Geocaching is a new and innovative twist on good old fashioned fun. The idea is simple: grab your Global Positioning System (GPS) and go find someone’s secret hiding place. Enthusiasts use web sites such as www.geocaching.com to post new “caches” and their GPS coordinates. Caches consist of a hidden container, a logbook and often trinkets left by previous Geocachers. Tradition is to leave a note in the logbook, and often take a trinket and leave your own trinket. Serious geocachers might spend a weekend chasing out of town or out of country caches with their GPS and camping gear, or check off some local spots after school or work. Geocaching often involves blogging or at least posting online about your experiences with the online community, hints for finding the spot and a splash of personal flavor is encouraged.
Geocaching is high tech hide-and-seek on a whole new level. Participants post coordinates (latitude and longitude) as well as a couple of hints about the hidden location and then watch online as others visit their site and blog the results. From time to time they may check the log book or peak to see what trinkets have been added. Time isn’t an issue since the caches are left in place long term and some of the sites become famous (in the geocaching community) for a beautiful location or other innovative twists.
Hand held GPS units are best as car mounted units won’t get you close enough to most hiding places to actually find the cache. GPS manufacturers love and promote geocaching as well since their equipment is purchased for use in the game.
New technology allows smart phone users to participate at a fair level. Some geocache sites are outside of cellular phone coverage ares.
Geocaching is exciting at every level. Even first timers can find the sites with a little persistence. You can geocache as an individual, as a group and it makes a great family activity. There are usually sites around town with pedestrian access, but driving and then walking is the norm. Making your own sites and following their history online is also part of the fun. Geocaching is a great sport with many unique twists and turns. It is appropriate for all ages with some oversight and encourages innovation and creative outdoor activity.