Geocaching 101: Hiding a Geocache
Welcome back, fellow cachers!
Now it’s time for you to hide your own geocache!
You are probably asking yourself, “Why do I want to hide a cache? There are hundreds of them already out there.” Right?
You are right. There are hundreds out there. But none belong to you. Only you know of that special place that you’d like others to discover. And only you have thought of the most clever name or type of cache to hide in that special spot. Without you (and others like you), there wouldn’t even be a geocaching hobby!
So here’s what you do:
- Decide on a location. It can be almost anywhere as long as it’s publicly accessible – a park, along a country road, on a picnic bench, by an interesting tree. Perhaps you even located a spot while hunting for another cache and said, “That would be a neat place to hide something.” Write down the coordinates of the hiding place.
- Go to geocaching.com and check to see if there are any other geocaches nearby. A new cache cannot be located within 1/10 of a mile (528 feet) from another cache (that’s computed “as the crow flies.”).
- Find out if the location has any restrictions about caches being placed in the area. For example, Great Parks has specific rules, such as the cache must be placed close to a trail and caches must be in clear containers. You must have the landowner’s permission if you’re placing the cache on private property. (I’m certain you wouldn’t want people roaming through your backyard to find a geocache!)
- Decide on the type of cache you want to place. The container should be watertight and able to hold some type of log or scroll that cachers can use to record their find. Traditional caches include Tupperware containers, waterproof match boxes, hide-a-key, etc.
- Before you hide the cache, place a paper log, pencil and a unique trinket in the cache (optional). Include a small information sheet that explains that this is a geocache. You can find sample logs and info sheets on the geocaching.com. As a general rule, caches can’t be buried and shouldn’t be placed in unsafe locations.
- Create your cache on geocaching.com by clicking on “Hide and Seek a Cache.” Then select “Create a Cache.” The site will step you through the application form. It helps to have some information before you begin, including the name of your cache, the specific coordinates, a description of the area, a hint (optional), the level of difficulty of the terrain and the hiding place of the physical cache. If you are hiding a cache in a Great Park, you’ll need to review the guidelines and apply online before hiding your cache.
- Once you’ve submitted your cache, a reviewer will check your application and contact you if they need any additional information before approving and posting your cache. Reviewers are experienced cachers and really want to help you get it right. They will email you as soon as their review is complete and your cache is posted on geocaching.com.
Then just sit back and enjoy getting emails from everyone who finds your cache! You’ll be amazed how quickly someone does. Many cachers receive a notice of any new caches hidden in an area, because they like to be the “FTF” (First to Find). Don’t be surprised if you get an email within a couple of hours that someone has ventured out to find your cache.
I’ve hidden several caches, and it’s always fun to receive the log messages that cachers post when they find one of the caches. Most cachers leave a note on geocaching.com about the fun they had searching for the cache (or not finding it). They’ll also let you know if the cache needs maintenance (e.g., the container got wet, the log needs to be replaced, etc.) If you place a cache, it’s up to you to maintain the cache until you decide to remove it and “archive” it. Caches in Great Parks must also be renewed every year or they will be removed.
So give it a try. Find a location that is easy for you to get to and hide a cache. That way the game continues to grow and you’ll be a part of it!
Chris Wais, Volunteer