Geocaching is something we’ve been meaning to try for a while. We’re late to the party I know. Once we had a few hours with the younger children busy at Grandma’s house, and some fine weather, we decided that it was a good time to get out there and find out what geocaching was all about.
First I visited the geocaching website at https://www.geocaching.com/play and created an account. Then I downloaded the app to my iPhone and logged in with my Facebook account. It was very easy.
Once active, I could see the location of all the geocaches in my area and happily, there were a few on the main road near our house. So we set off on our bikes, loaded with a couple of pens and some small toys incase any of the geocaches were of the treasure box type.
So what is geocaching?
Geocaching is a community activity where some people hide ‘geocaches’ in locations and then upload their GPS position and some clues to the geocache app/website. Then others go out and try and find them, sign the log, and for larger geocaches, leave little gifts for others. It’s like a worldwide scale community treasure hunt.
We had no idea what we were looking for to be honest. We had a GPS location (the phone app is pretty accurate and will help a lot) and a clue to the first geocache. We failed to find it. The geocache was at the location of a pelican crossing next to a busy road. We search the verges, the fences, under suspicious looking rocks, and in little hidey holes. Nothing. We gave up and headed for the next one.
We cycled up to the next one. From the map on the app I could see where it was (ish) but as we got nearer, my phone made a sound to tell me we were within a certain distance, which was helpful.
We abandoned the bikes on the verge and set off to look for it. I waited with the bikes and sent the children off to look for it. They weren’t having much luck, and I thought they were going too far off track. I used the phone app to put myself smack on the dot of the geocache, used the clue to look down low, and there it was! A tiny black canister hanging off the bottom of the fence. Tiny.
I unscrewed the tiny cap and the paper log with the geocache logo fell out. We knew we had found it. We were elated beyond belief – our first one! How can something so small create so much excitement? I signed the log to say we had been, replaced it, and off we set for the next one.
The next one was a couple of hundred yards away and concealed in a barrier. To our joy, it was a larger one which meant a) it was easier to spot and b) it had prizes! We swapped our plastic dinosaur with a sliding tile puzzle, signed the log, and set off for the next one.
We searched for about six geocaches in total. We failed to find two of them. One we think was under the bridge we were on, so we decided to come back another day. The other we really don’t know but we couldn’t find it anywhere. Maybe it had been taken? Who knows.
After being out for a couple of hours, we decided to head back home. On the way back, encouraged by a find at a pelican crossing at the other end of the road, we decided to have another look for the first one we couldn’t find. It was exactly where I now suspected it would be, cleverly disguised. Again, you wouldn’t know it was there unless you were looking for it.We were chuffed to bits to have found it. We got the log out and signed it, and put it back in the exact same position.
The girls asked why people just don’t take them away for fun, but geocaching is just that kind of activity where everyone joins in in good faith and it has a proper community feel to it.
Once we find ourselves with another free afternoon, then we will be setting off to find some more. We might even pay the upgrade fee, which gives access to advanced geocaches. Other than that, and a few small prizes, geocaching is completely free.
Have you been geocaching?