You might have heard about Geocaching, or maybe you play this worldwide game, but I’ve decided to sum up what GC is.
What geocaching is?
“An activity or pastime in which an item, or a container holding a number of items, is hidden at a particular location for GPS users to find by means of coordinates posted on the Internet.”
How to play Geocaching?
This is the geocaching map of Manchester in UK. As you can see, there are plenty of caches everywhere. Caches are marked by rounds. There are lots of types of caches, but the basic one most interesting for beginners is a traditional cache (the green round which is the most of all caches).
“The goal of this game is to take you to places where you would never go yourself.”
Searching for caches at home and preparations
In the map, you choose a cache (you like the idea, you are close to it etc.). For example, we have chosen this one.
When you look at the green round, you can see the location of this cache. In the chart there’s basic information about cache:
- name of the cache
- geocaching code (GC5C8N2 – you can look for caches by their numbers)
- name of its owner
- date when if was hidden
- its difficulty (how hard it is to find it)
- terrain (how the terrain where it is hidden is like – one star is very easy, five star might be for example on a tree where you can’t climb without special equipment)
- cache size (cache might be micro, small, regular or large, it means how big the box of the cache is – this one is micro)
- favorite points (how many people marked this cache as their favorite)
There are also options such as “add to list”, “send to GPS” or “log visit”.
If you open the cache itself, there’s much more information.
You can see the cache GPS coordinates, which is essential for your searching. On the right, there are atributes – in this case it says that the cache is accessible for wheelchairs (there you can look at other atributes). Then there’s the “Geocache Description”, which is listing with story of what is interesting on the place where the cache is hidden.
Below the listing, there is a hint, which is encrypted. You can decrypt it by clicking on the link “decrypt”, it says “Post nearest to tree.” then. This is an important information you should remember when looking for the cache.
Then there are people’s logs – logged visits. There are people who found the cache, who didn’t found it, who said it needs maintenance and so on. You can look for tips and other stealthy hints, but it is forbidden to give spoilers in logs! The cacher who found the cache logs his visit on this page, he might write his story, how he liked the cache and so on.
Going out & equipment
After learning all important information, this is the time to go out! In my opinion, the easiest way for geocaching beginners is to find caches with their mobile phone. Navigation device is the best solution, but any smartphone with GPS is sufficient. The best is to download an app – if you buy a Geocaching Premium Member, you can use their official app, if not, there are many alternatives such as c:geo, Locus or others you can try. I’m satisfied with c:geo which is compatible with Android. And you need a pen!
In the app, you find your chosen cache (or any other) on the map, click on it – there’s all the available information, too. You go to the place where the cache should be hidden. Once you are here, it is good to turn on an compass in the app which shows how far (in meters) the cache is and what direction.
That’s where the fun begins. Looking for the cache outside without having any idea where it could be is very funny. Be aware of people who don’t know this game, you have to act inconspicuously and hide the cache as it was before. There are examples how a cache might look like:
Some owners are really creative:
So you can see that it could be everywhere. It is usually a small box which is marked as geocaching object. There’s a paper inside ( itis called logbook) where you write the day of your visit and your username you have chosen on Geocaching.com. After you get back home, you will log it on the website as “found it”, you can tell others how it was, if it is difficult to find it or any other notes or problems. It might happen that you will not find it, but don’t worry, you can try it plenty times, or go to find others!
Geocaching has lots of variants and possibilities and it is spread worldwide, so you can collect caches near your home as well as on a vacation in Greece.
Do you play Geocaching? How long and how many caches have you found?