Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world. Or – to describe it in a funny way: I use multi million Dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods 😉
I became a cache junkie Christmas 2017 – and I really like it & managed to find over 5000 caches in three and a half years (~ 3 caches a day…). I get to places I have never been before (although in my home zone) and I am seeing nature with different eyes. And remember: not all who wonder are lost – some are just geocaching 🙂
What is a geocache and what is a travel bug?
For the traditional geocache, a geocacher will place a waterproof container containing a log book (with pen and or pencil) and trade items or trackables, then record the cache’s coordinates. These coordinates, along with other details of the location, are posted on a listing site (see list of some sites below). Other geocachers obtain the coordinates from that listing site and seek out the cache using their handheld GPS receivers. The finding geocachers record their exploits in the logbook and online, but then must return the cache to the same coordinates so that other geocachers may find it. Geocachers are free to take objects (except the logbook, pencil, or stamp) from the cache in exchange for leaving something of similar or higher value.
Also common are objects that are moved from cache to cache called “hitchhikers”, such as Travel Bugs or Geocoins, whose travels may be logged and followed online. Cachers who initially place a Travel Bug or Geocoins often assign specific goals for their trackable items. Examples of goals are to be placed in a certain cache a long distance from home, or to travel to a certain country, or to travel faster and farther than other hitchhikers in a race.
Generally accepted rules for Geocaching are to not endanger others, to minimize the impact on nature, to respect private property, and to avoid public alarm.
Here is information on my own caches:
I sent 4 travel bugs on their journey:
- Team Carrot: this travel bug should travel to all German cities we visited together with our South African friends. On our way up North, I fetched him and took him to Hamburg & Luebeck. He is currently East of Bielefeld and unfortunately, the last couple who had it, do not reply…….
- Globetrotter: this travel bug should „run“ as many kilometers as his owner did. And that is – so far – over 48000km. Currently, this travel bug is about 100km SW of Dijon close to Lons-le-Saunier at Dept. Jura in France and has accumulated 13874km
- Maker Madness Trackable Tag: during a vacation at Cyprus, one of our group introduced me to Geocaching. To honour him, I sent this travel bug from our place to where he lives at Erfurt. After a GC couple kept it for over a year, I retrieved it from them early June 2020 and delivered the TB to gk40. Mission completed 🙂
- Wichi’s SEA Tour 2019: on occassion of our holiday with Wichi to Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand, I released a TB and put in in a cache at Koh Chang – an island off Thailand – on Nov 13th, 2019. The cache came back to Muenster in Germany and it is now in my possession to be delivered to Wichi 😉
I have 2 additional travel bugs (Carrotking’s Snowflake & Carrotking’s Christmas Pickle Tag) which can be discovered in our Christmas tree at Christmas time.
I organized my 1st Geocaching Event (a get-together at the fortress Otzberg) on March 24th, 2019: 30 geocaching teams attended it. My 2nd Geocaching Event took place on May 26th, 2019 at the fortress at Breuberg: 25 geochaching teams enjoyed it – and asked me when I would organize the next 😉
Where does Geocaching come from?
Geocaching was originally similar to the 160-year-old game letterboxing, which uses clues and references to landmarks embedded in stories. Geocaching was conceived shortly after the removal of Selective Availability from the Global Positioning System on May 2, 2000, because the improved accuracy of the system allowed for a small container to be specifically placed and located. The first documented placement of a GPS-located cache took place on May 3, 2000, by Dave Ulmer of Beavercreek, Oregon (USA).
Over time, a variety of different hide-and-seek-type activities have been created or abandoned, so that “geocaching” may now refer to hiding and seeking containers, or locations or information without containers.
Acc. to the largest website Geocaching.com who also provides an App for geocaching, there are some 3 million active geocaches worldwide. In nearly every country of the world, geocaches are hidden. In the US, there are about 1 million caches. Germany counts some 370000 (September 2017). The only cache which not on planet Earth is on the ISS.
Let me know if you wanna have more information – or just simply try it 😉 And – by the way – never mess with a Geocacher: they know places where nobody will find you again….. LoL
Jobs fill wallets – Geocaching fills your soul!