It’s been 9 months now since my cousin, Chani, introduced me to Geocaching. She came over the big pond for a visit and wanted to do a bit of UK caching and when she mentioned it I thought to myself, “Geo-what??” She explained to me that it’s a worldwide outdoor treasure hunt which involves using clues and GPS coordinates to find the treasure, or ‘cache’ (container). The containers range from micro-sized which hold only a log book all the way up to ammo cans which hold bigger toys, logs, etc.
There are currently around 12 different types of cache to be found as well which represent a different variation of the game;
traditional cache, multi cache, Mystery/Puzzle cache, and Mega event cache to name a few. When you’ve located a cache, you sign the logbook inside as proof of finding it and if the cache is big enough, you can swap like-for-like toys. You can also find inside the bigger cache what’s called a trackable. There are 3 different types of trackables; Travel Bug, Geocoin and ‘Other’. A trackable is a type of game piece in the world of Geocaching and has a unique code etched on it that can be used to log its movements on the Geocaching website (www.geocaching.com) and watch as it travels around the world.
There’s a whole different world of lingo with Geocaching, hence the title! It took me a while to catch up with all the different acronyms. DNF was the first one I ran across being a newbie cacher because there were quite a few cache that I did not find! I’ve still yet to get a first to find (FTF) and it seems a very competitive sport all on it’s own being the first one to find a newly published cache! Phoning a friend (PAF) who’s found the cache previously is a very helpful facility to have when you get into a pickle and need some help! When you approach ground zero (GZ)
and find the cache, you may sometimes want to let the other cachers or cache owner (CO) know that you signed the log, took nothing, left nothing (SLTNLN). One very important, golden rule is to be vigilant against Muggles. You don’t want to be spotted taking a cache from it’s home as the chances of it getting vandalised increase. Take a good look around you, draw in your surroundings and if there’s nothing there but you and the nature that surrounds you, go for it!
A GPS device is an essential for Geocaching. You can download a range of apps for your smartphone or for the more serious cacher you can purchase a GPS device. I have a few apps for my Galaxy 2 that I use that are fantastic and are either free or cost very little. The first app that I downloaded was free and is called ‘C:GEO’. It’s a nice app to start out with, but I got frustrated with the compass barely working. Soon after, I downloaded the official ‘Geocaching’ app from Groundspeak Inc. @ £6.99. It’s fantastic! I’ve used it for the majority of my short Geocaching life. On a recent cache-finding outing with other cachers, I was recommended a new app called ‘Neongeo’ from CAN-O-BITS and was only £2.64 to purchase so I thought, “Why not!”. After using both apps in various environments, weather conditions, etc., I find that I mainly use the official app in wide, open areas. However, it always seems to go bonkers when I go geocaching under tree cover, so I use Neongeo for my forest-caching expeditions as it works flawlessly and takes me right up to the cache! I love having my options!
Currently, there are over 2 million active geocache placed worldwide, with thousands upon thousands in the UK alone. I’ve recently reached my 100th find….finally!! I’m eager to reach my next milestone of 200 and I think with the days getting longer now it shouldn’t take too long! If you’d like to find out more about Geocaching, I can highly recommend a book that I purchased from Amazon called “Geocaching in the UK”
. It has everything you’ll need to know about getting started with Geocaching, such as the basics, what GPS device to use, how to hide and find cache, trackables, etc. You’ll even run across photos of actual cachers from the UK!