While geocaching really started with the “GPS Stash Hunt” started by Matt Stum on May 30th, 2000, my 7-year- old daughter Emma just started taking interest in it. It started with an outdoor meet up with friends at a local park where a friend of hers showed her a cache. From there, it has escalated to a fun way for us both to get some more outdoor time. An added bonus is that we can ride our bikes to some of the caches or plan a hike or walking route that passes by multiple caches. Our one-year-old pup Roxy has even got in on the fun. Not only do we get in some exercise, but my daughter is learning to read GPS and maps. It also fits in perfectly in the 1,000 hours outdoor challenge we are participating in.
Tips to Get Started
- Download an app to help you find local caches. We use the Geocaching app at a basic level since this is a new hobby that may or may not last.
- Bring along a trinket on each hunt. Trinkets are often left at the cache site. Be sure to leave a trinket for every trinket you take. My daughter has left small ceramic animals, fun character erasers and a pull back car. She has received a button flower, a cookie cutter and a plastic fish amongst other items.
- Take along a pencil or pen as well. Most sites have a spot to include your name and the date you found the cache. We learned from experience that not every cache spot has a pencil or pen to include your info.
- We found it was easiest to mark the find right away on the app. That way, you can click on the find on the map right away to log it, and you don’t have to spend time finding it on the map again later.
- Leave a note to the person who placed the cache. We do this through the app typically. Tell them thank you for placing the cache. Tell them if you had issues finding it or if there are any changes or improvements they can make (maybe the sheet to log the find is full and needs to be replaced). This will help keep the community going.
- Be safe. Be sure to follow safety and traffic laws and be courteous when finding a cache.
- Plan an outdoor date with friends to discover some finds together.
- Add your own cache to the fun. We are still working on where to place ours, but we look forward to keeping track of who has visited it.
- Have fun!