If you want to participate in the biggest in-person treasure hunt in the world, you’ve got to learn a little about geocaching. Maybe you’ve heard people talking about it, but don’t understand how to play the game. Don’t worry. The global sport of geocaching is a relatively new phenomenon, but it’s quickly catching on, especially with the RV crowd, early adopters in the space.
What is geocaching?
The term ‘geocache’ is a portmanteau that combines geo, meaning ‘earth’ and cache, for something valuable that is hidden. The creator of geocaching, computer scientist Dave Ulmer, originally called his project, “The Great American GPS Stash Hunt.” It was not really much of a game at first but devised to test the accuracy of an upgraded GPS satellite system. In case you’re wondering, the very first geocache was hidden in a bucket at N 45° 17.460 W 122° 24.800.
Ulmer’s basic rules of geocaching have always been the same: Take some stuff, leave some stuff. Many caches contain items the finder may trade in exchange for something they leave in the cache. Some caches hold no more than a log book and a pencil. When you find that sort of cache, sign your name and take away a delightful memory.
Who are geocachers?
The recent craze of Pokemon Go is based upon the concept of geocaching, but it’s not exactly the same. Instead of a cartoon image on a phone screen, as happens in Pokemon Go, geocachers find a tangible treat they can hold in their hands. Whereas the Pokemon game is primarily for youngsters, RV geocaching provides mystery and excitement to adults.
Kelly and Mike are a 50-something married couple who live full-time in a spacious RV and enjoy hunting for geocaches in a number of western states. Currently, they’re in Oregon where Kelly said that she’s more of a geocache enthusiast than her husband, but that he’s better at locating hidden caches. Kelly added, “If I won the lottery I would hire someone to drive me around on a geocache tour!”
The RV lifestyle is ideal for persons interested in adventure and provides a perfect base from which to embark on caching expeditions. Bear in mind that although most caches are located on public lands, many caches are not within reach of an RV. If you tow a Jeep everywhere you go, you’ll have no problem finding geocaches.
How does geocaching work?
Anyone with a smart phone or GPS device and a willingness to explore may start geocaching right away. First, sign up for an account at geocaching.com. It doesn’t cost anything to sign up or be a member. Once you have an account, download and install the app, and tell the system the general area where you wish to hunt for a cache. Navigate to the site, find the cache, sign the logbook, and leave everything exactly as you found it.
Geocaching is a fun blend of technology and the great outdoors. Join in on the excitement, and you’ll get good exercise, fresh air, and the thrill of solving a mystery.