The sport where you are the search engine
Geochaching is the worlds newest sport. It doesn't have an Olympic version and it may never get one. On the the other hand it is related to Letter Boxing which has been around since the 1800's. It can be combined with hiking, biking and bird watching but not golf or tennis. Most importantly it can be played with children or grandchildren. Geocaching got it's start in 2000 when the government adjusted the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites so that a GPS receiving device could pinpoint and locate an exact position. Before that change only military GPS devises could locate exact locations.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release May 1, 2000
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT REGARDING THE UNITED STATES' DECISION TO STOP DEGRADING GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM ACCURACY
When the change occurred there was a Usegroup (chatgroup) of GPS device users on the Internet. One of the participants in the hid something in the woods in Beaver Creek, Oregon, near Portland and and challenged the group members to find it. The rest is as they say history. After someone found what had been hidden others began hiding things in various spots and posting the coordinates on the group. The sport caught on and spread and now has a dedicated web site.
There is no cost for accessing the web site but you do need
a GPS devise and you'll need to know how to enter waypoints and access to
the Internet. "your GPS should come with instructions on
how to enter a waypoint. If you have any problems, try the online forums .
There's always someone to help.
What are the rules in Geocaching?
Geocaching is a relatively new phenomenon. Therefore, the rules are very simple:
1. Take something from the cache
2. Leave something in the cache
3. Write about it in the logbook"
Debby and I were introduced to the sport at an RV rally. Since I already had a GPS receiver which I had bought to use with some mapping software when I had a PC laptop and we had occasional Internet access so we started playing at Oscar Sherer State Park in Florida.
The game is played by finding a cache that somebody has hidden. Cache is defined as "a collection of items of the same type stored in a hidden or inaccessible place :". All sorts of containers are used to hide caches although it seems that ammo cans are the most popular. Caches usually contain a log book for you to sign when you find the cache and trinkets. Many players take a trinket and leave another in its place. Often players will also go to the Geocaching web site and post a comment about their search and thank the person who has created the cache. Since the sport is played for individual satisfaction Debby and I just take pictures, as a rule we do not sign the log book or take souvenirs other then pictures. Most often we lay the contents on the ground and take a picture or two.
All the information you need is at the Geocaching web site www.geocaching.com (if the link doesn't work just copy and/or paste it into your browser). On the left side of the page at the site is information about Geocaching just click on "getting started" and read the FAQ.
In order to obtain cache coordinates; however, you will have to first create an account and log in. There is no charge for standard accounts although there is a charge for premium membership and some but not many cache coordinates are only available to premium members. click on "log in" on the upper right hand side of the site's home page and that will take you to the log in page which also has links to create an account. Under the log in link on the home page are several choices by which you can find the coordinates of caches ("by zip code" by "state" by "country" and the one I usually use "advanced search" where you can use key words or your actual coordinates. This will bring you to a page that lists the caches based on your search criteria. Clicking on the names of the caches will bring you the coordinates and sometimes clues to finding it once you are there. Clues to finding where to start are often contained in the site name or description although many people use Google maps to pinpoint the area where the cache is located.
Two last notes. We have not always found the cache we were looking for. We have always located the spot but there were times when the cache itself was so well hidden we couldn't find it. Also when searching for caches beware of muggles. Muggles are in addition to non witches in Harry Potter's world people who have no knowledge of geochaching and who if they are mischievous might disturb or take the cache if they inadvertently discover it.
See a slide show of our various cache's
SEE YOU ON THE QUEST