Wednesday, 3 June 2015

My New Hobby - Geocaching

Have you ever heard of Geocaching?

The best description of it I have seen so far is:
"Using multi million pound technology to find tupperware in the woods"

Beautiful Dartmoor - Haytor
Basically, Geocaching is a sort of treasure hunt where you use accurate GPS coordinates to find the treasure which is a container with a log in it which you sign. Sometimes the containers are big enough to trade little items and there are game pieces called "Trackables" which move around the globe.

It is so geeky but actually quite fun!

A cache with some swapsies and a log to sign
I don't remember how I first heard about but I went onto the offical website to see if there were any near me. We never have anything cool near us because we're so rural so imagine my surprise when I found loads of them in all the places I go to! 
Some on paths where I walk, some on the bridleways and some in laybys for a quick "cache and dash"
It is free to sign up and play and you can upgrade to a premium membership which allows you to see more caches and do a bit more with the searches etc.

I saw one on the map that had only just been published so decided to go and find it on my way to work in the morning.
I left 10 minutes early, went to the gateway where the cache was. I was using the free intro app on my iphone which took me to the right place and beeped when I was within 30ft of it.
There was a nice hint to help me out and ta daaaaa! There it was! A little fake rock which has a compartment in the back.
I got out the bit of paper and signed my username and claimed my first ever geocache and also a "FTF" which means I was the first to find that geocache since it went live which apparently is quite an achievement!

My first cache and a FTF - fake rock visible in this pic!
I was totally hooked then and made sure I checked my app everytime I went somewhere to see if there was a cache nearby I could pick up.
There were 3 in the nearby village which Dad and I decided to get one evening. You're supposed to try and keep it a secret from "muggles" AKA non-cachers so we had a real laugh trying to look incognito whilst rummaging through a hedge in the dark to find a little plastic pot!
One was a fake snail with a tiny bit of paper in to sign and the other was a magnetic bolt that you unscrewed to get the log. So clever!!

A fake snail with a hidden compartment!

Innocent looking stick

Caching with my geohorse!
Hidden in the top of a fence post - sneaky!
This new hobby has taken me on some lovely new walks with the dogs and just makes things a little more interesting. I have introduced a few people to it who think it's quite fun and it's always so exciting to actually find one!

My Geohounds

I don't think I'll ever get into it as seriously as some do but I do enjoy checking for them when we go on a dog walk and picking some up if I'm in the area.

We found quite a few when we were on holiday in Barcelona which was really good fun because people from all over the world sign them. We bumped into a couple from Germany while we were looking for one.

Some of the containers are really inventive and the way they're hidden is really sneaky. I'm still a relative newbie so I've not seen a huge variation of hides but I've seen a couple of clever ones - one being up a tree and you had to find the camouflaged string and lower it down to sign the log then put it back up again.

This one was a good one on a very quiet footpath.

The clue for this was "in the iron"
can see it in the second slot down but how do I get to it?
Pull the clear fishing line it's tied to of course!
Ta daaa! sneaky little cache!
The good thing about this hobby is that anyone can do it if you have a smartphone and it's free to do with the option of upgrading.
Everyone I have met through it is so friendly and really helpful and you learn to spot cachers from a mile off - shifty looking people running their hands along a wall or railing usually with a mobile phone or GPS in their hands.
You also develop a bit of a "cacher's eye" where you'll spot a likely looking hide once you know you're in the right area.

A cache location on the coast path with my "Geohounds"

Beautiful bluebell woods
I highly recommend this activity to get you out into the countryside exploring and enjoying the beautiful scenery as well as getting some exercise!

There's loads of information on the Geocaching website and you don't need anything special to start doing this hobby other than a smartphone and a pen/pencil! It really is that simple and fun!

Beautiful Dartmoor

Go and try it and report back!


1 comment:

  1. Sarah by the Sea19 June 2015 at 10:34

    Hello fellow Sarah!

    Ah so glad you've explained this :D I've heard about Geocaching and been meaning to look into it and give it a try for ages. I love the idea that the techniques behind hiding them are inventive and clever :D Definitely a new activity for this summer ^_^
    It's like a treasure hunt! :D

    Big hello from that quiet county next door :P (Cornwall) teehee.

    from other Sarah xxo |