GPS Geocache Hunting

GPS GeocacheHave you heard the term Geocaching and wondered what it was?  In the simplest terms; a person hides a box in the woods somewhere and records the coordinates of it and then posts those coordinates on the internet for other people to hunt and find the box.  This is GPS Geocache Hunting.  It’s a high tech game of hide and seek.

Would the Real Dave Ulmer Please Stand Up?

Geocaching was started in 2000 by Dave Ulmer.  He was really just interested to see how accurate his new GPS (Global Positioning System) was.  Dave went and hid a “treasure” and recorded the coordinates from his GPS and posted them online.  A while later, Mike Teague found the cache and posted his experience online.  This started a new hobby and it has ballooned creating an incredible sub-culture of people from all walks of life.

NeoGash?

To start GPS Geocache Hunting, all you need is a GPS.  This is similar, but not the same, GPS that you might have in your car.  A Geocache GPS will be designed with the capability to find a set of coordinates, normally a latitude and longitude.  And it must also be able to set “waypoints”.  This waypoint is the location of the Geocache.  After entering in the waypoint, off you go to find the stash.

“Johnny, Tell Our Contestant the Rules”

There are only three basic rules:

  • If you take something out of the cache, you must put something back of equal or greater value
  • Fill out the log book in the cache box (Make sure to bring a pen or pencil)
  • Go to www.geocaching.com and log your experience

It’s that simple.  At least it seems simple until you start.  Sometimes it is not a straight line to get to the Geocache.  It may take some work.   Your GPS will only point you in the right direction, it is up to you to figure out how to get to the treasure.

“Johnny, What Has (insert your name here) Won?”

What can you expect to find when GPS GeoCache hunting?  Every box should have a logbook for you to fill out.  These logbooks can be entertaining; because of what previous hunters have written in them.  There can also be small trinkets.   But, as stated above, make sure to leave something if you take something.  Also, make sure that your item is in a sealable plastic bag.  You have also accomplished something which is a great reward, not to mention the exercise and being in the great outdoors.

There are also some treasures that are “trackable”.  These are small items with numbers and letters on them.  If you pick up one of these and enter their numbers online, it will show you their history.  Some of these are “Geocoins” and “Travel Bugs ®”.

Some Things That You Should Not Put in a Cache Box:

  • Firearms
  • Food
  • Explosives
  • Knifes
  • Drugs
  • Alcohol

Remember that this is a family fun activity, so submit items accordingly.

Rules For Taking Care of the Environment:

GPS Geocache hunting can be a lot of fun for the entire family, but be aware of your physical impact on the land:

  • Check with the local land manager before searching or placing a Geocache.
  • If you move anything (rock, stick, small animal), put it back exactly where you found it.
  • Do not drive off designated roads.
  • Always spread out to limit the impact of making a new trail.
  • The GPS may be great, but in case it fails, always carry a compass, map and spare batteries.

The rule of Geocaching is the area should look exactly the same when you leave as when you arrived.  Leave no Trace.

As GPS Geocache hunting has grown in popularity, many variations and games have been created.  They have also started a movement called “Cache in Trash Out”.  These events benefit the environment by the geocachers picking up trash along the trail.

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