“”To travel is to live.””
There is nothing in the world that is as rejuvenating and uplifting as is travelling to far of lands in search of something you don’t know. Travelling opens you up to dimensions you didn’t know existed. It makes you more experienced, more fun and more understanding. It is through travelling that you learn. And to make this journey more adventurous is what geocaching is all about. Described as one of the most outstandingly incredible outdoor recreational activities geocaching is more or less a game. In this the participants or more precisely the Geocachers use navigation tools or devices such as a GPS receiver (Global Positioning System) or any other mobile device to hide and look for containers that are known as “”geocaches”” or simply “”caches.”” What is exciting about this outdoor activity is that it spans over the entire world because the Geocaches can be hidden anywhere in the world with no boundaries or limitations whatsoever. A traditional Geocaches is composed of a container that is waterproof. Inside the containers are a pen or a pencil and a logbook. Every Geocacher, who is successful in locating and unearthing the cache, takes that logbook out, registers the date on which they found it, signs it and then puts it back exactly where they found it. Sometimes the geocache may be much larger than just a waterproof box. Such boxes contain souvenirs such as playthings and knickknacks signifying the sentimental value of the geocacher who might have placed it there in the box while making his entry when he found it. Geocaching is one of the most exciting ways of getting to know the world and its people better in an entirely unique way, with adventure and fun infused in it. It is one activity that not only lets you travel but also enables you to play a little game of treasure hunting, the treasure being something unknown that someone might have hidden at a place you don’t even know.
There are a large number of people who go on geocaching trips to get a break from their lives and travel to locations in the lookout for their caches. For those who love exploring the earth or enjoy travelling and like to pursue engaging outdoor activities individually, Geocaching is an excellent alternative that combines both the interests. While the journey and the total activity in itself is a thoroughly reviving experience, there are a few tips and tricks that make that possible. If you have planned to go on a geocaching trip and leave a mark behind in a logbook that someone may find in say a hundred years from now all packed up in a plastic box then here is everything that you need to know about it from tips to etiquettes to the packing list.
Here are some basic steps that you need to complete before you do anything else:
- Since geocaching is done using a navigating tool, what better than a GPS? So if you don’t have one, buy it. Even your smartphone that has a GPS will suffice.
- This incredible sport has a myriad of websites dedicated to it. What you need to do is create an account on one of these websites, if needed and get an access to all the information you need regarding where to begin. These sites have caches list along with some exclusive features that will help ease your find. Some websites offer access to some useful functions only to their premium members. So you could also become a member of one of these to get your hands on the information.
- Once you become a member of one such geocaching website all you need to do is create your list of caches located in the places you desire to go. Since Geocaches are everywhere, you don’t have to worry about going to a place where they are not present. Whether or not you can find them is a different story.
- Since geocaching is an activity that requires interest, it is important for you to choose a place that you will like to explore. Make a record of all the information about that location and also, use the website to find out the difficulty level of that area. Some places have caches hidden in areas that are not easy to find. So if you are not an experienced geocacher, you might want to start with locations that are easier.
- Using information from the web page of the cache, mark the latitude and longitudinal coordinates of where the cache is.
Here are some tips that you must keep in mind while on a geocaching trip:
- If it is your first time going on a geocaching trip, then you might want to analyze the difficulty level considering both the terrain and the geocaches.
- To add more excitement and increase your curiosity, choose a cache that people have marked as their favorite.
- Choose a cache that someone has found in the recent times as this will make sure that the cache is where it is supposed to be.
- Geocaches are a game of hiding and seeking, but they are much more than just hiding behind a wall or under the table which is why despite all the information about where they might be not all the geocachers can find them. So whenever you think you have reached the exact point, scan everything carefully. Caches are not out there waiting for you to see; they need some scanning as they are placed in a way that they look like a part of the landscape. If you even slightly overlook a tiny space, you might just miss it.
- Geocaching helps you learn a lot of new things. Try to connect with other geocachers as that will assist in forming a communication to exchange facts and knowledge about the caches they have found and the ones you have found. You’ll also get to know a lot of interesting stories.
- Though the boxes might contain a pen or a pencil, in any case, you must not forget to bring one with you.
Follow these geocaching etiquettes:
- When you find the cache, take a good look at it to analyze exactly how it was placed because there is a significance of why the owner hid it at that particular point in that particular way. Geocaching is a game, and you have to play it in the right spirit to be a good player.
- Another important thing about geocaching is that this is not Hansel and Gretel where you can drop bread crumbs or just anything for that matter so that the next geocacher may have an easy way to the cache. Make sure that you do not leave behind anything that is not supposed to be there that way. Remember, leave no trace behind!
Here goes the packing list:
- Extra batteries and power charger: Since you will be using GPS for as long as you will be geocaching it is important for you to begin your packing with collecting batteries. You must know how long a fully charged battery lasts so you can pack accordingly. Also, before you pack, make sure that you check all the batteries if they are working or not. If you are planning to use the GPS on your phone, you need to have a power bank/ charger that can charge the batteries when they are drained out.
- TOPO maps: Upgrade your GPS with all the topo maps of the region you are going to, so you don’t have much trouble finding the small paths.
- Paper: Pack some sheets so that you can make notes while you are on the go. Write down the cache names on it so it is easier for you to remember. Jot down any important milestone that you may find on your way so you can add it to your geocaching journal later.
- Waterproof packs: Since Geocaching is an outdoor activity that requires you to walk around and explore you have to remember that the more time you spend out there in the open, the more prone you are to the risk of weather changes.
Since you have tools including your smartphone or GPS, batteries or power bank, you have to carry a waterproof bag so you can secure these items in when it rains.
- Food and Water: Geocaches are anywhere, from densely populated cities to a lifeless wasteland. So you have to stock up on your food and water supplies. Prefer taking MRE or Meals, Ready to Eat as they are impact resistant and ruggedized for extreme use. Each MRE pack has approximately 1250 calories and that level never comes down due to their packing in the hermetically sealed environment. MRE or Meals, Ready to Eat come in lots of varieties and contain tasty food that also includes desserts, snacks, and beverages. They also carry water packets. If not then you can easily buy MRE water packs separately. You don’t have to worry about heating an MRE meal before you eat because of their self-heating system. Since you can eat them on the go, and because they are so convenient and light in weight MREs are the perfect choice for any outdoor trip.
- Trinket: To make the trip more enjoyable, you could take an item that you want to place in the box, so others after you find it. Make sure it is something the inspires the curiosity of the people who find it after you. If the items placed in the box follow a particular theme, information of which you will get from the cache’s webpage, then take an article that follows that theme.
- Clothing: The kind of clothes you pack for the trip depends mostly on the type of weather conditions of the place you are going to. Depending upon the heat or cool factor pack accordingly. Always make sure that you pack for some unpredictable changes in weather that mostly occur in the form of rain. Therefore, also, pack a waterproof jacket, waterproof boots, extra pair of jeans and socks. Overshoes are a great idea too. Walking in wet shoes is uncomfortable, especially when you have to do it all day long. You could also take some plastic bags and if it starts to rain or you have to walk through a place with water puddles you could wear them over your shoes so they won’t get wet.
Once you have all these items packed in your backpack, with a positive attitude and the spirit of adventure you are sure to make just as many entries in your cache logbook as you had planned, if you are lucky enough then may be even more!”