Geocaching is a great way for individuals of all ages and fitness levels to get exercise. What is geocaching? It is a scavenger hunt for the techno-savy and outdoorsman alike. All you need is a little sense of adventure, access to the internet, and a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver to guide you on your treasure hike.
The objective of geocaching, in its basic form, is to find containers of trinkets or souvenirs (the "geocaches" or "caches") that someone else has hidden in precise locations outdoors. In addition to trinkets, a typical cache contains a log book for geocachers to sign and record the date and time of their find. Geocachers may take one of the trinkets and leave one of their own for future seekers. The locations of the caches, recorded in coordinates of longitude and latitude, are posted on and obtained from the internet. You enter the coordinates of the cache of interest into your GPS receiver. The official geocaching website to access this, and other information about geocaching and purchasing a GPS, is www.geocaching.com
How to Get Started:
1. Go to the above website link to register for a free account.
2. Enter your postal (zip) code or that of a destination you
wish to visit to locate a cache.
3. Choose a geocache from the list. Note that locations are
ranked on a scale from 1 to 5 based on the level of difficulty
required to access the cache. A cache locale given the
rating of "1" is easy and may be reachable just off a
well-marked footpath. A cache with a difficulty rating of
"5" may require great endurance, strength, and skill such as
with rock climbing to find its whereabouts.
4. Enter the coordinates of the cache into your GPS receiver
and make notes of the location's description or clues to the
whereabouts of the cache to take with you on your search.
What You Need for the Hike:
1. Supportive shoes and appropriate clothes for the weather
2. Food and water
3. Maps of area and compass
4. GPS device and extra batteries
5. Cell phone
6. First-aid kit
7. Bug spray
8. Suntan lotion
9. Pencil to record in log book
10. Trinket to leave for future seekers (usually a "dollar
store" type item)
11. Small trash bags to carry out trash found
on hike ("Cache In, Trash Out")
Safety Tips and Environmental Considerations:
1. Choose a cache location that is appropriate for your
current physical condition and skill.
2. Let a friend/family member know where you will
be going in case of an emergency.
3. Check weather forecast to avoid getting caught
in a storm.
4. Follow the "Cache In, Trash Out" philosophy by
picking up trash on your hike to maintain the
Since its beginning in the year 2000, geocaching has led people around the world into an adventure that combines physical activity with technology. Spring is a wonderful time to set out on your geocaching expedition. Not only is it a fun way to get your exercise, but it is a wonderful way to connect with family, friends, and the natural world.
Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.
The Geocaching Handbook by Layne Cameron published in 2004.
Labels: "Cache In Trash Out", cache, geocache, geocaching, Global Positioning System, GPS, scavenger hunt