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Geocaching is a game that gets you off your butt and out the door to find real-life “treasure” out in the world. You look on the website for geocaches in your area and then go to the coordinates provided.1 Once you get to a specified location, you must locate something hidden there.

I really got into it after seeing it on a travel show that was hosted just down the road from me! My son was around 7 or 8 years old when we went "treasure hunting". We hiked and traveled around all over the world finding geocaches in places we would have never seen if it wasn't geocaching.

If you are searching for a “traditional” cache, it needs to be only large enough to hold a piece of paper for you to sign to prove you found it. This means it can be as small as a thimble or as large as a 5-gallon drum. Once you find it, you sign the log and return the cache exactly as you found it.

In the early days of the game, you needed a handheld GPS device and access to the Geocaching website. Eventually, cell phone technology would improve and no longer be dependent on other electronic devices like a handheld GPS. This was a game-changer, especially for more urban cachers, because getting caches and waypoints onto a handheld GPS was painful at best.

I would get a “pocket query” which provides a filtered list of the caches I was interested in finding and hit the road. Like most things in life, the best thing about it was almost always the journey. One of the requirements for placing a geocache is that you must be able to “maintain” it.2 This meant the locations were hand-picked by the person placing the cache. Even in urban settings a lot of caches were at locations of interest, such as a fountain or statue.

The great thing was, that anyone could do it. Every geocache has a terrain and difficulty rating so you can choose to make it as easy or difficult as desired. The terrain was anything from wheelchair accessible to requiring “special” equipment. For example, there are caches you can only reach by diving or climbing mountains. Difficulty was based on how difficult it is to find the cache when you arrived on the scene.

Sounds great, why don’t you still do it? There are a few reasons I stopped.

The biggest reason I stopped is that sometimes the geocache isn’t at the specified location. Keep in mind this game requires other people to “do the right thing“. This means replacing things as you find them or playing in a way that is fair to other players. There is no guarantee you will find what you are looking for when you get there and as I found more and more caches, I would have to travel further and further away to find new ones. While the journey can be an adventure all on it's own, it's still disappointing taking a long trip somewhere, searching for a long time, and finding out that it’s there for some reason.

Another reason I lost interest in geocaching was how corporate it has become. When it started, the point was to get out and have grand adventures. You didn't need anything but free access to the website. Slowly everything was being put behind the paywall. In doing some reasearch for this page I noticed you can't even view YOUR OWN logs from caches that have now been archived.

I was a pretty active Geocacher starting in Mar 2005. After 2011 I started to cache less and less until my last find in 2016. I finished with 3,624 finds and a LOT of great memories.

Handy tools of the trade

Although terrain can differ, there are definitely things a geocacher should have in their bag of tricks.

  • First aid kit
  • Tweezers
  • Gloves
  • Mechanic mirror
  • A handful of pens and pencils
  • Safety pin
  • Flashlight
  • UV Flashlight
  • Replacement logs of various sizes
  • Poison Ivy/Oak lotion
  • Bug repellent

Favorite caches

I intended to list some of my favorite finds but since I can't view any of my previous logs thanks to Groundspeak's greediness, I guess this will be a list of a few of my VERY favorites. This list is comprised mostly by favorites I've left and those from complete memory.

All caches below not crossed are still active

  • GC30Q6J - A City Block
  • GCMDN5 - Assume Nothing #7: WoW's 45th Birthday Micro-Multi
  • GCGH5J - Columba
  • GCYWD9 - Combination of Beers
  • GCK7HH - Royal Observatory Greenwhich Cache
  • GC249TY - The dragon and the church
  • GCJG8G - Big Worm-Gear Needed
  • GCRF1V - Lots Of Juice
  • GCZTA2 - Movie: GeoTales, Believe it or Not
  • GCG8QV - Wait Until Dark
  • GCP892 - The Brink of Insanity
  • [???] - Planet of the Apes Mision - Tunnel of Light

Trbpnpuvat vf hfvat rkcrafvir rdhvczrag gb svaq Ghccrejner va gur sberfg

  1. There are a few exceptions such as “puzzles” or “virtual” caches where you may need to solve clues to find coordinates or in the case of virtual caches, there isn’t a physical container but usually a plaque or something notable. 

  2. Sometimes a cache can be found or tampered with or need a new log, etc.