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Geocaching - Treasure Hunting For The GPS Age

Add Spice To Your Outdoors Pursuits By Hunting For Hidden Caches - But Remember To Leave Something Yourself...

Maybe you've bought your Hiking GPS for Geocaching specifically, or you're thinking about having a go, so what's it all about?

Geocaching started in earnest in May 2000, when the USA switched off the "selective availability" function on their Global Positioning System Satellites. This took the wobble out of GPS results, leading to an accuracy of a few metres rather than dozens of metres, meaning that your position could now be tracked to a small enough area where GPS treasure hunts could be started.

The "treasure" normally consistes of a sealed water-tight container, always containing a log-book and pen, and then some objects chosen by the hider. There are a few rules, starting with "always leave more than you take", so before you start your hunt have something in your back-pack to put in the cache. "Always fill in the log" to share your experiences with others, and "always leave the cache as you found it."

A great place to learn the Geocaching basics is at www.geocacher-u.com, where they have a great beginners guide to finding geocaches, and also a guide to making your own caches.

Where to start? The hub for geocaching on the internet is geocaching.com. Here you can find loads of great info on caches, how-tos, articles, etc. If you register (for free) you'll be able to start finding local caches and start enjoying the great outdoors.

Finding a geocache!The first Geocache I found with my son was very local, in fact less than a mile away from our house, so we grabbed the sat nav, printed out the coordinates from geocaching.com and headed off. Once we got to the place we found that it was very overgrown with stinging nettles, so I started looking through them, ouch! While my son concentrated near where the clue said the cache should be. After hunting for ten minutes my boy found it, and we excitedly opened it up to have a look inside the tupperware box. We swapped a couple of small toys, signed the log, then replaced it, and headed home to tell Mum and Sis about our great adventure and treasure find, hopefully the first of many!

Grab the co-ordinates, your maps, your GPS, your hiking or biking gear, and get out there with the familly and have some fun!

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