Treasure hunting in 2014: Geocaching

If you enjoy scavenger hunts, hide and seek activities or searching for things using a GPS, geocaching may be the thing for you. It doesn’t take a whole day and is a great activity if you are looking for something fun to do for a part of a day or as a study break. The best part: in our new age of technology you don’t need a map, compass or GPS. All you need to go geocaching is a smartphone and a free app (at least there’s a pretty good free one on Google Play Store for Android).

What is geocaching? Geocaching is a treasure hunting game where you use a GPS to hide and seek containers with other participants in the activity (geocaching.com). Basically, the idea is to use your GPS or cell phone to search for and, hopefully, find containers that generally contain small trinkets. When you find the geocache, you get to claim a prize and leave a prize for the next person who seeks it. You then place the geocache in the same spot you found it so others can find it and collect the prize you left.

Where do you start? To start geocaching, first you need to get an app on your smartphone. Although there are many different options, the best free option that I know of is the c:geo app on the Google Play Store by c:geo team. This app contains the ability to find different geocaches online, as well as a navigation system that works both online and offline so you can even go after geocaches that are not in areas of cell service. Most geocaching opportunities have various difficulty levels which pertain to the size of the geocache and how well it is hidden. If you are starting, I would suggest the beginner caches to make it easy and fun before moving on to challenging ones.

What should you put in the container to replace the old prize? This is the part where you get to be creative! Although you don’t have to take what’s in the cache and add something to it, you need to make sure you have something to put back in it if you take the prize, and record it in the logbook for the site that keeps the record for that geocache. In the geocaches I’ve found I have seen so many different things; no generalizations can really be made. If you go geocaching, bring a couple different items of various sizes to make sure you have something that will fit in the container. However, as far as what you should put in the cache, it is completely up to you — have fun with it! Some of the different treasures I have found include keychains, a poem and even a Pressman Let’s Go Fishing toy (magnet fishing toy).

Geocaching is a great hobby and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon when you’re bored and looking for anything to do other than study for impending tests. So what are you waiting for? Download the app and go treasure hunting!