What is Geocaching?

Geek!This is Rhonda Martin’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

I have a wonderful “Geek” hobby called “Geocaching”. If you like electronic gadgets and like to get out of the house, try Geocaching for fun. It requires a hand held GPS and a pair of good shoes.

If you don’t know what Geocaching is, the best way I can explain it is that it’s hidden treasures that are registered on a site by GPS coordinates. You try to find the treasure by following the GPS signal and by clues giving on the site. Now these treasures are usually small and not worth much in monetary value because it’s more about the thrill of finding the treasure not what’s in it. The geocache is usually located at a scenic site that is beautiful.

The purpose of geocaching is to try and get people to enjoy the trip, so make sure you take a camera with you. We have ended up at some of the most beautiful places that I never knew existed in the state I have lived in all my life. The first time I ever went geocaching I didn’t have a camera and I was some disappointed. Another tip for those of you who like to fish – make sure you pack your fishing gear because you will find some awesome fishing holes.

Once you have located a geocache you can take an item from the hidden geocache box but you must leave something in its place. The geocache box usually has a logbook so you can write your name and the date you found it. If you want a list of hidden treasures just log onto http://www.geocaching.com – plug in your GPS and download them directly to your unit from the site. When I logged on I found three within five miles of my hometown. You will be amazed at how many geocache sites are hidden.

Once you have downloaded all the geocache sites on your GPS they are there for good until you delete them. You can literally turn on your GPS and just start driving and if you come near a geocache site your GPS will tell you. I have a friend that leaves his on in his truck at all times and if he is near a geocache site and has the time he will see if he can find it. This did get him in a little trouble because he ended up late to work a couple of times due to geocaching on the way to work. This can become addicting so they say.

You can also hide a geocache treasure and post it to the site, however remember you must maintain the geocache. If you no longer wish to maintain the geocache you must remove it and post that you did so.

You can also track a bug. This is kind of fun. You purchase a bug from the site, which is usually a fancy coin or tag, and then register it. When someone finds it they take it to another geocache and leave it for someone else to find but they must log where they found it and where they took it. The owner of the bug can track online where it has been and where it is. You can even post where you are trying to get your bug to end up at. For example, let’s just say you live in Florida and you want to see how long it would take for your bug to reach Alaska you can post for Geocachers to help move your bug towards Alaska. If someone is going to another state in that direction that this bug is logged to go then that person would take the bug and drop it off in the state closest to Alaska that they traveled to. I had a friend in Maine that wanted a Christmas Ornament to go to Alaska, so they attached a travel bug to the ornament and the last I heard it was in Ohio.

This hobby is also something the whole family can enjoy. We always plan a whole day of geocaching and take along a picnic for lunch. It’s an inexpensive way to spend the day together as a family while having a great time. I found that the young or old at heart all enjoy this hobby.

On the geocaching site it will also tell you how difficult the geocache is to locate. That makes it easier for the beginners or for the handicapped or elderly.

If you are thinking about trying this new found hobby or already registered at http://www.geocaching.com look for our user name “wearethegoonies”. Hope you enjoyed this post and give this a try if you haven’t already done so.