Did you know there is hidden treasure around the coast? It’s not from a shipwreck or forward-thinking pioneer. It’s actually part of a popular new game that gets people outdoors and away from their computer screen, a technology game that doesn’t include virtual reality or violence. Would you try it? Many people have. Some might even say its addicting. Geocaching is a hot new trend and easy to play. Here’s your geocaching 101.
What is it?
Geocaching is simply an outdoor treasure hunting game that utilizes GPS and GPS-enabled devices. Players carefully navigate to specific GPS coordinates and then search for the geocache prize at that particular location.
How Did Geocaching Become a Thing?
On May 2nd, 2000, twenty-four satellites situated in various places around the globe processed new government orders, and suddenly the accuracy of GPS technology vastly improved. Dave Ulmer, a GPS enthusiast, and computer consultant wanted to test the accuracy of the new technology by hiding a navigational prize in the forest. He then posted about his hidden treasure in an Internet-based GPS users’ group. The idea was simple. The finder would need to locate the prize with only the use of his or her GPS device. The rules were simple: “Take some stuff, leave some stuff.”
Dave Ulmer, the father of geocaching, hid his black bucket on May 3rd, 2000, in the woods by Beavercreek, Oregon. He left behind a logbook and pencil, along with a variety of treasures: including videos, software, books, and a slingshot, before posting about it on sci.geo.satellite-nav: The now renowned GPS coordinates were N 45° 17.460 W 122° 24.800
Within only a few days, two different readers read about his treasure on the Internet and used their GPS receivers to find it. They, in turn, shared their findings online. It didn’t take long for others to join in the game. The idea spread quickly, and that was the birth of geocaching.
How Did it Get its Name?
In the beginning, it was called the “GPS Stash Hunt,” but over time it’s come to be known as geocaching. It joins two familiar words, geo, for geography, used to describe the global nature of the game, and caching, originally a French word referring to a hiding place for temporarily stored items.
How Do You Play it?
Geocaching is pretty simple. Just follow these 8 easy steps:
- Begin by registering for a free basic membership.
- Go to the “Hide & Seek a Cache” website.
- Enter your postal code where requested, and then click on “search.”
- Look through the list and click on any geocache location.
- Enter the GPS coordinates from the one you chose into your GPS Device.
- Use your GPS device to help you find the hidden geocache treasure
- Sign the logbook and return the cache, or leave something else of equal or higher value.
- Share your geocaching experience and photos online.
Where is the Cache?
There are geocaching prizes hidden in strange places all around the globe. There are even treasures hidden deep underwater for scuba divers. Believe it or not, we have lots of cache in our coastal region (see what I did there? ?) For example, you could take a hike on the picturesque Clatsop Loop Trail or head over to Seaview on the Long Beach Peninsula. Cache treasures are hidden all over the world!
What Kind of Treasures Might You Find?
You never know what you might find on your geocaching hunt. These items turn the adventure into a real treasure hunt. You never know what the cache hider or other cache visitors may have left for you to enjoy. Remember, if you take something, leave something of equal or better value behind. It’s also recommended that prizes be individually packaged in a clear, zipped or sealed plastic bag to protect them from the weather.
Who Can Hide Cache?
Any participant of the geocaching community can hide, find, and maintain geocaches listed on Geocaching.com. Even you can hide one! All it takes it a little time and energy to get involved. Why not give it a try? Get out of the house, have some adventures, and find cool treasures! What are you waiting for?