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Geocaching: Getting Back To The Great Outdoors

Geocaching is a GPS (Global Positioning System) hide and seek
game, where hiders hide containers (called ‘caches’ or
‘geocaches’) anywhere in the world, record the coordinates, and
post a listing on a website for hunters to seek. Hunters can use
a handheld GPS unit to get close, but then must use their wits
to find the cache and log the find. A typical cache can be any
size and may be camouflaged, in order to make the hunt more
challenging, and usually contains a logbook for the hunter to
sign and usually some small trading items of little monetary
value.In May 2000 the government announced their decision to stop the
intentional degradation of GPS signal accuracy. In effect, this
made civilian use of GPS systems much more accurate and many
times more useful than it had been previously.
On the day following this announcement the first geocache was
placed by David Ulmer in Oregon. Ulmer’s idea was simple:
The hider would hide a container, note the coordinates with his
GPS unit.The seeker would locate the container using the given
coordinates, make a note in the logbook, then trade items.

It only took a few days for the cache to be found and reported
online, and a new outdoor sport was formed.
The sport has grown considerably since its humble beginnings. At
this writing there are well over ¼ million caches hidden around
the world. Odds are that there is a cache close to you. I found
my first cache after discovering that one was hidden less than a
mile from my home. I guess you could say that I got hooked
immediately, since I have found many since then.
Our family likes to go geocaching as a family activity. The
weekends will usually find us in one of our local parks
wandering the woods looking for caches.
Here’s how we normally do it:
1. We go to GeoCaching.com or TerraCaching.com to find a good
cache close to the area we want to hunt.
2. You can print out the cache pages (or alternatively load it into
our PDA).
3. We load the coordinates into our GPS unit and set our GPS
unit to navigate.
4. We load up our cold drinks and our trade items.
5. We drive to the coordinates and start looking. The cache
listing and log entries usually have some hints and can tell us
what kind of container we’re looking for.
6. Once we find the cache, we log our find in the cache logbook.
7. We trade a few trade items (usually inexpensive trinkets and
8. Once we get back home, we log our find on the listing website.
It’s not unusual  to find 3 to 5 caches in one
outing. Other more aggressive cachers will do 10 or 20 or more.

An enjoyable cache might be in an unknown park, an urban
wilderness area, or a mind-bending puzzle. We have enjoyed
getting our sedentary, internet-connected, couch potato bodies
out into the great outdoors breathing some fresh air.

Finally! A good reason to go outdoors again!


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