24 October 2014
If you follow me on any social media, you will have seen that at some time or another I have spoken about Geocaching.
What Is It?
It has been called a subculture by some, an insider game by others.
But what is it really?
In short, geocaching is an international GPS treasure hunt! The 21st century version of Treasure Island, using the whole earth (and sometimes outer space) as your "island of treasures".
You're already hooked, right? I was, still am.
How Did It Start?
It all started in 2000 when GPS used to be reserved for only governments and the armies. But then on 2nd May 2000 they released the technology for use by the general public. Within 1 week (well actually by 03 May 2000) geocaching began, with a container left in the woods, a logsheet and a few things (S.W.A.G - Stuff We All Get) inside with the simple rule "take some stuff, leave some stuff". Only after a few weeks did it get the name Geocaching and the rest, as they say, is history.
Are There Rules?
All geocaches have a few things in common, (1) you can find the information about them on www.geocaching.com, (2) They all have a logbook or sheet that you must fill in to prove you were there, (3) there is never anything of monetary or food value in the cache, (4) they are fun (ok, most micros and all postbox ones are boring).
You can view all the rules and how to sign up on www.geocaching.com
How do you start?
Pretty much you get onto the geocaching website and get the GPS coordinates of a local treasure (known as a cache), you type those coordinates into your gps and go hunting for it. Along the way you often see beautiful sights in your very own city that you never knew, you also often meet new people. But, you try to avoid looking suspicious because "Muggles" (aka anyone who does not know about geocaching) may very well imagine you are hiding gold, drugs, bombs, etc. In the process you learn the art of stealth, and end up looking ten times more suspicious.
Its great fun.
Eventually you find the cache, it may be a film canister with a magnet and attached to the back of a sign post, or it may be an Ice Cream container hidden in the bush, or (in rare cases) a large container (think 44 gallon drum size).
Geocaching can be done solo, however it is much more fun to do it as a group of friends or family. It can be frustrating, but it is also rewarding.
Its good to get the whole family (even those addicted to their phones and other gadgets) out of the house and into the open, with fresh air and excersize.
It is free to sign up, and you likely already have a gps to use (most smartphones are gps enabled), so doing geocaching is not expensive.
I hope you head out to have fun geocaching sometime soon, and don't forget, its just a game. Although it is severely addictive.
If you are in my area, look up some of my caches.