Have Fun with Geocaching

geocache in tree

Do you wonder sometimes how to get your children to fall in love with being outdoors? Many people’s salvation come in the form of Geocaching which is a brilliant way to persuade reluctant youngsters out in to the open air. 

What is Geocaching?

In essence you’re trying to find a ‘Cache’ (read plastic tub) in a particular location, using the Global Positioning System (GPS). The cache is usually a Tupperware tub, with a log book and ‘treasure’ inside it. You find the cache using GPS locations already uploaded to the Geocache website.

In the old days geocachers used a satellite hand held GPS unit.  Now though, as with everything, it’s all done on your phone so it’s much easier.

How to get started

Go into the woods or down a local footpath and use the Geocache App on your phone to find the location of your first cache.

Start walking towards it, and when the App says you’re near, begin hunting. You’ll often find the cache in the base of a tree, hidden under logs or in hollows. Sometimes the caches are small tubes which don’t contain treasure, just the log book to be signed (using your username ID from the website)When you find a larger tub, mark in the log book that you were there, take a small item of treasure, and put your own treasure back in the tub. The one main rule is that you have to trade treasure; you can’t take and not put back in. Try if you can to upgrade the treasure but it doesn’t have to be big. It’s the thrill of finding a camouflaged tub that makes Geocaching special.

Always replace the cache where you found it, find the next cache location and off you go.

With over 3 million active caches worldwide and more being added every day, it’s an endless treasure hunt.

Back at home, you sign into the Geocaching website and log which caches you found. 

To find caches near you, click here and search your postcode, and it wll reveal all local caches (there are thousands in our area alone, across woodlands including Savernake Forest, and even town centres) a map, ease of access to the cache, and more!

If you are still unsure then watch this video:

How did geocaching get started?

Geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) first appeared in May 2000, just after Selective Availability (SA) was removed from the Global Positioning System (GPS). This meant that GPS was available to all and became more accurate. A small container could be located and found using GPS co-ordinates.

On 3 May 2000, the first documented GPS located geocache took place, by Dave Ulmer of Beavercreek, Oregon. He posted the location on the Usenet newsgroup; it was found twice and logged once.

Geocaching with Travel Bugs

To keep the treasure hunt alive and more interesting, Geocaching introduced Travel Bugs. These are trackable tags produced by the Groundspeak Company. Attach the tag to an item and place it in the cache. The next person to find the cache can take the tagged item and place it in their next cache find. The unwritten rule is that you only take the tagged item, if you’re going to be geocaching in another area.

Some travel bugs have a ‘goal’ i.e. to get closer to the sea etc. Therefore if you pick up a travel bug you need to help it on its way! 

What you need to take Geocaching

  • Smartphone with Geocaching App loaded
  • Wifi/data connection to the internet
  • Your geocaching wesbite username ID
  • Pen for log book initialling
  • Treasure to trade (think trinkets, hair bands, small toys or lego figures, coins, small toys)
  • Patience! Strong sense of humour

Watch as the time flies by

You can easily spend hours walking to find caches, along the way spotting wildlife, splashing in puddles or enjoying the sunshine and chatting about stuff you never hear at the dining table, maybe stopping for a picnic while reviewing your treasure.

With caches in nearly 200 countries now why not take the app with you on holiday with a handful of treasure to swap.

Let us know how you get on!

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