Geocaching is considered an outdoor sporting activity, which involves high tech gadgets equipped with Global Positioning System or GPS used by participants to search for hidden containers called geocaches or caches. People often refer to Geocaching as a modern day treasure hunt game or high-tech hide and seek.
A cache or geocache can be a small, waterproof container with a logbook inside. On the logbook, the geocacher enters the date he/she found the container, signs it and puts it back inside the container for the next person. The container can also be large plastic storage containers similar to a Tupperware container. Large containers are filled with different items such as coins, pins, trinkets and anything that can fit into the container. These items have little value and can be used for trading by the participants and are oftentimes moved from one cache to another. As a rule, a participant must trade up or trade even.
Participants will find the GPS coordinates online. All they need to do is enter the coordinates into their GPS devices or unit and head out to find the hidden caches. There are websites with searchable Geocache databases. Some websites will require you to create an account first before you can actually access information on GPS coordinates. Setting up an account is usually free for basic membership. Start off by looking for a cache that is near your location. You should also look for additional ratings on the website such as difficulty of terrain and how hard it will be to find the cache. And do not dismiss comments or feedbacks from other Geocachers who have been to the same location you are eyeing for this will prove helpful.
Geocaching was first conceived after the removal of Selective Availability from GPS on May 2000. It was Dave Ulmer of Beavercreek, Oregon who initiated this modern day treasure hunting game. As a GPS enthusiast, he thought of testing the GPS receiver accuracy. He hid a container in a remote area in Oregon and then posted the GPS coordinates on a GPS user group on the Web. The container had a logbook, pencil and several small items. He also left instructions on the container telling the finder to take some and leave some stuff. Three days later, two other GPS enthusiasts found the container on different occasions.
From that time on the sport has gained so much popularity and continues to evolve at a fast pace. At present there are over a million active caches in over 100 countries worldwide in areas you cannot begin to imagine. Caches are hidden in hills, mountains, cities, forests, parks, etc.
Geocaching is a fun way to hunt. It doesn’t matter what you find as long as you find something. It is low cost and almost everyone in the family can participate. You can even do this with your close friends and gain more as you play along. Nature lovers will surely enjoy this. Adventure-seeking individuals will have fun discovering new locations or areas in their hometown.
To prove Geocaching has gained a lot of attention, associations are being put in the U.S. and Canada and most likely all over the world. These associations are responsible for putting up organized events and Geocaching challenges as more people are starting to love the sport. To date, there are more than 5 million Geocachers worldwide.