Our First Geo Cache FIndSo I never really understood geocaching, nor its appeal till I gave it a try yesterday, and now I’m freaking hooked, and I might have inadvertently hooked a couple of friends and family as well.

A couple weeks back, watching an episode of The Totally Rad Show where they gave geocaching a try in Los Angeles. Geocaching is basically a guided outdoor treasure hunt, utilizing a GPS device — in my case an iPhone 3GS to find a marked location of a treasure or cache. There are over 800,000 caches worldwide currently and growing. Caches can vary greatly in size from little bullet-like containers to large barrels.

The Totally Rad Show suggested an app on the store — Groundspeak’s Geocaching iPhone Application, which I downloaded, though it’s a bit pricey. It’s $9.99, but has been worth it in the day I’ve had it. The iPhone app links up to GeoCaching.com and allows you to use the app to report on caching in realtime (as long as you’ve got a cell signal). The only caveat is that keeping the GPS running so long will take its toll on your battery.

So last night, after a bike shop trip for a quick adjustment, a new rear tire and a new tube for the front, we hit some dinner and I showed Amanda the app I had downloaded. After dinner, interspersed with an errand, we tried two geocaching spots nearby — finding one, and coming up empty on the other. The one we were able to locate was an old peanut butter jar (pictured above and to the left), with a little logbook and a bunch of little trinkets. The story with the trinkets is you’re allowed to take something if you replace it with something of greater or equal value. Amanda and I had nothing, so we took nothing. But it was still instantly addicting and satisfying simultaneously find our first cache. That cache ended our day’s searching, but I knew it wouldn’t be the last.

Coming back from the bank this morning down the street from the office, I tried out three locations, but came up empty on all of them.

Carlos, Vicky and Fortson tracking down their first cacheThen, I told friends at work about it at lunch, half thinking they’d think it was a horrible waste of time, but immediately after a quick lunch, six of us from the office took to the streets around our office and in short order found three micro caches, all consisting of log books — two were sites I had looked for earlier in the morning.

The first microcache was stashed up in a crevice of an office building down the street that I frequent quite often. So there are now three cache logs that have Team Guzi scrawled on them, and I’m thinking there will be more in the coming weeks.

Fortson geocachingThe second two post-lunch caches were in the form of little magnetic containers, hid well, but clues made them easy to find. It was definitely more fun with Amanda the night before and with friends/co-workers at lunch than the solo effort — not to mention a lot more brain power in both of those cases.

The things I’ve learned so far is that the GPS is good at getting you in the general area. Clues, a little luck and a little skill get you the rest of the way. I’ve also learned a pen on hand is a good idea, especially with the micro caches which are always going to be too small to house a writing utensil.

Victoria, Keefer, Fortson Downtown Raleigh geocachingIf you’re planning on using your iPhone 3G or 3GS with a geocaching app or two on it, I’d recommend bringing a car charger for replenishing the battery, as a couple hours is all the iPhone can handle with is GPS on full time. Also, while this GPS-based treasure hunting can undoubtedly be done solo, it’s a whole lot more fun seeking them out with friends and family. It’s a great way to add a little something extra to your hiking excursions, or if you’re lucky, walks around your neighborhood, office and favorite hangouts.

After a day in, I’m completely hooked and can’t wait to find more of these hidden urban and suburban treasures all around me. I’m already contemplating creating a few caches out my way. I can totally see utilizing my love of cycling in with geocaching — both in my leave behind (anyone have ideas for some sort of cheap trinket that’s cycling related), but also in seeking out cache locations.

Check out my new profile at geocaching.com and see you out there.

2 thoughts on “Trying out GeoCaching: Good Family and Friend Fun”
    1. Yeah, life got in the way. In the spare time, I’ve got, I’ve been focused on spending time with the family and riding my bike.

      The wife and I want to do some more geocaching eventually, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

      Plus, the group of us that did the geocaching in downtown Raleigh got splintered by all of us being forced to find jobs elsewhere.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *