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Why Choose geocaching?
What is geocaching?
Geocaching is a relatively new recreation that has burst onto the scene within the past few years. Basically, geocaching is a high-tech version of treasure hunting. It combines the latest in the world of technology with one of the oldest “sports” around - treasure hunting. Geocachers seek out hidden treasures utilizing GPS coordinates posted on the Internet by those hiding the cache. Using a GPS unit, they then trek out into the backwoods or urban jungles to find the hiding spot of the cache. To play, you'll need to know how to enter waypoints into your GPS unit (your GPS should come with instructions on how to enter a waypoint). Watch our video on our GPS units.
Once you have a GPS unit, you will need to go online to start finding cache locations or report a cache that you have created. Several geocaching web sites and clubs have sprouted on the Internet. geocaching.com is one of the main repositories for caches on the web. (and a source for much of the information in this article) You can go that site and enter your zip code to find a group of caches near you.
Once you find the coordinates of the cache, you are just beginning the adventure. Finding the location of a cache can be very entertaining. The location of a cache demonstrates the founder's skill and possibly even daring. A cache located on the side of a rocky cliff accessible only by rock climbing equipment may be hard to find. An underwater cache may only be accessed by scuba. Other caches may require long difficult hiking, orienteering, and special equipment to get to. Caches may be located in cities both above and below ground, inside and outside buildings. The skillful placement of a small logbook in an urban environment may be quite challenging to find even with the accuracy of a GPS.
A cache can come in many forms but the first item should always be the logbook. The logbook contains information from the founder of the cache and notes from the cache's visitors. The logbook can contain valuable, rewarding, and entertaining information, information about nearby attractions, coordinates to other unpublished caches, and even jokes written by visitors. If you get some information from a logbook you should give some back. At the very least you can leave the date and time you visited the cache.
There are various types of caches you might run into. Some examples include:
Just because your GPS unit can lead to you within a few meters of the cache does not mean that the adventure is over.
Geocaching is a relatively new sport, so the rules are few and still evolving. This growing sport has a few basic, simple rules which make it easy for anyone to play.
1. Fill out the log book located in the cache.
2. Take something out of the cache.
3. Put something into the cache. Many items move from cache to cache. You can actually track them if you attach a Travel Bug.
4. Return the geocache container back to its original "hiding" spot. (You should also pick up any trash you find along the way, also known as CITO "cache in, trash out".)
5. If a geocacher decides not to take an item from the cache, he/she should log their visit, along with the abbreviation TNLN (took nothing, left nothing).
1. Never trespass on private property when hunting for a cache. Always ask permission from the owner before searching for the treasure.
2. Never leave food or drink in a cache as they could attract animals that could damage the cache.
3. Never log a cache find until you actually find it. If a cache is missing, report to owner.
4. Never leave any item in a cache that is not suitable for children to see. (See Below)
5. Always re-hide the cache the exact way you found it. The owner may have hidden the cache to make it difficult to find and his/her intentions should be respected.
Use your common sense in most cases. Explosives, ammo, knives, drugs, and alcohol shouldn't be placed in a cache. Respect the local laws. All ages of people hide and seek caches, so use some thought before placing an item into a cache. Food items are ALWAYS a BAD IDEA. Animals have better noses than humans, and in some cases caches have been chewed through and destroyed because of food items in a cache. Please do not put food in a cache.
Please seek permission before geocaching on private or public lands. Geocaching can have an unintended impact on the earth's natural resources and result in trampled vegetation, damaged habitats and destruction of parks' historical and cultural resources. Placing a cache on lands administered by the National Park Service (NPS) is illegal without first obtaining permission. Please contact your local park to obtain a special use permit or inquire about sites designated for geocaching on park property. Help make geocaching an educational and entertaining experience while preserving our environment for future generations of Geocachers to come!
By following these simple rules and using your handheld gps unit, the sport of Geocaching can be a fun, enjoyable experience for everyone. Happy Geocaching!