Looking for an outdoor activity that combines fitness, adventure, and treasure hunting? One that friends and family of all ages can participate in? Geo caching or Geocaching may be the perfect activity for you!
What is Geo Caching (Geocaching)?
Geo caching (Geocaching) involves searching for containers that are hidden by other geocachers in nearly every location around the world. There are millions of geocaches of all shapes and sizes. Searches are made using hand-held GPS devices (Global Positioning System), and other information listed on numerous websites by other geocachers. Some are easy to find and some nearly impossible.
What is a Geocache?
Geocaches are typically small plastic containers, or military surplus ammo cans, and contain a logbook and pencil as well as other inexpensive “treasures” that can be traded. If you take an item from the cache, you should replace it with an item of equal or greater value. They also have microcaches, these can be more difficult to find.
Caches are located in diverse places, from wooded trails, underwater to city streets. Some websites rate geocaches by level of difficulty, cache type, and cache size. This allows you to start with a simple geocaching trek in your local area, and then work up to more difficult finds.
I have to say it can become addictive and frustrating at the same time. I have literally spent hours in one spot searching for a cache. Some may even have riddles to solve before you even know the location of the cache. Treasure hunting at it’s finest in my opinion.
Geo caching has broad appeal and offers a wide variety of benefits. The benefits of geocaching will vary according to how a person chooses to engage in the activity, but the potential benefits can be great.
Clearly, physical benefits are obtained when people become actively involved in the search, but people will also accrue important social benefits from engaging in the act of geocaching. The potential educational benefits are profound—a quick Internet search reveals powerful examples of how geocaching can be used to teach history, geography, social studies, math, and science. Geocaching also teaches people to have respect for the environment through positive environmental stewardship.
Physical Benefits to Geocaching
One of the chief benefits of geocaching is that it involves being physically active. The level of physical activity will vary according to the person and the caches that are chosen. Cache locations can vary from urban streets, underwater to high upon a mountain top. If you are organizing a geocaching experience or program, you can tailor the level of activity involved specifically to the individual or individuals who will be participating.
Additionally, you can encourage participants to continue their involvement in geocaching independently as a way to integrate more physical activity into their life. By plotting a series of geocaches to be visited in sequence, you can create a course for groups or individuals to follow. Some participants might run the course trying to find the caches as quickly as possible; others might walk the course or run between some caches and walk between others.
I have trail ran a few geocaching courses and not only do you get a workout but it increases the difficulty of orienteering to the location and then having to think about clues and search for the hiding spot while tired. You will need a good pair of (My top choice>)trail running shoes for this kind of Geo Caching.
In short, geocaching can be used to carefully individualize the level of physical activity that people receive as a result of their participation.
Whatever the location, the distances involved, and the level of intensity of the participants, the element of adventure associated with looking for something adds a level of interest that makes geocaching more than simply running or walking.
This element provides an additional benefit. Beyond the physical benefits of the exercise, participants also receive the psychological benefits associated with the challenge and subsequent success of seeking and finding a cache.
Psychological Benefits of Geocaching
Many people feel a true sense of accomplishment in finding a cache, especially if it’s well hidden. Children in particular can build self-esteem through the sense of accomplishment that comes with finding a geocache. Geocaching gives people at all levels of physical ability an opportunity to be successful.
It provides a form of physical activity that does not necessarily demand high levels of physical skill. In addition, geocaching offers the camaraderie that comes with belonging and being part of a group with common interests. People can take part in online communities of geocachers who discuss and exchange their geocaching stories, as well as event caches where geocachers gather in groups with other local cachers to socialize and talk caching.
Educational Benefits of Geocaching
In many respects, the potential educational benefits of geocaching are limited only by one’s imagination. Many popular geocaches are located at or near sites of historical or geographical significance. Many of these caches will contain information about the location. Some will focus on well-known information, while others will focus on more arcane trivia that will enrich the knowledge of those who find the cache.
The process of setting a cache can also be very educational. If you are organizing a geocaching experience in an area of historical or geographical significance, you may find yourself researching and learning new information about a particular place in order to provide that knowledge to those who have to find your cache.
What are Muggles?
What Kind of GPS Device Do I Need?
Your GPS device doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate. You simply need the ability to enter a waypoint and navigate to that waypoint. In fact, many GPS-enabled smartphones can be used for geocaching.
A list of Geo caching (Geocaching) websites to get you started on your treasure hunting adventure:
Here are some apps that are rated pretty good for geocaching. Some are available for apple as well. You could also up the difficulty by not using GPS and go old school with a map and compass. But it is always good to have the backup.
So there you have it. Now get to it and start your own adventure treasure hunting for a geocache. Whether your hunting for caches in your local area or around the world remember to enjoy yourself. It is not about the treasure, it is about the hunt. Feel free to comment your own experiences with Geocaching or perhaps your most challenging treasure hunt!
World Traveling Blogger, Social Media Expert and Nerd who has a passion for Adventure and Fitness.