I have always know what geocaching was, but never gave it much thought. Then, I kept seeing pictures in my facebook newsfeed of an amazing family we know geocaching all over...well, the world. It looked fun, it looked kinda easy as far as not needing anything special goes and we figured there was no harm in trying!
So, now we are hooked.
A few friends have asked what Geocaching is, and I thought it would be easiest to explain it here!
So, Geocaching uses GPS coordinates to direct you towards, what amounts to, a treasure chest (a cache) that someone else has hidden for you to find. Cache (the treasure box) sizes can be big, or small. Easy to find or insanely hard to find. People get crafty, and sneaky and...it is awesome. Sometimes the cache has little prizes in it. Other times the unit is so small, as pictured above there is just a log big enough to sign.
What do you need to get started Geocaching? Nothing that you don't already (most likely) have. You will need....
- A (free) account on www.geocaching.com so you can figure out where you want to go
- Something that can track your GPS coordinates with, like a smartphone or a handheld GPS navigator - On Gray's phone (android) we have downloaded (for $10.00) the geocaching app that gives you access to all of the cache coordinates and you can search for sites using the purchased app. On my phone (iphone) we have the free geocaching app that shows you the cache sites that are closest to you, ONLY.
- A pen
- A small trinket or two to place in the cache so your child (or you) can take a piece of swag IF there is any and the cache is big enough.
How we roll...
- We decide to go geocaching
- Scope out the area we want to go geocaching in, either on our app, or on the computer.
- Then, we think about swag (treasure), and hunt down something in our house to make or bring.
- Next up, we grab some water, a pen, our swag and our cell phone
- We head out the door (because with two kids, it is just as simple as walking out the door, right?)
- We pull the location up on our phone and follow the guide to get to where we are going! Wes likes to pick up trash while we make our way to the coordinate site. He thinks he is a trash truck....we just go with it.
- When you get to the GPS location, you start your hunt. It can be made of anything and hidden anywhere. Geocaching.com will tell you how big the unit is so you can be a little prepared, and also know that if you are wanting your preschooler to take the lead with finding the cache, you most likely don't want to choose a micro cache.
- When (if) you find the cache, sign your name on the log, check out the swag, and add something. Wes got a sweet ninja the other day - this was one of the bigger cache containers we have found. The smallest being a mini altoid box.
- The general rule of swag is that IF you take something, then you need to leave an item of equal or greater value. Gray has been making some fun wooden figures to leave as our calling card.
It has been quite a bit of fun for us as adults, and it has been a wonderful conversation starter as far as tracking goes with Wes. In the near future I am hoping to get a trackable geocaching item so we can leave it as swag, and then, since it is a trackable item, you can log on and see where it is traveling to around the city/state/country/world/universe (there is a cache on the International Space Station).