Geocaching (pronounced “geo-cash”) is an outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online.
Geocaching was started by Dave Ulmer in 2000. He wanted to the test the accuracy of a GPS, so he hid a bucket and posted the coordinates on the Internet. Shortly afterward several people found it and started sharing their experiences and started hiding caches of their own and searching for others’ hidden caches. Some geocachers use their cellphones as GPS devices, while others purchase made-for-geocaching GPS tracking systems.
The rules of the game are simple:
1. If you take something from the geocache (or “cache”), leave something of equal or greater value.
2. Write about your find in the cache logbook.
3. Log your experience at www.geocaching.com.
There are now 1,425,827 active geocaches and over 5 million geocachers worldwide. They may be hidden in a local park, at the end of a long hike, underwater or on the side of a street. Geocaches vary greatly in size and appearance, ranging from clear plastic containers to film canisters to Easter eggs to fake rocks with secret compartments. Any member of the geocaching community may hide a geocache.
A cache always contains a logbook or logsheet for geocachers to log their finds. Larger caches may contain “hidden treasures” ranging from toys to books. Some caches also contain “Trackables,” geocaching game pieces that may be moved from one geocache to another. Each Trackable has a code, and players can enter these codes into the website to see how far the caches have traveled. There are also multi-caches; the first cache contains a hint to find the next cache and so forth.
Ready to geocache?
Step 1. Register for a free Basic Membership on www.geocaching.com. All you need is a name and a valid email address. (You can upgrade your membership for a small fee.)
Step 2. Visit the “Hide & Seek a Cache” page on www.geocaching.com
Step 3. Enter your postal code and click “search.”
Step 4. Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
Step 5. Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.
Step 6. Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.
Step 7. Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location.
Step 8. Share your geocaching stories and photos online.