In May of the year 2000, Selective Availability was removed from the Global Positioning System, which allowed small containers to be specifically placed and consequently located using GPS by the general public. And thus geocaching was born. If you’re new to geocaching, you’ll find it is a challenging & fun treasure hunt type activity for people of all ages. Caches are hidden quite literally all over the globe and avid geocachers are usually in the hundreds to thousands of finds. Geocachers have also adopted a motto of CITO, Cache In Trash Out, in an effort to help clean up our environment while having fun!
While the origin of geocaching required GPS equipment or at the very least coordinates and a compass, users may now use their smart phones to navigate as well. Traditionally a geocache is a waterproof container containing minimally a logbook. The caches can range in size and difficulty to reach/find. If the cache is nano, micro or small, it will most likely contain just the logbook. If the cache is medium size or larger (like trash can size!), it may also contain trinkets, tradable, trackables or a variety of other items. There are other types of caches like virtual caches or a BIT cache for example that do not have traditional logbooks. Some of the more difficult ones require puzzles to be solved! As this hobby has expanded over the years, there has been no end to the creativity cache hiders have come up with to make a challenging find.
A Seattle based company, Groundspeak, is basically geocaching company headquarters. They run the official website and app for geocaching. Users can choose between a free, basic membership or a paid, more detailed membership. Basic membership allows the user to see geocaches on a map that are within a certain geographic radius to their immediate location. As the user travels, the available geocaches change with location. The available caches are low in difficulty level for the beginner. With a paid membership, users may search any area for hidden caches, regardless of the current location. These members also have access to much higher difficulty level caching. Each cache appears on the map with a cache name, location, description and often a hint. The user can scroll through other user’s comments that have attempted the same cache. These can be useful if the cache has been lost or removed, other comments will help prevent a newbie from searching for a cache that may no longer be there. Users track their finds on the app and sign the logbook. If the container has items for trade (usually small toys or trinkets), be sure to add something in for other users. Trackables are items that are specifically made with a tracking number to trace its history of location. If you are fortunate enough to find some sort of trackable, you may take the object and log its tracking number. Many trackable have traveled all over the world!
There are websites, Instagram accounts, Pintrest boards and multitudes of other forums dedicated to geocaching. Millions of people from all over the world love this hobby. As a matter of fact, Hugh Jackman is a dedicated geocacher! If you’re interested in trying something new, download the free app and give it a try. There are a handful of easy caches hidden right here in Union.