the basics for beginners
WHAT EXACTLY IS GEOCACHING?
According to Wikipedia, it’s an outdoor recreational activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in the world. In short, it’s a real-world treasure hunt using your GPS or iPhone—and it’s happening all around the Black Hills!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU START
- Difficulty Levels: each cache has a level from beginner to expert that will be marked on the owner’s profile. Make sure you and your explorer can handle the terrain and the size of the cache.
- Where is the treasure? Not all caches have treasures in them–some just have a logbook. Read the comments below the cache profile to set your kids up with proper expectations.
- One-for-One: only take one item from the cache. Children can take turns with taking and replacing items for each cache you visit.
DOWNLOAD THE APPS BEFORE YOU HEAD OUT:
- Geocaching: $9.99 (for iPhone or Android)
- Google Maps or MapQuest, to use as a geo-locator: price range from free, and up.
- Geobucket or Geocaching Toolkit: price range from free, and up.
*Note: you may not need this one right away, but if you’re a geocaching pro, it may be just what you are looking for!
THINGS TO TAKE WITH YOU GEOCACHING:
- Pen or pencil: to sign the logbook!
- Phone: you need to know where you’re going–and to share photos!
- SWAG: a toy or treasure to swap. If you take one, replace it with something similar or better!
THE HUNT BEGINS FOR YOUR FIRST GEOCACHE:
- Create an account at Geocaching.com. You will use your login info with the Geocaching app.
- Launch the app and hit the ‘Find Nearby Geocaches’ button.
- Review the cache details for difficulty, trinkets needed, etc.
- Choose one from the list and head out on your adventure!
DOCUMENT YOUR GEOCACHING ADVENTURE
- Sign the logbook at the cache location with your geo-name (your username on geocaching.com)
- Mark it off your cache list! This lets the cache owner know you found it.
- Take a picture and Instagram it, use hashtag #BHPtreasure @bhparent. (but don’t give away the location!)
First to Find. Congratulations! You were the first to find a new geocache!
BYOP: Bring Your Own Pen/Pencil.
If you see this on the cache profile, there is no pen/pencil at the cache location.
D/T: Difficulty/Terrain. Geocaches are rated in two categories on a 5-point scale. Knowing the difficulty level of the cache location will help in planning your treasure map.
TFTC: Thanks for the Cache. Let the owner of the cache know about your adventure and thank them for the find!
SWAG: Stuff We All Get. These are the trade items you find within the geocache. For examples of what geocaches look like check out geocaching.com.
Compiled by Jenna Carda