I love it when I discover new outdoor adventures. So I am super happy to have stumbled across geocaching this week.
I had heard of geocaching before and knew that it involved finding hidden objects but I had no idea how accessible it was. Having stumbled across the website last week I wanted to find out more about how I could have a go. It turns out all I needed to do was download the app and I was off!
What Is Geocaching?
Basically, it is finding hidden caches using a set of co-ordinates. When you find the hidden object you retrieve it, sign the log book and re-hide it, exactly where you found it.
In the past you needed a GPS device to do this. You would tap in the co-ordinates and let your device guide you there. Nowadays it is easier to geocache because smart phones tend to have GPS built into them. Therefore you can just use your phone to guide you.
Caches come in many different sizes and are hidden in millions of places around the world. Inside the cache, you may find other objects. These tend to be small objects, perhaps a bouncy ball or an ornament. These objects are left by other geocachers and often travel from one cache to another.
There is more to geocaching than this but you don’t need to know it all to get started!
My First Few Finds!
Having downloaded the app I was worried I would find that caches weren’t in abundance. I was wrong; they are everywhere!
My first opportunity to find one led to a slight disappointment. Down in Essex for a family party, I decided to head out on a run and find a cache at the same time. The app was great at getting me to its hidey-place but, alas, the cache was not there!
I had got the taste for this now though and was not to be deterred. Later that day, back in Nottingham, I went searching in the village I grew up in. An interesting search of the village church yard (the geocacher who hid the cache has permission from the church warden) produced a great find. Despite the co-ordinates getting me to within inches of the hidden object, I still had to do some searching to find it.
A small green bag, containing a miniature church. Tucked inside this was the log book; a slim scrap of paper, signed by many a cacher before me. I was surprised to see the paper was being signed every few days.
More, more, more!
Uh oh, I think I may be hooked here! That evening, back home, I went in search of my second cache. This time my find involved standing on a small wall and looking for an object no more than a few centimetres long. I think the dog wondered about my sanity!
Today I went for an eight mile run. I really need to ramp up my training for the upcoming Beachy Head Marathon. I chose a muddy, hilly route and it hurt but I found three more geocaches along the way! What a fantastic way to break up a long run and give me a breather.
There were actually 15-20 caches hidden along my run today but I felt I couldn’t justify stopping for all of them. The others will have to wait for another day. Those I did find were all brilliantly concealed – one even had magnets taped to the back of it to attach it to a metal object.
Watch Out For Muggles
Who doesn’t love an activity where you have to watch out for muggles?! For those of you who don’t know what a muggle is, I urge you to read Harry Potter.
Obviously, when you are searching for a geocache you are doing nothing wrong. However, humans are naturally curious and when you are seen searching intently in the undergrowth or around a lamppost it does catch peoples eye.
Us geocachers (yes, I’m in the gang now) don’t want caches disturbed by those who don’t know what the cache is. It’s important not to attract too much unwanted attention. Sometimes, if there are too many muggles around, you have to walk away and wait for another day to discover the treasure.
A Great Big Treasure Hunt!
Essentially this is what geocaching is; a treasure hunt. That’s why it is a fantastic activity for all ages. If you have children it is a great way to get them outside and keep them interested on a walk. Don’t forget to take a pen with you so that you can sign the log.
It is also something you can do all around the world. I really don’t think you could ever run out of possibilities!
I have only given a basic overview of geocaching and you can find out more here.
I’m off out to pick up some train tickets and I know there is another cache on the way. So, what are you waiting for?! Head to the website or download the app and join the fun!