While on a family camping trip, there’s no better family activity than working together as a team with a shared mission. Geocaching is a fun and exciting way to get exercise outdoors while using your brain power at the same time. Hearkening back to days of yore, geocaching takes you on a real-world, outdoor hunt for treasure, but today, the prize is found hidden above ground, (instead of buried in a locked chest), a handheld GPS stands in for a weathered treasure map, and a set of geographical coordinates and clues replaces where, “X marks the spot”, on a map. Geocaching is a new millennium treasure hunt that can be enjoyed by anyone, alone or in a group, no matter what age, and pretty much anywhere in the world!
So, what is geocaching and how does it work? It can be called a game or activity where, first off, caches; small treasures or trinkets, are hidden all over the world by other geocachers/players. Along with the cache, inside its weather-proof container, the owner of the cache places a log book and pencil. Once the cache is hidden, the GPS coordinates of the treasure are recorded and shared online. Some clues may also be given about the cache along with a rating of level of difficulty, in the search and terrain (from easy to challenging). A cache can be as small as a film canister or as large as a metal ammo box and you never know what you’ll find inside!
While doing some family tent camping or on an RV camping trip, families can search geocaching.com, or one of the other geocaching websites, in advance, to find where there are treats hidden in the same geographical vicinity as the campground. Once you search the listings, all you need is a handheld GPS, which you will use to navigate your way to the cache, using the coordinates listed on the internet site. Sometimes, to make it more intriguing, there are encrypted clues to figure out along the way. Not all caches are the same, but generally, once you find the cache, you would sign the logbook inside the cache container. Sometimes, you may take the treasure and replace it with one of your own for the next family to find. You can also contribute to the online log for that particular geocache, about your experience.
Geocaching is a popular ‘sport’ these days because it requires minimal gear and expense. It’s a skill-building exercise in problem solving, puzzle deciphering, clue identifying, navigation, and orienteering as well as a total family bonding experience.