Author Topic: GeoCaching for entertainment!  (Read 4001 times)

AssetGrinder

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GeoCaching for entertainment!
« on: June 11, 2014, 02:54:27 PM »
Looking for a frugal way to have fun? Try Geocaching! My wife and I were looking for something fun to to to get us outside without breaking the bank. We recently moved to a new city a few years ago and geocaching helped us explore so many nooks and crannies we would have never found on our own. All you need is your smartphone to get started or a handheld GPS. Geocaching is worldwide and you could plan vacations around it if need be. Its great to add some excitement to your hiked as well

Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world.

A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook where the geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it with their established code name. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers (Tupperware or similar) or ammunition boxes can also contain items for trading, usually toys or trinkets of little financial value, although sometimes they are sentimental. Geocaching shares many aspects with benchmarking, trigpointing, orienteering, treasure-hunting, letterboxing, and waymarking.

Anybody here a cacher? I am yet to get out there this season as I am a warm weather snob and a bit lazy but I plan to start this weekend again.

trailrated

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Re: GeoCaching for entertainment!
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2014, 04:18:39 PM »
I have done it on weekends, could not agree more it is like a mini treasure hunt and they are everywhere!

eil

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Re: GeoCaching for entertainment!
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2014, 04:19:19 PM »
I first heard of geocaching... must have been 15 years ago? This was not long after selective availability was dropped and hand-held GPS units became mainstream.  I tried it a few times. It's a great way to get outdoors and do stuff. For me personally, it's really only fun if you have someone to go hunting with.

My wife brought it up just a few days ago as something we could do with the kids. Are there any good and free GPS apps for Android? Google maps doesn't have the kind of detail and precision you need for this.

There's also a GPS game that's something like geocaching. You walk around the real world, but it takes place in an alternate reality. You have to capture and maintain control of portals. Can't remember the name, but it's popular with some folk. (I couldn't make heads or tails of it back when I tried it.)

Exprezchef

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Re: GeoCaching for entertainment!
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2014, 06:37:38 PM »
About five years ago I really got into Geocaching after reading about it on-line and had a great time. The OP is correct, you really get to explore places that you otherwise would not normally visit. The exercise is great because of the hiking and its a great excuse to get off your but and do something outside of the house. I even set up a few travel bugs for my daughters 6th grade class to track as they was "supposed" to journey across the globe. Sadly, both disappeared after only short trips across town. Unfortunately, my wife and kids lost interest and I have not gone on a hunt in probably a year now. It is fairly inexpensive and you can find used handheld GPS units on Craigslist. You can also download Geocaching apps onto your smartphone, but I am not sure how accurate the GPS signal is.

Here is the link to the main website with a quick video that explains what Geocaching is all about.

http://www.geocaching.com/guide/default.aspx

AssetGrinder

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Re: GeoCaching for entertainment!
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2014, 12:22:49 PM »
li it is great for kids. There are many kid specific caches out there that contain lil stickers or toys the kids can take away. I am planning on going this weekend and I have been trying to figure out a kool trinket I can leave behind in them. As far as Android apps I believe they have an official geocaching app. Using your smartphone is not ideal as a locator as position can be off but it is good enough for most cases. If you get stuck finding a cache or your reading are way off then I would suggest reading the post section in the details where you will find tips and pictures guiding you into the right direction.

JT

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Re: GeoCaching for entertainment!
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2014, 07:36:51 PM »
We were heavily into orienteering and came across geo-cashing as a fun thing to do with the kids!

It's great fun! And the kids love it! (Although the GPS is considered 'cheating' for us orienteers!!!)

zarfus

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Re: GeoCaching for entertainment!
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2014, 11:22:51 AM »
Maybe I don't get it, but how do you choose one to pursue?  There's like, hundreds within 10 miles of my zip code.  Doesn't seem very adventurous to me?

AssetGrinder

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Re: GeoCaching for entertainment!
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2014, 01:29:07 AM »
Zarfus some are very well hidden and require you to solve riddles. Others are in very tricky terrain. Some caches are as big as a film canister and very cleverly hidden.

sobezen

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Re: GeoCaching for entertainment!
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2014, 06:09:51 PM »
This looks like fun!  Did it a while ago on a date the girl was not the right one for me since she did not enjoy the new experience or show she was open to it.  Anyways, as others mentioned how do you know which geocaching spot is worth it or even current?  I've read sometimes places are no longer current how can we tell the "status"? Thanks.

arebelspy

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Re: GeoCaching for entertainment!
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2014, 06:29:36 PM »
I remember doing it a few times back in 2002 or 2003 when it first became really popular.

Then forgot about it for a decade, then at Camp Mustache just a month ago I went out with FrugalZony and a few others trying to locate a nearby cache real quick before one of the breakout discussion sessions, but had to turn back due to lack of time.
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cmk

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Re: GeoCaching for entertainment!
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2014, 06:49:22 PM »
We just celebrated our tenth anniversary of geocaching. We started it as a family activity and our sons loved it when they were younger.  They stopped caching with us as they grew old enough to pursue their own activities separate from us, but my husband and I still geocache. 

 I suggest looking for caches in parks.  You can judge the quality of the cache from the logs of previous finders.  Some people like to put geocaches in very public areas, so that the challenge is to search without being too obvious.  I don't like those, I'd rather walk five miles in the woods than drive from parking lot to parking lot checking light poles.

Also, it's quite fun to place geocaches for others to find, especially when they describe the fun adventure they had when finding it!

If you're looking for a good free android app, I'd suggest c:geo.  But of course your success will depend on the accuracy of the gps in your phone.  We like using our garmin handheld unit, bought many years ago and still working perfectly.  Also, if you want to use the same gps for road navigation, you can download free maps from opensteetmap.

FrugalZony

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Re: GeoCaching for entertainment!
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2014, 08:17:37 PM »
Been a geocacher since Dec 2002 ;) love it
At that time we only had a few hundred geocaches in the country, I first started geocaching in
I know a bunch of folks who spend a lot of money on it (gadgets, gas, trips, collectables, gear etc.)
I have always used it as a ways to enrich trips I am going on anyways
My statistics are low (I know folks who have been doing this for way less time than I and have 7 times more finds, but I still remember almost each of my caches and most of them were memorable awesome experiences).

Geocaching has introduced me to great friends from many different countries over the years, many of whom I am still in touch with.
It has made me discover areas in the cities I lived in, that I otherwise would have never seen
It also has lead me to ghost towns and many forgotten places (ruins etc.), that I would otherwise have not discovered
I love it!
I think it's a great hobby, that can be quite frugal if you are careful ;)

superone!

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Re: GeoCaching for entertainment!
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2014, 12:17:54 AM »

I love geocaching! I also love camping and traveling, and geocaching is a great (free!) way to add extra fun to any trip.

Maybe I don't get it, but how do you choose one to pursue?  There's like, hundreds within 10 miles of my zip code.  Doesn't seem very adventurous to me?

Once you start, you will go through the ones near you pretty quickly. I recently moved and my partner and I did all of the ones in a 2 mile radius of our new apartment in an afternoon (at least 10 or so caches). I live in a city, and I like the urban ones as well as those you can do hiking-- you end up in places/neighborhoods you may not otherwise have explored, and often get a little history lesson of an area in the description.

I haven't ponied up the $ for a real GPS to do some of the more remote caches. I just have the app on my phone, but I feel like all the really good ones are out of cell phone range. That reminds me to look up a few before camping this weekend! Thanks for the reminder!