What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is a family friendly outdoor hobby using a GPSr. This can be a standalone handheld unit (Garmin, Magellan, Trimble), vehicle mounted navigation aid (TomTom) or a smart phone (iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, etc) with an appropriate application.
Geocaches submitted by fellow geocachers, and approved by volunteer reviewers. They must meet the guidelines of that registering site before the coordinates are made publicly available.
Using your GPSr and the coordinates downloaded from a listing site you go in search of a hidden container. It might be camouflaged, or just well placed and require a good eye to locate. Once you have found the geocache, you sign your geocaching name and date in the logbook inside the container, and replace everything as you found it for the next geocacher. Some geocaches only contain a logsheet, some can contain swaps, items that you can trade for. (Great entertainment for kids!) Then when your day is done, you log into the listing site, and share your experience.
Some of the types of Geocache -
Traditional – your standard go to, find the container, and sign the log cache.
Multi – a traditional with a twist, start at point A, go to point B, possibly even C, D or E, before you find the container and sign the log.
Mystery – Puzzles! Some are very devious, educational, or require a bit of area knowledge.
Event – A social gathering of geocachers.
CITO – Cache In, Trash Out. A social gathering event with the specific purpose of cleaning up an area or areas.
Earthcache – These are earth science educational caches, with no physical logbook to sign, however you must in your online log be able to meet some criteria – a photo, measurements, or other knowledge you would have obtained at this geocache.
Challenge – Go somewhere, do something. No logbook to sign, but you may need to take a photograph in order to log.
A geocache can be hidden in plain sight, or require a bit of a careful looking and devious thinking. They can be found in your everyday urban settings, or in a wilderness setting after a nice hike. Some are very easy to get to, others can take a fair bit of physical work to reach. More than a few will show you something new in your backyard, sometimes literally – a rock formation less than 100m from a previous home of mine was an Earthcache with an amazing story! There is even a geocache on the International Space Station!
Geocaching.com – The largest and oldest listing site – 1,250,000 geocaches in over 200 countries and counting!
Geocaching Australia – Additional listings and community site
Geocaching Wiki Link – answers the questions I haven’t!