Family Days Out

New Year New Hobby- get outside with Geocaching

A few years ago we discovered Geocaching- A worldwide game, where you follow GPS directions to find hidden tubes, boxes, locations (and maybe even a prize or two)! We played for while, had a baby and the game got put to one side and forgotten.

Fast forward to the beginning of December 2020. I was on a romantic break away with my new partner, Josh. Whilst lounging in the hot tub, I was telling him about the game of Geocaching. He was intrigued. The next day we went for a long walk through the Wisbech countryside. Remembering our drunken conversation from the night before we quickly downloaded the Geocaching app and set to work. That evening we walked just under 6 miles and found 3 caches… all in the pitch black dark! Since then we have found many, many more in our local area of Bedfordshire. We’ve even got the kids involved!

What is Geocaching?

There are millions of these mysterious geocaches hidden around the world. You just need to find them. So, what are you waiting for? Join the world’s biggest treasure hunt!

Geocaching is a real world, world wide game where players use the official Geocaching app to navigate to nearby Geocaches. Sign the log book, and log your find via the app. There are over a dozen different types of Geocaches to discover. Here are some of my favourites:

Some Caches have small gifts inside. If you find one of these Caches, you can take something from Cache and replace that item with something of a similar value. I like to carry a small bag of goodies, to put into any Caches we find with bounty inside.

Some Caches contain Trackables. These Trackables need to be logged and then moved on to another location. They tend to have a set direction in which they must go and the finder must play along, rehide the Trackable and log via the app that they have kept the Trackable traveling.

EarthCaches are super cool. These Caches aren’t physical Caches but are actually an interesting geological location. If you locate an EarthCache, you will find information about the area of the EarthCache, and the unique features of this location. EarthCache pages will give you information, educational notes and coordinates. To log an EarthCache you tend to have to answer a question, which answer you will only know when studying that geological location.

Some are tiny and some are HUGE! One thing that they will all have in common is hidden inside there will be a log book for you to sign.

Look Hard!

The thing to remember is Geocaches are everywhere. Once you start playing the game, it will instantly make you say “Damn, we’ve been walking past so many for years and never even knew!” It suddenly makes you realise that they are everywhere and very well hidden! Sometimes, hidden in plain sight!

Many Geocacher’s have stories of finding some exceptionally well camouflaged Caches. There are caches made to look like tree bark, hidden within thick grown ivy, made to look like rocks, and some are even pieces of litter with log books stuffed inside!

2 of my favourite Caches that we have personally found include a tiger in a tree and a Mentos mint packet, tucked behind a fence post.

If you can’t find a certain Geocache, just look a bit harder because chances are, it’s in pure plain sight. Use your hands to touch everything and turn everything over. Don’t just use your eyes.

How to get started and What you will need

Firstly, your best bet is to download the official Geocaching app. Have a look at what’s to offer and get exploring. When you visit your app store, search for Geocaching Official and look for this logo:

Once you’ve downloaded the app, I recommend checking out your local area first. You may have one just a few meters from your house! Start local and explore your area. Just look how many Geocaches are local to me, right now!

I suggest you pack a small bag containing a pen (or 2), a couple of small items to leave if you find a cache that contains gifts (think; colouring pencils, hair ties or little toys) and a pair of tweezers. Tweezers are handy for pulling log books out of very small Caches as it can be rather fiddly. A small torch can be handy too. Now we are in the dark months of Winter, we have been out a few times and light has started to vanish. Before you know it, you’re Caching in the dark and that makes things very difficult. Also some Caches can be hidden in very small spaces, such as tree trunks, so a torch can come in handy when searching in certain places.

Make sure your phone has plenty of charge and you are wearing the right clothing. Wellies or walking boots are best, especially after it’s been raining and do leave your best clothing at home. Clothing can get snagged on tree branches or get stained by plants.

Happy Geocaching! If you are already a Geocacher and if you have any tips, leave them in the comments section at the bottom of this post! If you’re yet to start Geocaching or are a Newbie, let me know why you’re excited to get into the Geocaching hobby. I would love to hear why!

Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

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