Have you ever heard of geocaching?

BY SHEENA AGNEW

First, let me explain what geocaching is, it’s an online community that uses GPS mapping to register the coordinates of people’s geocaches. These are containers that people can hide and seek, anywhere around the world. It’s a massive treasure-hunt!

With the app, people who are in charge of their cache can give a scale rating of how difficult it is to find, how tough the terrain is, as well as tell you the size of the container. Container sizes range from being the size of a film canister to a small backpack. Others can then use the app to scout out any nearby caches.

This is what the c:geo app looks like and it’s open source, so you can start finding geocaches right away!

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Icons, similar to the ones shown above, are used to quickly tell you if there’s parking nearby or if dogs are allowed in the vicinity.

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Some caches, like the one shown above, have secret hints that you must decipher in order to determine its location.

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And of course, users write reviews to tell others if they were able to find it or not!

Geocaching has exploded in popularity over recent years. I remember when I first started, there were only 3 geocaches in my neighborhood, but now if you look…

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There are 2,465,493 active geocaches around the world! There are a surprising amount in the ocean and Antarctica? Wow! Supposedly, there’s even one beyond the stratosphere!

Typically, a geocache is filled with items including is a guestbook for you to sign, pins, Lego, key chains, etc. 

The general rule is you are allowed to take something from the geocache but must leave behind something in its place. And once you’re done with it, put it back the way it was, whether it be under a pile of rocks or hanging up in a tree.

If you do find yourself uncovering a geocache while surrounded by a lot of people, make sure to be as discreet as possible. We don’t want any muggles abusing or stealing the cache!

Now I’ll talk about some geocaches that I’ve personally found.

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I found this cache contained within a Tupperware sandwich container. Black tape had been wrapped around it to make it camouflage with the rocks. This one wasn’t too hard to uncover; just a small hike up from the road. Inside was a few toys, Canadian Tire money, a puzzle ball, and several other odd items.

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This is me taking a picture of where the cache was hidden. And in the same day, we found this:

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This is known as a GPS Control Point! These are standardized reference points to deal with satellite anomalies so that surveyors can use them to correlate the reference point, GPS signal, and map data to minimize errors in relation to the reference point instead of a possible larger error from a global aspect.

It was listed as a geocache because of a tiny match case attached to it. It even had a teeny tiny logbook.

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This is what the GPS Control Point looks like taken out of the tube in the ground.

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It was at the base of this tree. I wouldn’t have even known it was here if it wasn’t for the geocache!

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We actually found some useful items hidden inside of this cache including a bear bell and a pack of tissues! This cache was found below a train trestle bridge, which was a steep hike down from the road.

Bridge

We had to walk over the trestle bridge to reach the cache. It was a bit alarming to see (after we had crossed) that one of the support beams was on the verge of teetering over! The bridge itself was rotting away and creaked loudly as we carefully chose where to step. It made me a little dizzy seeing a raging river far below through the spaces of the wood planks. A couple of people in our group had to sit down and catch their breath. It was worth the trip seeing such a cool structure! We would have never known about it if the geocache didn’t lead us off of the path.

Geocaching is a fantastic and easy way to discover more wilderness, bring out the adventure in people, and make road trips worthwhile. So what are you waiting for?

If you’d like a detailed guide on how to go about geocaching, you can visit the California Department of Parks and Recreation for tips on what to put in your geocache and how to hide them.


Sheena Banner

 

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