What a Geocache!

The geocaching logo from their official webpage.

This week, I joined the ranks of adventurous types from New Jersey (and all around the world) and successfully completed my very first treasure-hunting activity called geocaching (GEE-oh-cash-ing).  Geocaching, which has been around for about 10 years now, is an outdoor activity similar to a scavenger hunt where people can track down hidden treasure chests (usually resealable plastic food containers with a notepad and other small objects inside), using a GPS device.

Why would anyone want to do such a thing? Typically, the caches are hidden in outdoor areas that people want to share with other people, places that even someone who knows the area very well wouldn’t be aware of.  The treasure, in a lot of cases, is not the container that you are searching for, but the view you find or the journey you travel to get there.

Inside the containers, there is usually a logbook to record your presence at the “find” and, depending on the cache, there may be other objects as well.  The objects in the cache are for the taking, but if you take an object, the proper geocaching etiquette is to leave another object behind.  Objects may or may not be tracked through the geocaching website; if you find a trackable object, the idea is to move it to a new location and then record its new coordinates online.  (I’ll explain more about trackable objects in a later post.)

My first geocache was called “My Friend Jeramiah 2” and took me to a special New Jersey location with beautiful scenery, and interesting sounds as well.  The owners of the cache, herpnerd and piglet, said that when they found the location, they immediately knew that they wanted to share it with fellow geocachers.  A fantastic feature about the way geocaching is designed, is that you can find out ahead of time the expected difficulty of a particular cache.  This one promised to be relatively easy, and I completed it in just an hour’s time.  (It took me an hour because I enjoyed the sunny afternoon and walked from a farther distance than necessary.  By car, the entire thing would only take about 15 minutes.)   The find was very worthwhile and so I signed the logbook with an enthusiastic TFTC (thanks for the cache)!  For a link to the “My Friend Jeramiah 2” cache (which is highly recommended for beginners, but also greatly enjoyed by experienced geocachers) you can click here.

Almost there! Just 3 feet to go...

Sound like something you’d be willing to try?
Here are the steps to begin geocaching:

  1. Register for a free Basic Membership.
  2. Click “Hide & Seek a Cache.”
  3. Enter your postal code and click “search.”
  4. Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
  5. Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.
  6. Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.
  7. Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location.
  8. Share your geocaching stories and photos online.

For more information, visit the official website at http://www.geocaching.com/default.aspx.

Remember, you don’t have to be in New Jersey to go geocaching.  Find a cache near you!

~Melissa
The Jersey Girl

Sources and related links:
http://www.geocaching.com/default.aspx
http://hubpages.com/hub/Geocache

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7 thoughts on “What a Geocache!

  1. Very cool! I’m directionally challenged, though, and wonder if I’d be able to actually find anything 🙂 Would the Garmin GPS that I use for my car work for this?

    • Ginny,
      I’m not sure! I’ll have to look into that. I actually don’t have any GPS yet (the one in the picture was borrowed). I have to get one. I bet if you check the geocaching website it has info on the different types of GPS you can use.

      You know, this might be a great thing for you to try while you’re out on a run!

      ~Melissa

  2. I live in NY but I can see even along the eastern border Joisey has a ton of caches to go look for. 🙂 Regarding the Garmin GPS, if it’s specifically designed for road navigation it won’t be very useful as a handheld, especially if you can’t input GPS coordinates. What most people do is get a GPS specifically for driving and a cheaper handheld unit they can use when walking to the cache itself.

    There is an all in one solution though called the Garmin nuvi 500. It’s not perfect but you can utilize it for walking, driving, motorbiking and even cycling. Hope that helps!

  3. This is Eric over at geocaching.com. I’m the social media guy. Thanks for exploring with Geocaching.com! We also have a free iPhone app, that works really well, esp for urban caches if a GPS doesn’t come through for you. Let me know if you need any assist on your next adventure! Glad you liked!

  4. Pingback: Go Geocaching on 10-10-10 « New Jersey Outdoors

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