Geocaching…What Is It?!?

I have a new hobby that is pretty much free and a lot of fun and gets you outside.  It’s geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing).  The idea is that you are given a set of GPS coordinates and your goal is to find a hidden container.  The container can be just about anything and can be big to extremely small.  The container can be hidden in plain sight or require some serious sleuthing.

The most essential part of geocaching has been the app I downloaded to my smartphone, appropriately titled Geocaching.  There is a free app that shows you caches hidden nearby, or for $10 you can get the full app that allows you to search all caches.  After finding our first cache, I decided to spend the $10 for the full app and I don’t regret it.  This app also gives you clues, lets you log your finds, and comment on the individual caches.  It tracks your GPS coordinates and lets you know when you are close to the cache.

Here is Kris finding our first cache, which was hidden about half a mile from our house:



As you can see, inside the camouflaged plastic container there is a log book that you can write in, and various small knickknacks.  You can take something out of the cache, but you are supposed to leave something behind if you do.

While we were home for the holidays, we checked out some caches in Rib Mountain, Wisconsin, where I am from.  My dad came with us.


Kris found the next two caches we looked for and I was pissed happy for him.



Finally, I found the last cache in the park.  This was a very cool one, hidden in a tree trunk in the woods.  The hints said it was a little stinky.


Inside the hollowed out (fake) skunk was a log book.  People get so creative with the caches that it’s very fun to go find them.  Once found and you’ve logged your victory, you put the cache back in the exact same spot so the next geocachers can find it.

We also found one in Niles, Michigan, about a quarter mile from Kris’ parents house. This one was a magnet stuck on a street sign.


Caches are really all over, and wherever you live, there are probably quite a few within walking distance of where you live.  Some caches are unavailable during different times of the year (they get buried in snow or weeds grow up around it in summer).  That’s where the app becomes very helpful because it has those hints.

There was one cache near our house that we didn’t find (you can log these online as DNF).  We are determined to find it this spring when it’s warmer and easier to be outside searching.

Overall, geocaching is a great activity and fun for your whole family.  Someday Kris and I look forward to putting together a cache and hiding it for others to find.  We can’t wait to delve into this hobby some more.

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