The time of free festivals, free concerts and free sun-tans is wrapping up for another year, but there is one more free activity that can get the family out and about before the snow settles in. With over 2 million caches worldwide, geocaching is an opportunity to participate in an adventure that’s happening around the world. This free interactive experience can lead to hidden places right outside the front door and is a must try before summer ends.
It all begins by signing up for a geocaching account online via Facebook or on their website. Downloading their correlating app to a transportable device, such as a phone, opens up a map that allows treasure hunters to see approximately where caches are located. Caches are hidden by other account holders in a variety of easy-to-miss containers like pill bottles or film canisters, and marked on the map with hints to make them easier to find for their fellows who are searching for them. Inside they may contain knick-knacks, USBs, or other small items, and a logbook. The idea is that once a geocache is found, the findertakes something from the cache and leaves something in it after signing the logbook and then simply leaves the cache in place.
Treasure hunters should take care to wear long pants and durable shoes for hunting. Many of the caches are hidden in the bush, and while they remain within road allowances or along trails, the original path to them may have grown over. Caches are especially popular in provincial parks where there are many trails to hide camouflaged containers but they can also be found along roads, trails and other popular but off the beaten-track areas.
Geocaching first got its start back in May of 2000 when, through the connection of 24 satellites around the world, GPS technology improved to be able to pin point exact locations.Then, in an attempt to challenge the accuracy of GPS, GPS enthusiasts began hiding caches, the first in Beavercreek, Oregon, and hunting them which evolved into the game it is today.
More than 6 million people participate in the activity worldwide – those who do not are referred to by geocachers as Muggles, a term coined from J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter. Muggles have been known to call the authorities when they see geocachers rummaging amongst the bush, or to call in geocachers as bomb-threats. This has lead to some geocaches being registered by townships in order to avoid these occurrences. Geocachers ask that if it is safe, to check the geocaching app before resorting to either of these actions.
So keep this in mind the next time you spot someone rooting around in a seemingly inconspicuous place without probable cause. It could be a geocacher, it could be you!