Last weekend I was introduced to something new. Friends came to visit us out in British Columbia, where we tend to spend most of the summer, and as we were headed out for a walk, my friend says, “I wonder if there are any Geo Caches around here?”
My ears perked up because I’d heard of this Geo Caching thing before, but I’d never done it. Full disclosure – I’d mostly ignored it because I mistakenly thought it might be too hard or require special equipment. I was wrong.
He pulled out his iPhone, loaded up an app and…there were three caches in our area so off we went.
If you’ve never heard of Geo Caching before, basically it’s a modern day treasure hunt using GPS coordinates. It’s super easy, (especially if you have an iPhone) All you do is input the coordinates and start walking using the compass or map as your guide. When you get close, that’s when the fun really begins because you get to start looking for the cache.
Sometimes the cache is really obvious, other times it’s hidden so well that you really have to look. And there are different types of caches too. A ‘micro’ cache for example is just as the name suggests. Micro. These are expertly hidden and you really need to think outside the box to find them. One micro cache we found was in a tiny green canister about one inch long. It was hanging in a tree. I can’t believe we found that one!
The cache always includes a log book of some kind where you can track your name and the date is was found. But sometimes the cache really is a treasure chest with little toys/souvenirs/pins and other goodies in it. The idea is you take something and leave something and see where in the world they travel too. In fact there are some ‘trackable’ treasures that come with their own codes that can be entered into the tracking website, but honestly…that’s a little too advanced for me right now. For now we’ve put together a little pack of items that we’ll leave in place.
Ever since that first hunt with friends, I’ve been hooked. And I’m not alone…the whole family is in on it. Depending on where you are you can find Geo caches in the woods or even in urban locations. In fact, as soon as I looked this up online at www.geocaching.com I was shocked at just how many caches there are. They are everywhere! Some can only be accessed by canoe, some by hiking up a mountain and others are located in the middle of a busy downtown street!
Armed with our new knowledge (and the upgraded app) my family and I headed out for a day of fun at Panorama, a local mountain ski resort where we planned to do some hiking. A quick search of the Geo Cache app told us there were ten Geo Caches nearby so we thought we’d try it out. We found all the Geo Caches we attempted, including a two part cache where we had to find the first part that gave us the coordinates to the second location.
I’ve only just discovered this fun new activity and I know it’s going to be something we enjoy for a long time, especially as we travel. And here’s some fun and timely news…it’s National Geo Caching Day on August 18. So if you’ve never tried it (or even if you have) get out there and discover some hidden treasure and then share your story!
Have you ever tried Geo Caching? Will you now? Tell me your stories!