Introduction - What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is a real-life treasure hunt that, if you’re like me and dreamed of being a pirate as a child, fulfills your wildest dreams and beyond. It brings you to new places near and far using only a GPS and an app. I recently have been searching for a way to connect myself with my natural surroundings and fulfull my need for adventure. Geocaching has done just that! Continue reading for a beginners guide to finding a chache. And then... happy hunting!
My First Geocache
As I began walking Clarkson University’s Munter Trail in Potsdam, NY, I eagerly took out my phone and clicked on the Geocaching app. A little green symbol popped up on my map, indicating that there was a medium-sized cache hidden only .2 miles away. While navigating, I was able to enjoy the view of the beautiful Raquette River (a great feature of geocaching -- you get to go to cool places!). The hard part came when I reached the approximately 20 foot radius that the cache might have been in. That’s when I had to start hunting on my own. A cache can be in a tree, on the ground, behind a rock, or more. I was having a hard time searching, so I chose to see one hint that helped point me in the right direction. After a hefty amount of time scouring the trail, trees, and surrounding shrubbage, I finally found the cache wedged between two large rocks. I got so excited! I carefully removed the box and opened it up to reveal the inside contents. The first thing I did was sign my name in the log book, and log the find in my app. Then, I searched through the treasures! My favorite item was a little toy princess. I didn’t bring anything to leave, though, so I locked the cache back up without taking anything. It’s important to only take if you can also give something of equal or higher value! I rehid the box in the same position I found it, and carried on to enjoy more of the Munter Trail. To learn more about the Munter Trail and its surrounding area of Potsdam, read Day Trip: Potsdam.
How I Learned to Geocache
It's so easy to learn how to geocache that I self-taught myself in only one day. More specifically, I used Youtube and other online platforms for a quick learning process. Geocaching.com has great introductory and advanced videos on their website as well as their Youtube channel “Geocaching.” I took diligent notes so I wouldn’t forget anything.
- Download the Geocaching app (or find coordinates on geocaching.com)
- The app will tell you where to go - there is a GPS navigation feature embedded within
- All geocaches have a name and a description
- Once you get 20-30 feet near the cache, start looking with your hands and eyes
- Stay on or near the trail. Be careful not to harm vegetation or disrupt the natural area
- When you find the cache -- sign the log book and log your find on your profile
- If you brought a treasure to leave, you can take one to keep
- Difficulty Rating: How much of a mental test finding the cache will be on a scale of 1-5 (1=easy, 5=most difficult)
- Terrain Rating: How much physical excursion is required to find the cache on a scale of 1-5 (1=easy, 5=most difficult)
- Caches vary greatly in size (micro=smallest, large=largest, other=irregular shape)
- Always bring a pen for log books
- Geocaches will never be buried, but also won’t necessarily be on the ground
- For extra help during your search, check the ‘recent activity’ and ‘hint’ features