What Is Geocaching

Geocaching is using a GPS device to find a hidden treasure.


Geocaching (Photo credit: Bob n Renee)

In most cases, the hidden treasure is a logbook that you can sign and date to prove you found it.

The fun is in the journey.

Have You Ever Been Geocaching?

I’d never heard of geocaching until some friends introduced us to this adult version of a scavenger hunt.

It is a combination of mapreading and GPS, clever hiding places and Internet social bonding.

It was not possible only twelve years ago.

Before then, the military had a monopoly on satellite-enabled global positioning systems (GPS) so that they could be accurate within three feet instead of 300 feet.

They released that monopoly on May 2, 2000.

The first geocaching was played on May 3, 2000, in Beavercreek, Oregon, a site which is now marked with the Original Stash Site Tribute Plaque.

A centralized web site, geocaching.com, to find and track geocache sites, was set up on September 2, 2000, when there were fewer than 100 geocaching sites.

Imagine a film canister, with a tiny log sheet inside, hidden in a tree.

Or in a metal railing.

Or at the foot of a lightpole.

Where Are the Geocaching Sites?

At geocaching.com, you can enter your zip code, ask if there are any geocache hiding spots near you and find out there are dozens within two miles.

It’s a new excuse to explore wherever you are.

If you were in Italy, you could look for local geocaching sites.

They are in more than 200 countries.

If you want to find out if any are near where you live, just enter your zip code.

There are now more than a million hidden geocache stashes.

Can You Hide Your Own GeoCache?

You can look for or hide geocaches.

You can try easy ones or hard ones.

You will find some as small as the tip of your finger, others as large as a crate.

In the city or countryside.

On land or underwater. Hiking or scuba diving.

You may find that your diligent search has simply yielded a clue to another site.

You are asked to keep the game going by not posting how you found the site.

Some sites will have small trinkets you can keep.

Most simply have logbooks that you sign and date.

You can go to the central web site, geocaching.com and record the geocaches you’ve found.

How Does It Work?

GPS systems let you enter latitude and longitude numbers and give you directions for traveling from where you are to those coordinates.

On an iPhone, you go to the Maps application, and enter the latitude and longitude coordinates in the Search bar.

I was delighted to find that my new iPhone gives me a street address when I enter latitude and longitude coordinates.

But, I have not figured out how to get it to go back to lat/long when I get near my target.

Our friends, one of them a pilot, used to navigating using coordinates, gave us an overview that considerably simplifies course correction.

When you are close to the spot you’re looking for, you want to look for ground zero, the exact latitude and longitude in your geocaching instructions.

Then, the geocache will be within a few feet of where you are standing.

If you are in the United States and you’re a few degrees off your target, you walk North to move the latitude number up on your GPS and West to move the longitude number up.

That’s it. That’s as hard as it gets.

Click here to  watch a video on how it works.

The rest is figuring out how clever the geocache hider was in disguising where their logbook is.

Sometimes the name of the geocache is a hint to where it is.

Our second geocaching find was “It’s a Wally’s World.”

You might set a target on how many geocaches you want to find before you decide to hide one yourself.

100 is a good target.

This sport does not require a team, but it’s easier and more fun if you are doing it with someone else.

Ask your grandchildren the question, what is geocaching

Prepare to explore the world with your grandchildren!

Do your grandchildren know how to read maps?

Do they know how to use a compass?

Did you know there is a geocaching Cub Scout badge?

To you and exploring the wide world with your grandchildren.


Carol Covin, Granny-Guru

Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers

Click here to order this blog on your Kindle.


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