Who’s never wanted to have an adventure? Everywhere you look, there are movies, shows, games, and books, all designed to capture their audience with the longing for adventure. We need it. It’s part of what drives our world today and continues to push us to new frontiers.
But what happens when we’re stuck behind a desk, living our 9 to 5 life? The monotony of the day drags on. We feel restless. Our desire dwindles. And deep down, we know there’s something we could be doing.
Something that fills you with excitement. Something that quenches your thirst for adventure.
While crawling through ruins or searching for Nazi treasure isn’t in our everyday reach, something much simpler is. Geocaching.
A Bit of History
A Geocache is a small, waterproof container, that is hidden and mapped by a global positioning system (GPS). People use their preferred location reference system to find it and add their name to the log.
The first Geocache was created in 2000, and from that, thousands more have been created, spanning the globe. They’re hidden along cliffs, in forests, in cities, and more. Almost anywhere a human can go, there is potential to find a Geocache.
They were created as a method to test the accuracy of GPSs. The originator, Dave Ulmer, placed the first cache in Beavercreek, Oregon. Within three days, two people had found the cache and excited by the prospect of the game, dozens of others began hiding their own.
The activity exploded, evolving into a website that maintains the locations of all caches and a community that supports environmentally friendly challenges and exploration.
The desired end-state of Geocaching is to find a small waterproof container that’s been hidden somewhere in the area you chose to explore. You use a GPS to match your location to the one provided.
Some caches are listed with the latitude and longitude. Others will give you a start location and a series of clues you need to solve in order to find it. Regardless of how they get your there, a lot of these scenic routes can give you some breathtaking views.
If you want an added challenge that will teach you some great skills, use a map and compass. Plenty of sites sell MGRS maps and can convert the latitude and longitude to a grid for you. Although it’s a more difficult technique to master, with a map of your area, a compass, and a GPS, the exploring doesn’t need to stop when you find the cache. You give yourself nearly endless possibilities and learn some navigation skills in the process.
Every cache will have something inside. At a minimum, it will contain a log that you can add your name to, proving that you found the location. Many of them will have some sort of trinket from the previous finder. If you choose to take that item, it’s customary to replace it with something of equal or greater value.
How Do You Start?
To get started, you’ll need to make a free account on Geocaching.com. From there, just select the area you want to explore and see what caches are available.
You’ll also need to find a GPS. Aside from purchasing second hand, the Garmin eTrex 10 is your best bet. It’s cheap, for a GPS, has reliable accuracy and a simple user interface.
Choosing Your Adventure
Because there are so many caches located around the world, you’ll be tight pressed to find an area that doesn’t have any. This gives you some great opportunities. Select an area you’ve never been and start exploring. If you want to try some areas you know before moving on to different regions, have at it. The caches could lead you to places with great scenery that you’ve missed before.
Some caches may be difficult to reach, requiring a kayak or canoe. Some are atop cliffs, with access only to those who can brave a climb. Be careful as you adventure, but keep in mind that this is a great opportunity to learn some new skills and hobbies.
Geocaching offers something great for a reasonably low price. Once you have a GPS, the number of places you can explore for caches is incredible. This is a great way to do something healthy, to see what’s out there and to enjoy the great outdoors. Give it a try.
Have you ever sought a cache? Tell us about it.
Post written by Christopher DuBois, check him out at http://www.chargeroutdoors.com