We like to encourage our kids to take walks in nature, one way to encourage their love of the outdoors is to pair it with their love of adventure and discovery. This is where Geocache fits perfectly - what many people do not realise is that we are surrounded by hidden treasure boxes - all over the world. So when we head off into the wilderness ‘looking for treasure’ that’s exactly our goal.
The Geocache website is where you register and then find out via your phone or gps system where the nearest treasure box or cache (as they’re called) is hidden. If you like, you can also register your own cache which you then become responsible for maintaining. This phenomena has swept the world so it’s possible to play the game anywhere.
Some caches are in cities, local parks or to roads and attractions so you don’t have to walk too far into the wilderness to find them. Others, are in more unusual locations - like under water or like the one we found in Australia on the side of an escarpment cliff high in mountain wilderness.
The GPS signal gets you within a 5 to 10 metre radius, hints are given by the cache owner. Comments from previous finders also help you locate the treasure. I’ve found them under tree roots, in little rock crevices and most recently hidden within an old mushroom.
When searching for the ‘mushroom’ I looked in the usual places and thanked my lucky stars that this was not Australia as it was perfect ‘snake’ territory. Low and behold I came across a small, non-poisonous snake. We also saw Deer, Hares and Frogs on our excursion - the nature is thriving in this part of Czech. As it turned out, the cache was right next to the track cleverly hidden. We were the third visitors on that particular day.
Every cache varies in size and in each cache there is a log book with pencil to record your visit and ‘team name’. There are also little treasures in there. You can take a treasure with you but you must replace it with another treasure for someone else to find. Usual treasures are plastic figurines like you get in Mc Donalds happy meals or coin slot machines. The biggest thrill for everyone though is finding the treasure, the content inside is secondary to the experience.
To join Geocache go to their website here
1. Register for a free Basic Membership.
2. Visit the “Hide & Seek a Cache” page.
3. Enter your postal code and click “search.”
4. Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
5. Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS Device.
6. Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.
7. Sign the logbook and return the geocache to its original location.
You can then share your geocaching stories and photos online.
So apart from the method above using the website and a gps you can also download an app to your phone so you can search on the go. They offer a free app and they also have a premium service.
I should also mention that many of the Czech cache descriptions are only in Czech (some are also in English). If Czech is not your strong point then you could research a cache location at home and then translate the clues and instructions using google translate.
FURTHER INFORMATION: http://www.geocaching.com