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How to Get Started with Geocaching

Do you love nature and a good challenge? Known as "the world's largest treasure hunt," geocaching may be your next favorite activity. Geocaching, a mix of "Geography" and "cache," allows you to search for various gems in sites above the ground that can be easy or challenging to find. I've recently started to geocache after a friend, and I found our first two in Lago Vista, Texas. We also attempted to find one more in an abandoned golf course (mission failed). You never know where these caches may lead you, which is a part of the fun. If you're intrigued, let's go over how to get started with geocaching, the basic rules, and what you can find or place in a container.

What Do You Need to Get Started with Geocaching

To get started, download the app on your phone. It's available in the Google Play and Apple Store for free. After downloading the Geocaching app, create an account to track which geocaches you find.

Now you're ready to rock and roll! Find your first geocache by using the map. You may see one of these three main geocache types:

Traditional Geocache: The sizes of the containers will vary, but all should have at least a logbook. And most will have trackables and items you can trade.

Multi-Cache: Find several geocaches with hints leading you to find the final physical container with the logbook.

EarthCache: These are in unique geological locations to educate people about the earth.

View all the other types of geocaches here.

Once you select the geocache you want to find; it's time to get out there, and… we'll…find it! This is the fun part. Use the navigation feature in the app to give you an idea of how close you are to the cache. Some may be easier to find than others. For example, a micro-cache the size of a pill bottle may take a little longer to uncover than a large container under some rocks. Take your time, and don't forget to practice Leave No Trace principles!

After roaming around, you look over, and there it is – gotcha buddy. Open the geocache, fill out the logbook, and get ready to trade an item (if applicable). Close it up, and hide it again in the same place. Do not try and hide it somewhere else.

Finally, open your app and log your geocache find. Click "Log" for the geocache you've selected and leave a comment saying you found it. Then, you've successfully found your first geocache! Your find will be indicated on the map with a smiley face.

The Basic Rules of Geocaching

  1. Take something from the cache

  2. Leave something in the cache of equal value

  3. Do not place bubbles/liquids into a container

  4. Write about it in the logbook

  5. Leave No Trace and pick up litter you find along the way

  6. Do not post pictures of the exact hiding spot

What Can You Place in a Geocache Box?

There are so many different SWAG (Stuff We All Get) items you can place in a geocache box! I would advise against putting anything like dirt, sticks, and rocks because it makes the containers dirty and takes away from the game. Here are a few ideas, and a lot of them are pretty affordable things you can pick up at Walmart, the Dollar Store, or even order on the Geocaching online store.

Final Thoughts

Geocaching is very entertaining, especially with other people like family and friends. It is also another way to get out in nature and get your body moving and your brain. Challenge yourself to go out and find a geocache in the next week. All you need is yourself, a fully charged phone, an item to trade, and your curiosity. Happy hunting!

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.

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