Geocaching

Looking for an outdoor game for everyone? Enjoy treasure hunting? Perhaps you should look at Geocaching! Cameron and James our new Connecting Up staff are fans of this recreational pursuit and SAcommunity spoke to them about the appeal of this activity and what it was that first inspired them to join.

 
How did you first become involved in geocaching?
I first heard of geocaching from my friend as something we could do while we went on our regular walks. It provided more incentive to get outside and explore local walking paths, parks, and nature-rich areas, while getting healthy and fit.

What do you know of the history of the game and how it started?
In May 2000, the accuracy of GPS improved dramatically, and the idea of geocaching came shortly after, under the name “GPS Stash Hunt”, when a GPS enthusiast wanted to test the new accuracy by hiding a container in the woods somewhere, and posting its GPS coordinates on the internet challenging other people to find it using only their GPS receiver. The rules were simple: “Take some stuff, leave some stuff”.
 
Tell us more about Geocaching and what it involves?
There are vast amount of ‘geocaches’ that are hidden around the globe, some with only the raw GPS coordinates of the cache itself, others being part of a ‘multicache’ which involves finding several caches in a particular order, and each cache provides clues as to the location of the next cache.
 
Using a Geocaching website or app, you can keep track of all the caches you’ve found and rate them based on their difficulty in terms of terrain or accessibility, and also leave notes if you can’t find the cache or suspect the cache has been damaged or stolen.
 
It’s also easy to set up and hide your own geocache, provided it’s a certain distance away from other nearby caches, and you follow the procedure found online. Difficult caches sometimes have cryptic hints to help out if you’re struggling, and you can even browse photos of the area taken by other treasure hunters or take and upload some yourself.
 
To help protect the caches from vandalism/theft, it’s also recommended to re-hide caches that you find, because ‘muggles’ (people unfamiliar with geocaching) might disturb the cache’s integrity or location.
 
How does the game help people connect?
The game allows users to review every cache they find, and also write their name/team in the logbook inside the actual cache (most caches have a logbook + pencil), lets users connect and recognise other geocachers in their area. Also, it’s a great family/group activity that gets everyone out and about to look for some treasure, sometimes in places they wouldn’t have otherwise visited, which brings the community together.

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