Sam and I have been trying to find ways to spend time together, be active, and not spend a whole ton of money. We came across the hobby of geocaching and decided to try it out. We had a blast! It was everything we were looking for. We wanted to share our first cache here on our blog, especially for those who are not familiar with it and might be interested in trying it out.
So what is Geocaching? In my own words, geocaching is a world-wide scavenger hunt! Sign up for a free account (you can always upgrade to premium later if you decide it is something you’d like to do more often–worth it if you do!) and download the app to your phone. Choose a cache based on level of difficulty, size of the cache, terrain, and location. After choosing your cache you will then receive longitude and latitude coordinates to find the “treasure”/cache. Some will come with instructions, hints, a bit of history, etc. And as I mentioned this is world-wide. There are TONS around our home, town, and state of varying skill levels, but Sam and I are also traveling to Italy this year and hope to do one over there! One time we located what is called a “tracker coin” that had traveled from England and made its way around the United States and is trying to get back to the UK! And geocaching has a big community of fellow geocachers and it is very family friendly. It’s also easy to do in a short period of time or make a longer day out of, so we can tailor it how we want to spend the time.
Anyway using the GPS coordinates you can use the app to track down your cache. Usually it gets you in the general vicinity and then you search for good hiding spots where the cache might be! Inside the caches vary, but usually there is a log book and a bunch of trinkets. Once you find it, sign the log book, take a trinket and leave one in its place of equal or greater value!
**SPOILER ALERT** the rest of this post does contain spoilers as to where a geocache is located, so if you do not want to be spoiled I suggest you don’t read too much further.
Ironically, our first geocache was also the first one placed by “Brianna”. Since we were brand new to this, we picked an easy one. You will see on the app shot in the picture it has a difficulty of 1.0, a Terrain level of 1.5 and it is a medium sized cache, so should be pretty easy to find!
We used GPS instructions to take us to the parking and then the “compass” aspect of the app helped us guide us to the actual cache. Another thing that I love about geocaching in general is that it is introducing us to all sorts of new trails! Sam and I love going for walks, whether it’s an all day hike or a 20 minute trail walk nearby, so this is great for those days we are craving a good walk!
On this particular walk we happened to pass a fire hydrant in the middle of the woods along the trail. Around this time the compass took us off the path and into the woods a bit. Most of the caches that we have done so far are not directly on the trail, so be sure to wear bug spray, watch out for poison ivy, and wear good shoes!
Since you are using GPS (as I’m sure many know from using it driving) it really only gets you so close, before you do have to figure it out a bit for yourself. After searching around for a bit and then being alerted that we were less than 30 feet from the cache, we came across some large boulders with lots of crevices that we suspected to be a good spot to hide a cache.
Quickly following the realization of the potential hiding spots the boulders had, WE FOUND OUR FIRST CACHE!
Upon opening the cache we found a lot of cute knickknacks that other people had left:
We signed the journal to let everyone after us know that we were here! We took the white dice (it had Spanish words on it) and left a $2 bill in its place! Two dollar bills are Sam and my signature in a way. We even gave them out as our wedding favors (another story for another time). We won’t leave them at all our caches or this would soon become a more expensive hobby than we were intending, but we may leave them at caches that are a bit special to us (like our first in this case!).
Since then we have done 3 or 4 more caches. There was only one that we couldn’t find. And we were the first to try to look for it after a bad New England winter, so I’m worried it got moved a bit, which threw us off our game. We may try again though! And we will certainly continue to do more caches.
Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or if you have done geocaching and what your experiences are! We would love to hear from you!