geocaching: how to do it and why you totally should

When Ben and I had just started dating, he told me he wanted us to do this thing called geocaching. Now for whatever reason this kind of made me sigh and think, “Ugh. Some overly outdoorsy guy thing I have to pretend to like.” (I love being outdoors, don’t get me wrong, but I am far from being the adventurous type. Case in point: The idea alone of skydiving is enough to make me shake, while Ben has been solo skydiving 10 times.)

Anyway, back to the point. Geocaching. So Ben finally convinced me to go, and… I totally loved it! Geocaching, if you haven’t heard of it, it basically treasure hunting. People put these little caches all over the place that you have to find through clues and coordinates. You can use a GPS (the manly man’s preferred option) or the app, but it’s just a matter of following the directions to a hidden spot where the caches are. Once you get there, you’ll usually find some kind of container with something in it. The ones we’ve found either ask you to sign your name once you’ve found it or to take an item and leave an item. According to the official Geocaching website, there are over 2.3 million caches around the world! Seriously, there are everywhere.

This is us in 2009 after finding a cache in complete darkness with just our tiny flashlights. We still have that random little cube (our takeaway item from the cache).

It’s kind of turned into a craze, so you may already know all about it, but here’s how to do it (beginner’s version, since that’s what I am):

  1. Grab a GPS or geocaching app (there are several out there—free version here, only shows three caches; full version here).
  2. Go to geocaching.com, and enter your zip code to find caches near you. OR just search on the geocaching app.
  3. Select a cache near or far, then use your GPS to get to the coordinates. (Or follow the steps in the app.) Depending on the kind of cache, you may want to bring a little trinket to leave behind or not.
  4. Document the occasion with pictures, and repeat as desired!

I was definitely a skeptic about the whole thing, but it is so fun to follow the clues and actually find this hidden little container that you would never have known about just walking by. Yesterday we made it a little family activity. We found a cache about a half mile away (one of many nearby—just do a search of your zip code and see how many there are!). We were actually about to give up, because the instructions seemed a little vague and the ground was covered in snow, but after not too long we found what seemed like the spot, Ben pulled back a rock, and there it was!

Granted, the little paper inside for signing your name was totally soaked, but we just logged online that we found this cache. We hope to explore a few more in the area and wherever we move to next! At some point we’d like to create our own cache somewhere, but that will be a post for another, very-much-in-the-future day..

{Aerial image via Wikimedia Commons}

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6 thoughts on “geocaching: how to do it and why you totally should

  1. People used to geocache a lot when we lived In Okinawa. We never did, but I managed to find lots of blogs of people who did while searching for other things. I’m sure my kids would love it though!

    • Yeah, I think it would be super fun with (or without!) kids. I was deterred at first because it sounded more complicated and adventurous than it really is. You should try it!

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