What Is Geocaching?

Want to spice up your life with a little technological treasure hunt? Why not try geocaching, the adventure game played with a GPS device?

When one first hears the term geocaching, they may be inclined to think that the term has something to do with the lay of the land, hence "geo," or with some computer-memory terminology, hence "caching." Or maybe you hear the term and think it has something to do with finance and banking. You would be partly right on both accounts. The word "geocaching" is pronounced "geo-cash-ing" (thus, there is some reference to finance) and it is actually an adventure game that can be played by anybody in the world.

In order to get involved in geocaching, one has to possess a GPS device. GPS stands for global positioning system and these devices can be bought at camping or fishing supply stores, as well as online through several vendors. Simply perform a keyword search on "GPS Device" on virtually any search engine and you should be able to find one within your price range. With a name like "global positioning system" one may be tempted to think that a device like this could be used by others to detect your position on the planet at any given moment, giving way to government conspiracy theories, "Big Brother" and the like. In fact, GPS devices are much simpler and less dodgy than that. These devices help one get their location on earth within twenty feet (at least) so that navigation to another location (i.e. another camping ground or hiking trail) can be easily attained, using longitude and latitude coordinates. While GPS devices, depending on the model you purchase, can have numerous functionalities, the only thing you need to learn to do to geocache is figure out how to enter "waypoints." The waypoints are simply the coordinates where a "cache" is hidden for an adventurous geocacher to find.

Now we need to learn what a cache is and where to find out the coordinates of a cache that needs to be found. If you do a keyword search on "geocaching" on a search engine, you will find multiple sites of fun-loving geocachers who have hidden caches in locations all over the globe and who list their coordinates online for other geocachers to find. So, what can you expect in a cache? Simply think of geocaching as a fun and adventurous treasure hunt and you will get into the spirit of this technological game. When you find a cache, it can contain any number of things. Some caches simply contain the logbook that lists the names and dates of all the geocachers who were able to find the hidden cache along with some fun messages written by those who have discovered the cache. Other caches may include items like used books, board games, gift cards, cash, coins or maps. The array of items that can be found in a cache are endless. However, there are also a few rules that all geocachers should follow. For example, upon discovering a cache, the geocacher is permitted to take an item out of the cache; however, she/he MUST leave an item behind for the next geocacher who discovers the cache. While this rule cannot be strictly enforced, it is a matter of trust and integrity amongst all true geocachers. Also, one must never leave food items behind in a cache, since they can easily be spoiled or discovered by animals and eaten.

While the idea of geocaching may sound like a simple treasure hunt, do not be fooled into thinking that all caches can be easily found. Some caches are located in out-of-the-way locations like forests and parks or even underwater, taking the geocacher through some rough hiking and, perhaps, diving. Other caches located in the city may also be difficult to find since GPS coordinates may not always be 100% accurate. Once you get into geocaching, you will have a terrific time and maybe create some great friends. At the very least, you will have a little adventure in your life!

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