday you can grab your GPS and go on a geocache hunt around your area (you’ll be totally surprised how many you find). If you’re traveling to a different state, you can look up Geocaches there and spend a day finding them.
3) Because locals create the geocaches, they tend to put them in their favorite spots in town. Often smaller hidden places that not everyone knows about, but they want to share. Therefore, when you go geocaching, especially in a town/state/country you don’t know, you end up discovering lots of great hidden treasures.
4) You feel connected to thousands around the world playing the same game. That’s pretty cool.
5) There’s an iPhone app you can download (for the 3G) that uses your GPS, making it even easier to do on the road, or completely spontaneously, without having to pay $100-$500 (or more) for a nice handheld GPS. I’ll keep you updated on how well the app works and whether or not I break down and buy a GPS.
6) People who don’t know about geocaching are called ‘Muggles’. This is awesome. Basically you don’t want muggles to see what you’re doing, because if they find a geocache but don’t know what it is they might end up moving it, ruining the game. And it’s super fun to always refer to ‘muggles’.
Basically I think Geocaching is one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard of and can’t believe I didn’t know about it earlier. I would love to hear back from anyone who checks it out!!!