It was the Summer of 2005. My wife and I had been married for around nine months, and she was six months pregnant. We went to a family reunion. One of my crazy uncles (Aren’t all uncles crazy?) said, “Who would like to go geocaching?”
I had never heard of geocaching. I had NO idea what it was. But hey, my crazy uncles are pretty smart and have good ideas, so off to it. Because I had never been geocaching, my uncle lent me his GPS. All I had to do was follow the arrow and keep the numbers going smaller until they reached zero. Pretty easy.
And then, we found it. An ammo can hidden among some rocks in the campground where we were camping. Someone else had placed it there, and we were able to find it again. I was hooked!
We returned to our home, and I opened up geocaching.com and searched our hometown. There were hundreds of geocaches! I went to work, talking about it. One of my co-workers had hid around a hundred geocaches! He was in the presidency of a local geocachers association. That night, my wife and I ordered a GPS. We went out and looked without a GPS. We actually found one, without a GPS, based off of the map and the ‘hint’!
After the GPS arrived, we really got into it. We walked around following that arrow everyday. My wife credits this with having an easy delivery of our first daughter.
We love geocaching. It is so accessible. Anyone can do it. And, with the advent of smart phones, everyone is already carrying a GPS in their pocket. It is also challenging. There are geocaches everywhere! (Literally, there’s geocaches at the bottom of the ocean and one in the International Space Station.) There are geocaches for every taste and desire.
Everyone of my kids has grown up geocaching. It’s just something we do. We have geocached to find new locations inside cities (there are some wonderful, yet hidden, parks). We have geocached to find new friends (geocaching events are the best).
In our neck of the woods (just a little neck), there aren’t many geocaches, but we plan on changing on that. We’ve found all of the geocaches in the city. Now, we are branching out in the forest.
A few weeks ago (before visiting Yellowstone Canyon), we found a cache that had only been found once. That was exciting! We placed a travel bug in it. A travel bug is a little object that is designed to travel all over the world. Someone places it in a cache, and then another cacher pulls it out, takes it to another part of the world, and places it in another cache.
On our adventure, the Road on the Map, we placed a geocache where we turned around. I don’t expect it will be found much. It’s very out there. And recently, we found one of the oldest geocaches in Utah. The cache (The Edge of Starvation), has been around since 2001, and geocaching didn’t start until the year 2000.
Now, here’s what you want to do. Go to geocaching.com and sign up for a free account. Download the geocaching app on your phone. There’s a free one from geocaching.com, or there’s another better one for free called c:Geo on the android. We use c:Geo. Click on nearby caches. Be amazed! There’s probably several quite close to your home or work.
Click on navigate. Follow the arrow, and make sure the numbers are going down. When you get to zero, or close to zero, start looking. Geocaches can never be buried, but they are hidden. They might be under light pole skirts, or fence pole caps. They might be under a pile of rocks. They might be the head of a fake bolt.
You’re just looking for a container large enough for a piece of paper (the log) to be in. Find it, sign the log, put it back EXACTLY where and how you found it, and off you go. Find another one!
You will be amazed. There are amazing places in YOUR city that you didn’t know existed. You will find them, because someone knew they existed and placed a geocache. You will get better at it, I promise. You might not find the first one you look for, but keep going. Now, look on geocaching.com for event caches. There’s probably one happening near you pretty soon. Go. Meet new people and get hooked.
The kids LOVE it! They enjoy the hunt. They enjoy the find. They enjoy being outside. They enjoy being with you. Kids of all ages can participate.
Do I have you convinced? I hope so. Geocaching is one of our favorite activities. It is just fun. It’s a quick, easy outdoor adventure that doesn’t take much planning. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Perhaps you already enjoy geocaching. You already know how awesome it is. That’s why you click ‘share’ and share this article with other people so they can enjoy the amazingness that is geocaching. And, if you’re new to geocaching, well, you want your friends to also enjoy this wonderful activity. So, you can click ‘share’ as well, and share it will all of your amazing buddies. Some of them will tell you that they already geocache. You now have a caching buddy to help you find those hard ones!