Back in the day, I had a 40×40 list, a list of 40 things to do before I was 40. Well I turned 40, and upgraded the list. One of the things on that new list was – finish the old list! One of the things on that list? Find 40 Geocaches
#2 Find 40 Geocaches
Geocaching – it is basically using millions of pounds worth of satellites to find Tupperware in the woods.
With an ever increasing access to GPS via phones and tablets, Geocaching has seen a huge rise in popularity. And what is not to love! It gets you out and about, exploring new places (perhaps even some old places you had forgotten about) it’s fun, adds interest to a walk and gives you an excuse to play with your phone!
Geocaching is a global phenomenon
There are over 2 million Geocaches all over the world ranging from Nano (tiny ones, you may probably miss if you don’t look REALLY closely) to giant ones (Like this one in Cyprus) A cache is a container for a logbook and sometimes swaps, you find it, sign the book and do your little ‘Geo-dance’ (Just me? Okay, you don’t have to do the dance)
So what is it all about? What do you have to do? Well it’s simple really. Find out where the caches are, I recommend the Geocaching website, although there are other sites. Sign up (it’s free!) and then decide where you want to go and look. You can enter your postcode and find those near to home, or if you are planning a trip somewhere why not see if you can ‘grab a cache’ while you are there…
Now this is where we have two options – when I initially started geocaching, back in the old days ( i.e: 2010) I did not own a GPS device, or an internet enabled phone, so how I went about finding a cache was slightly different than how I do it now. If you have access to tech click here, and visit the official site; it will tell you all you need to know. If you are not currently ‘teched’ up there is still a way to join in with the geocaching fun.
Geocaching without GPS
Back in the day, when I was an impoverished student who could only get on the internet at home, Uni or if I sat outside McDonalds/Starbucks/a pub that happens to be part of ‘the Cloud’, I couldn’t geocache using the traditional GPS assisted method.
So how do you do it without GPS? Through the power of Google maps.
Once you sign up to Geocaching.com and have a look around the caches that are in your area, you will notice numbers at the top of each listing like this:
These are the co-ordinates at which the cache is hidden. If you enter these into Googlemaps you will get as close as you are going to get without tech. (If you are a fellow Geographer you could, of course, look up these co-ordinates on a map, and plot the whole thing properly, but ain’t nobody got time for that!)
When the map appears, put the satellite image up, and see what you can see.
As the map in my example above doesn’t show a road, you can’t utilise the ‘streetmap’ facility, which can sometimes get you really close in to your target, but with the satellite view you can still work out where it is you need to be. Often the cache listing will give you a clue, use this to get any extra information you can (you can also look at the gallery of photos other people have added).
Then, you go for a walk, keep an eye out in the area, especially for suspicious looking piles of twigs (or stickoflague, as we call it) these are often hiding caches, and you will get very good at spotting it after a while.
Once you find the cache – making sure there are no muggles about- sign and date it, and, if you can, put a small swap into the box (we use go-gos, or little badges) Don’t forget to log the find on the website – and if you are doing the National Trusts “50 things to do before you are 11 and 3/4, then tick that task off too.
And that’s it – go forth and search my Geo-friends!
With regard the 40 x 40:
So my challenge was to find 40 caches – which I did – including one in Oslo and one in Japan. So this challenge is…
Have you tried Geocaching? Let me know if you make an interesting find.