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Geocaching (cont'...)

Geocaching is a great way to explore!



How it Began

On May 2, 2000, technology got a serious upgrade when satellites around the globe increased GPS accuracy for civilian use. A few experienced GPS enthusiasts, who already used the technology for outdoor activities such as backpacking and boating, came up with the Stash Hunt idea and shared it. With an increasingly sophisticated internet cataloguing system, the idea of Geocaching caught on. Since September of 2000, geocaching has grown from 75 geocaches to over 1,000,000 active geocaches worldwide and it is estimated that there are well over 3 million active geocaching participants.

How Geocaching Works

A geocacher places a geocache somewhere in the world, pinpoints its location using GPS technology and then shares the geocache’s existence and location online at www.geocaching.com. Anyone with a GPS device can then try to locate the geocache. Inside the cache, depending on the size, you could find any number of little treats. Once you find it,log your name in the log book and if you wish, take a treasure, but don’t forget to put a little something in there for the next cachers to find. If you take from the geocache, leave something of equal or greater value behind. Caches come in all shapes and sizes. And there are rules to follow. You must have permission to place your cache and for people to be able to locate it, it must be accessible to the public.

The wonder and excitement of treasure hunting and finding aside, Geocaching allows for the discovery of places you may not otherwise find wilderness trails, conservation areas, interesting places and historical landmarks, puzzling clues and you may even come across some fun people. There’s nothing like meeting a fellow cacher enroute. The thrill of the find is great, but the journey itself is fantastic!

Keep in Mind

Practice Cache In Trash Out. While out geocaching, bring a bag with you to pick up trash along the way.

Before You Go

Collect a list of geocaches from www.geocaching.com. that follow your Waterway destinations print or download GPS coordinates and clues. Planning is part of the fun! Many caches are ‘multi-waypoint’ and may involve a series of finds to get to the cache itself.

Note the level of difficulty, terrain, time it takes to find, and accessibility. Some are real puzzlers that will have you searching for clues and discovering local lore.

Don’t forget, if you’re headed out on the trail; pack any needed supplies such as water, food and extra clothing. Bring both a map and a compass.

For safety, let someone know where you are going.

Don’t forget your GPS and extra batteries.

Mark your start point - car, bike, or boat as a waypoint to ensure your safe return.

Bring friends and family; sharing the experience can be very rewarding. Pets are usually welcome, too!

Remember that distances can be deceiving. A geocache can take longer to find depending on trails, rivers and other obstacles.

The fun never ends.Write about your experience in the geocache logbook and don’t forget to record your geocaching stories and photos online.

Go to www.geocaching.com. to join basic memberships are free. Get the lowdown on the adventure of Geocaching and add yet another exciting element to any adventure.