Geo-Caching is Catching on

Wondering what to do with that handheld GPS unit you just had to buy? Log on to the internet, dust off your GPS unit, fill up your gas tank and go Geo-caching. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are; chances are there are geo-caches nearby. If not, then you can be a pioneer in your area.

Just what is Geo-caching? Geo-caching is a modern twist on an old game, the scavenger hunt. Players hide a prize anywhere in the world and post its coordinates on a geo-caching website. When other geo-cachers find the prize they are encouraged to leave something else in its place and leave an entry in the logbook.

THE RULES OF THE GAME

The rules are simple for playing:
� Find the cache
� Take the prize from the cache
� Leave a new prize in the cache
� Write a little entry in the logbook

HIDING A CACHE

To create a cache, the first item you will need is a container. Tupperware or waterproof plastic buckets work well. Place the cache as tastefully as possible in the terrain. The second item required is the logbook. Buy a blank journal and enter some information about yourself, the founder of this particular cache. Be creative and have fun with your entry and your visitors will do the same.

Next, place a prize in the cache. It may be a gag item or something more valuable such as a book or CD. Be considerate of the wide age range of geo-cachers, many children are active participants so items such as pornography and alcohol are completely inappropriate. Do not use food or other items that an animal might be attracted to as a prize. Animals don’t need GPS to find food and they are sure to ruin the cache before a player has a chance.

Finally, log onto your favorite geo-caching website and post your cache’s coordinates.

SEEKING A CACHE

Creating your own cache is great fun but so is finding someone else’s cache. You never know what treasure awaits you.

Once again, log onto your favorite geo-caching website, enter your zip code and view the list of available caches. View the descriptions and choose your destination.

Bring along a buddy, plenty of water, maps, a compass and your GPS unit. Don’t forget to take a replacement prize. Follow all the same basic safety rules as when you would go hiking such as letting your family know where you plan to go and when you plan on returning.

One piece of advice that makes sense is to mark your parking spot as a waypoint on your GPS unit. You wouldn’t want to get lost would you? Especially with the advanced technology right in your hands.

As you search for the cache, think like the hider. Investigate tree stumps and hollows, rock piles and other nooks and crannies that would make good hiding spots.

Now that you’ve found the cache, go ahead, open it up. Take your prize! You earned it. Jot down your notes in the logbook and place your replacement prize in the container. When you return home, log onto the website and leave a little note in the online log too. The owner of the cache will appreciate knowing someone found it.

Geo-caching is catching on all over. To join in this craze, simple do an internet search and you’ll find plenty of geo-catching sites, clubs, forums and more to help get you started.

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