gps for fitness

December 16, 2014

Geocaching: A Fun and Free Outdoor Family Activity

A lot of people, upon hearing the word muggles, would think of it as fictitious. In the famous Harry Potter series, people with no magical powers are called muggles. This term is only popular to a small number of people  that geocachers or people whose hobby is geocaching call non-geocachers muggles.

Geocaching is comparable to a worldwide, technology-inspired treasure hunt. This is possibly the best explanation you can provide a muggle who accidentally sees you trying to acquire a geocache from a well-hidden location. The hunt is to find different geocaches from all over the world –and mind you, there are millions of them currently. The whereabouts of geocaches are listed on websites; www.geocaching.com is one of the more popular ones. Each entry provides the co-ordinates for every cache and often a matching description of the container and an additional hint to locate the cache’s whereabouts. All you need to do is enter the coordinates into a GPS receiver and you can now start the hunt.

Geocaching can be enjoyed by families to give purpose to a leisurely walk. Geocaches are often concealed in areas of interest and one can typically find notes such as geographical or historical data. Kids and kids at heart have a sense of accomplishment in discovering every cache, and then later on you can register your find on the cache’s listing section.

As a reward, a lot of caches also contain swapsies. These are small trinkets or toys similar to the ones found in Christmas crackers and are intended to be taken once found by a geocacher. However, it is a general rule for you to leave something behind of the same or greater value as the trinket you have taken. Every cache has a corresponding log book, and as you find it, you have to log in to record that you found it. Some caches are so small that only initials can be written on it. Bringing your own pen is recommended.

Geocaches are ranked for the type of terrain a geocacher has to navigate through as well as for the complexity of discovering and acquiring the cache itself. A 1-star terrain implies that someone on a wheelchair user would be able to locate the cache, while a 5-star terrain implies that additional equipment may be required to get to the cache, like climbing ropes or a canoe. Geocaches with high star ratings are branded as ‘extreme caches’ and just like any other geocache, can be attempted at one’s own risk. Going through the log entries for extreme caches can be very amusing because people usually describe their various encounters and experiences with curious muggles.

So for you to start geocaching, you will need internet access to look for a cache near you, and a suitable device with GPS capability. You have the option to purchase a portable GPS receiver, or you can use the GPS capabilities of your smartphone. Be certain to browse through the general guidelines for geocaching etiquette, like ‘put the cache back exactly as you discovered it’ and then it’s time for some serious geocaching fun!