Good morning Muggle*!
In an email a friend asked me what geocaching is. I'd been thinking about blogging about it, so here's the scoop!
Geocaching is treasuring hunting using GPS coordinates (waypoints) posted on a central website to lead you to a "cache" of goodies (or sometimes just a tightly rolled up paper inside a tiny container).
You drive or walk by geocaches many times throughout your day, I'd bet. If you live in our town, you walk by two every time you go to the park. There's one on the service road leaving Wal-Mart, one past Brookshires, and many more throughout the countryside.
A geocache is a small containter-like a film canister, a mason jar, or maybe a big pickle jar that usually contains cheap trinkets and a pen/paper log. Sometimes it contains a special coin or "travel bug" that is tracked as it goes along from cache to cache. Our next one will contain Pirates of the Carribean chapstick, scented bubbles, glo-sticks, mini flashlight, party poppers, mini picture frames, and so on.
A geocacher finds the info on each cache on geocaching.com, a free site where all things geocaching are discussed, tracked, logged, and advertised. Once the geocacher decides which cache(s) he or she is going after, they enter the waypoints into their GPS and head out with the family to find some treasure! When the treasure is found, the log is dated & signed by you and you can exchange a trinket in their cache with one you brought along. Upon returning home, the cacher logs the find on the cache owner's online log.
Its harder than it looks! There's a local one we've visited twice with no luck. It's probably that we need more practice using the GPS (although I noticed my friend Brandi logged it as a DNF--Did Not Find--too). There's a learning curve for sure and the first few treks result in a list of things not to forget next time: flashlight, bug spray, toilet paper, gloves, a pen...I'm sure we aren't done building our list, lol.
Even though we aren't so good at it yet, we're getting out of the house getting some exercise, and making good memories together. It's pretty cheap, too-after buying the GPS and gas!
There are more aspects to the game-like puzzle caches, themed caches, benchmarking (a similar game not invovling caches) and more. Hop over to geocaching.com to learn all about it and to see how many caches are in your area!
PS-I just saw last night that there's a forum page on the site that helps hook up people wanting to buy a GPS with people upgrading and selling their old GPS.
*A Muggle is a non geocacher-especically one who might be in the area while you're walking around the same tree for the 5th time mumbling to yourself while fixated on a small gadget in your hand.