What games did you enjoy when you were a kid? Playing hide-and-seek? Solving puzzles? Going on Easter egg hunts? Exploring in the woods? You can do all of them and be a kid again right here in Great Parks by geocaching.
What is geocaching? It’s a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific location and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden there.
Sound difficult? Actually it’s just a lot of fun. I call it “hiking with a purpose.” The game has brought me and my family to so many interesting locations here in the area and when we travel – places I never would have discovered if it wasn’t for geocaching. Today, there are over 2.5 million geocaches hidden in all over the world, and 100+ are hidden right here in the Great Parks.
A geocache is simply a container that someone else has hidden and is just waiting for you to take a hike and find it. The container can be quite large (the size of a lunch box) or as small as your little finger. It contains a piece of paper, a pencil and often small toys and trinkets. The cache owner hides it somewhere outside and uses their GPS device to get the coordinates of the location. They tell everyone about their hidden cache on www.geocaching.com.
To play the game you need a few things: A GPS device (used as a compass for hiking) or a geocaching app on your cell phone, access to a computer, a free account on geocaching.com and a sense of adventure. You pick the area you want to explore and enter the ZIP code or address in the site and you’ll see every geocache hidden in the area. The owner will provide information about the cache including its size, the difficulty of the terrain, interesting facts about the area and the coordinates. You can either print out the cache information or download it directly to your GPS. Then grab your friends or family, head out to the area and try to find it. When you find the cache, log your visit on the sheet inside the container and replace the cache where you found it. When you get home, enter your “find” on geocaching.com. Even if you don’t find the cache, you’ll have a lot of fun hiking through the area and being outside.
Keep reading! We’ll tell you more about geocaching and some interesting caches hidden in the Great Parks just waiting for you to find them!
Chris Wais, Volunteer
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