As full-time Rv’ers, Chris and I are always looking for cool inexpensive and healthy things to do. Back in 2014 while researching the full-time RV lifestyle, I was reading a blog that mentioned something about Geocaching. I don’t remember whose blog it was but I remember thinking it sounded pretty cool.
One day I mentioned it to a friend of mine expecting a “what the heck is that” response but instead got a “hey, I do that” response. I was a little shocked. Not only does he Geocache he has taken “travel caches” to other countries!!!. Now those who know me know I don’t fly so that would never happen to me but it still sounded pretty cool. Besides, most caches you just find and put back.
So What Is It?
Ok, so what is this Geocaching I speak of? Good Question. According to the official Geocache Website, Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the Geocache (container) hidden at that location. My definition would be “A game where you use million-dollar satellites to find Tupperware”…lol
Seriously though what happens is that people will hide stuff in Geocache containers. They take those containers to the location where they want to hide it and place the container. They would then enter the coordinates and whatever other information about the location on the Geocaching website. Usually, they will also include a little history or fun facts about the location on the website. Sometimes they even put clues!!! Once approved by the reviewing committee at the Geocaching site, it becomes an official cache that you can find and log.
As Always Common Sense Rules
As with anything else you do in today’s world, you should use some common sense to ensure your safety while Geocaching. Below are a few quick tips to ensure your safety while Geocaching;
- Make sure your phone is charged. If you are with a partner, make sure their phone is charged too. You never know if you might have or encounter an emergency while out Geocaching.
- Bring snacks and water especially if you are hypoglycemic. Sometimes you get so involved in caching, by the time you realize your sugar dropped or you’re thirsty you can be miles from your vehicle.
- We like to bring walking sticks with us. They are awesome to help move brush out of the way while looking for caches.
- Bring a pen. There is usually some kind of memo book or paper to sign in on. Many times there are pens in the cache containers but they don’t work. Sometimes the cache containers are too small for a pen. We throw a pen and some business cards in our camera case. You could also bring some inexpensive items to leave in the cache if you want.
- We have also got ourselves turned around in the middle of the woods and forgot which way we came in. A good compass (they are on most phones now) or an app like “Map My Walk” is good to use. The “Map My Walk” app saved us big time once.
- Know your environment. We have found that sometimes caches have been placed near poison ivy. Also, use common sense. Don’t go into a heavily wooded area by yourself. You never know who might be watching you. It’s a sad truth of today’s world.
- Lastly, bring a camera!!!. We love to take pictures as you can tell by our Geocaching page.
Watch Out For Muggles
Did you know Geocaching even has its own language? Do you know what a “Muggle” is? What about “TFTH”? A “Muggle” is a non-Geocacher. According to the official Geocaching website, a “Muggle” is a non-geocacher and it is based on the Harry Potter series which is a non-magical person. “TFTH” stands for Thanks For The Hide sometimes written as “T4TH”.
There are a couple of very informative pages on the official Geocaching Website. I will provide links to “Ten Tips For Newbies Looking For Their First Geocache” and “The Geocaching Glossary” from the official Geocaching website at the end of this post. Does it sound too complicated? It’s really not.
Time To Cache!!!
To us, it’s just plain fun. get discouraged if you do not find a cache your first time out. Our first attempts at Geocaching did not go well. The day we decided to try it we were all excited. We had joined the basic plan (which is a free membership) on the Geocaching website and had located some caches in our own neighborhood!!! It was a little cool out so we donned our jackets and jumped in the truck.
We were off and running (well driving…lol). We had downloaded the app on my phone and we were following the directions. Don’t worry, I will get into how to get started in a little while. We pulled up in front of what looked like a utilities right of way path. We looked around at the area as we sat in the truck. There was a landscaping truck with a few landscapers working on the neighboring property and a few other neighboring houses had people working on their own lawns.
So What Do We Do Now?
At this point, we felt pretty stupid. We were just sitting there and felt like everyone was staring at us. In hindsight, they probably were staring at us because we were just sitting there… lol. We decided we either had to get out and do something or leave.
We exited the truck and started walking down the path with the phone in hand. Finally, we heard the infamous ding we have learned to love. We were close. Real close. Now what. We started combing through the bushes with absolutely no idea of what we were looking for. As we looked back towards our truck you could see a few people were interested in what we were doing.
We Were Such Rookies
We started to panic again. Not really sure why. We were such rookies…lol. We wound up walking up the path further until we were out of site. We stopped, looked at each other and burst out laughing. What the heck are we doing? We decided not to worry about the lookers and went back to where the app said it was. By this time the people that had been watching us had gone about their business with no interest in what we were doing.
We didn’t know it at the time but we just discovered our first way to get rid of muggles!!! We spent about a half-hour looking through bushes and shrubs before finally giving up. Back to the truck, we went heads down and empty-handed. No worries we thought. We’ll find the next one.
Let’s Try A Different One
Off to the second location. After a short drive, we pulled into the parking lot of a small playground. The playground was in the front then came the parking lot and the wooded area was towards the back. There were some kids with their parents in the playground. Oh great, more muggles… lol.
This time we were not as nervous and a little more determined. We walked toward the wooded area with phone app in hand. Shortly into the trails, the sound went off indicating we were getting close. I don’t remember exactly how long we searched but it was quite a while. The end result was the same as the first, a DNF (did not find).
Our First Cache!!!
We left there thinking maybe this is not for us. We never did go for strike three although the app said there were many caches nearby. We went on with our day running errands. That lasted about a week. The next week we found our first Geocache while we were waiting for our friends to show up at a restaurant. I won’t go into that here because I have dedicated a whole page to our Geocaching adventures including that story. Again, I will put that link to Our Adventures With Geocaching at the bottom of this post.
So how do you get started? It’s really easy. There are two types of memberships, the basic and the premium. The basic membership is a free one. There are not nearly as many caches on the basic as the premium but it is a good way to get started to see if this is something you might enjoy. The premium membership comes in two ways. You can try it for 3 months at a cost of $10 or join for a year at the cost of $30.
Let’s Get Going!!!
Once you join, you can download the app for your phone. You will use this app to find caches out in the field. Some more advanced cachers use hand-held GPS units. We use the app. You will pick a cache that is nearby. Once you do, it will lead you towards the cache. Once you get within 30 feet it will notify you with a dinging sound. The rest is up to you.
We started out with the free membership and upgraded to the premium. We actually let it lapse once because we were so busy with our plans to start RV’ing full time we didn’t even realize it had expired. One day we went to log onto the app and realized we let it lapse. Oops. Now we try and cache more often so we keep it up to date. We are even considering placing our own cache somewhere.
The caches come in all shapes and sizes. My favorite one so far was a rat that was attached to a tree. You can see the rat by clicking on Our Adventures With Geocaching Page provided below.
What Do The Containers Look Like And Where Can We Get Some?
Now for the containers. What do these containers look like and where can you purchase them if you would like to hide caches? Cache containers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be fake rocks, sprinklers, plastic animals, birdhouses and so much more. You can find and purchase Geocaching containers a few different ways. You can go to the official Geocaching website, official Geocaching stores, Amazon, and other various websites. They come in all shapes and sizes. The pictures above and below this paragraph are a couple of examples of containers that can be purchased from the Amazon site right from your home.
So that’s Geocaching. I hope I have piqued an interest in it for you. It’s a great way to get some exercise, see some great scenery, get outdoors, and most importantly have fun. Geocaching is not just for couples and/or friends. It’s also a great way to spend the day with your family.
Let’s Cache Together
If you think this is something you would like to try, head over to the Geocaching site to sign up. Once you do, look us up and send us a friend request. Our screen name on that site is “camper3592”. We would love some company on our Geocaching adventures!!! Oh, by the way, we are not Geocaching affiliates and get no compensation if you sign up. It’s just pure fun!!!