Geocaching is a treasure hunt using your Global Positioning System (GPS). It’s a sophisticated game of hide-and-seek where people all over the world search for hidden boxes, or caches. The GPS required for geocaching is a hand-held navigational device about the size of a cell phone. They range in price from $70 to $1,000 and can be purchased at any sporting goods store.
Sandpoint.com>>
Back to Sandpoint.com
 
Home>>
Back to Lifestyle home page
 
Bald Eagles of Wolf Lodge Bay
 
Breaking Ground
  Whisper Ridge Estates
 
Featured Artist
  Leata Judd
 
North Idaho Island Tour
 
Suggested Readings
 
Barns of North Idaho
 
Mind Body and Soul
Aging Gracefully
 
The Riding Life
North Idaho Mountain Bike Trail Guide
 
The Trail of The
Coeur d'Alenes
 
A Village and a Vision
The Reality School
 
The Spirits in the Air
Breweries & Wineries of North Idaho
 
On Stage
  The Shook Twins
 
Suh-sweet and Smokin'
Joey's Smokin' B.B.Q.
 
The Hidden World of Geocaching
 
Light it up with Bio-Luminesce
 Have you ever dreamed of finding a hidden treasure? Just the thought of following clues and coordinates on a map tickles the adventure bone in both kids and adults. Well, here’s your chance; a fairly new sport with the promise of fun, excitement and family bonding is hiding all around us, it’s called geocaching, which basically means, storing things on the earth.

  Geocaching

  Have you ever dreamed of finding a hidden treasure? Just the thought of following clues and coordinates on a map tickles the adventure bone in both kids and adults. Well, here’s your chance; a fairly new sport with the promise of fun, excitement and family bonding is hiding all around us, it’s called geocaching, which basically means, storing things on the earth.

  Geocaching is a treasure hunt using your Global Positioning System (GPS). It’s a sophisticated game of hide-and-seek where people all over the world search for hidden boxes, or caches. The GPS required for geocaching is a hand-held navigational device about the size of a cell phone. They range in price from $70 to $1,000 and can be purchased at any sporting goods store.

  The difference in price can get you within 20 feet of your destination, or as close as a centimeter. The importance of that 20 feet depends on whether you’re looking for your favorite hunting spot or if you’re searching for the exact spot in the river where you dropped your wedding ring.

Geocaching is a treasure hunt using your Global Positioning System (GPS). It’s a sophisticated game of hide-and-seek where people all over the world search for hidden boxes, or caches. The GPS required for geocaching is a hand-held navigational device about the size of a cell phone. They range in price from $70 to $1,000 and can be purchased at any sporting goods store.

  A GPS uses 24 space satellites and their corresponding ground stations to give accurate coordinates to anywhere in the world. According to the Trimble GPS Web site (www.trimble.com), “…it’s like giving every square meter on the planet a unique address.”

  So, basically, if I hide a penny in a forest in Idaho, and give you the coordinates from my GPS, you’ll be able to follow the directions from your GPS until you’re practically standing on top of my penny. Cool, huh?

Getting Started

  After you get a hold of a GPS, go to the Geocaching Web site (www.geocaching.com). Start your own free account. Choose a special geocaching name that your family will be known by online. It creates a place to keep track of every hide you search for, which ones you find and which ones you can’t find.

When you’re ready to embark on your first hunt, type in the city, state and country you’d like to search, and what mile radius you’re willing to travel. For instance, you might want to know about any caches within a 15-mile radius of Oldtown, Idaho. Even though most of the people living in this small town of 190 people have never heard of geocaching, there happen to be 13 caches within that radius. Sandpoint has 74 caches waiting to be found.

  When you’re ready to embark on your first hunt, type in the city, state and country you’d like to search, and what mile radius you’re willing to travel. For instance, you might want to know about any caches within a 15-mile radius of Oldtown, Idaho. Even though most of the people living in this small town of 190 people have never heard of geocaching, there happen to be 13 caches within that radius. Sandpoint has 74 caches waiting to be found.

  Scroll through them. The difficulty of the search is ranked on a scale of one to five. If the terrain for a particular cache isn’t advisable for small children, the cache hider will have mentioned it. Some will leave hints, some won’t. Many people who hide the caches want you to experience interesting sites in their area, and will give a brief history or interesting fact about the spot where the cache is hidden. Each has it’s own name, and many times the name is the clue. Print off the caches that appeal to your family. Enter the coordinates listed with the name of each cache into your GPS and get going!

There are several different types of caches, but we’ll focus on “traditional caches.” A traditional cache is a waterproof container of some sort; a Tupperware bowl, four inch PVC pipe with a cap or, seemingly the most popular, old ammo boxes found at most army surplus stores. There will be a label on the side that identifies it as an official geocache, and asks that people replace it exactly as it was found. Inside will be a log for the finder to sign and date as proof they’ve been there. It can be a small notebook, adding machine tape or cut pieces of paper and a pen. These types of caches are filled with trinkets and toys. You or your children are welcome to take something out as long as you put something back.

Traditional Cache

  There are several different types of caches, but we’ll focus on “traditional caches.” A traditional cache is a waterproof container of some sort; a Tupperware bowl, four inch PVC pipe with a cap or, seemingly the most popular, old ammo boxes found at most army surplus stores. There will be a label on the side that identifies it as an official geocache, and asks that people replace it exactly as it was found. Inside will be a log for the finder to sign and date as proof they’ve been there. It can be a small notebook, adding machine tape or cut pieces of paper and a pen. These types of caches are filled with trinkets and toys. You or your children are welcome to take something out as long as you put something back.

  You’ll find a variety of treasures: tape measures, fingernail clippers, compasses and dollar-store toys that thrill the kids. Some thoughtful geocachers will slip in a can of bug spray if it’s a particularly bug infested area so you can douse yourselves then leave it for the next family to use. Pack along a bag of give-away tokens to add your own brand of seasoning to the pot.

  After the log is signed, and trinkets traded, the cache is put back exactly as it was found. It could be hours, days or even months before someone looks for this cache again. Some caches are found many times a day, while others can lay undisturbed for weeks between finds.

You’ll find a variety of treasures: tape measures, fingernail clippers, compasses and dollar-store toys that thrill the kids. Some thoughtful geocachers will slip in a can of bug spray if it’s a particularly bug infested area so you can douse yourselves then leave it for the next family to use. Pack along a bag of give-away tokens to add your own brand of seasoning to the pot.

  The hiding spots for some of these are ingenious.

What looks like a rotting chunk of birch tree in the middle of the woods, might actually be a PVC pipe wrapped in birch bark, and filled with goodies. They’re hidden under rocks, and piles of boards; in a hollowed out log, or even at the site of an ancient cemetery. The hiding spots are only limited by the hider’s imagination.

Start Your Own Cache

Not only can you run around the world, or just your home town, searching for caches, you can hide your own. The geocaching Web site gives simple instructions and rules to follow. Once you’ve adhered to them, your hide will be posted on the Web site, and people will start searching for it. You’ll be notified each time someone finds it, plus get any comments they might make.

Travel Bugs!

  If you want to jack up the excitement for your family, start your own travel bug. It’s something a geocacher has chosen to send on a journey, and will probably never see again. A keychain, action figure -- whatever.

  You’ll get a set of dog tags with the travel bug’s ID on it. Attach them to an item you’ve chosen to send out into the world. As soon as someone opens a cache and sees the tags, they’ll know it’s a travel bug. They can choose to help it along its journey, or leave it for someone else to find. The tags allow people to log in where they found the bug, and where they dropped it off.

  Let’s say your family wants to send a plastic frog to every English speaking country. You set up your travel bug with ID tags and a goal if you like. You may want to put your toy frog in a Ziploc bag with a note: Hello! My name is Seymour and my goal is to “see more!” I’d love to visit other countries but I only speak English. Can you help me get to as many English speaking countries as possible?

  The neat thing is, the Web site follows your bug. You will know as soon as someone documents that they’ve found or dropped off your little critter. You’ll know who has it and where it is at all times.

  Your whole family will come running when you yell, “Hey kids, Seymour is in Ireland!”

Document Your Finds

  After a day of geocaching go to the Web site, and document how you did. Your account keeps track of how many caches you’ve found, how many you couldn’t find; how many travel bugs you have out there, where they are, and who has them.

  Not only is geocaching great family fun, but you’ll discover interesting facts about terrific places, not just in Idaho, but wherever you travel. You’ll all learn how to use a GPS, and never have to worry about getting lost in the woods. Plus, geocaching encourages everyone to “Cache in, Trash out,” a great lesson for everyone.

Not only can you run around the world, or just your home town, searching for caches, you can hide your own. The geocaching Web site gives simple instructions and rules to follow. Once you’ve adhered to them, your hide will be posted on the Web site, and people will start searching for it. You’ll be notified each time someone finds it, plus get any comments they might make.
www.sandpoint.com | www.bonnersferry.com | www.clarkforkidaho.com | www.hopeidaho.com
www.schweitzerresorthomes.com | Sandpoint Idaho Arial Photo Guide | North Idaho Real Estate Search

________Copyright 1998-2006 by Sandpoint.com - All rights reserved