The beginner’s guide to geocaching

This combination of treasure hunting and hiking was born with the revelation of GPS (Global Positioning System) technology that you find in many mobile phones and other hand-held navigation devices. Dominique Henson finds out how to get started. 

SLUG: LD-GEOCACHE DATE: 10/23/2004 Photographer: Tracy A. Woodward/TWP. NEGATIVE NUMBER: 160934. Claude Moore Park, Sterling, VA. Photos for a feature on a popular new recreational activity called geocaching, sort of orienteering with a GPS. This is what the cache looks like at Claude Moore Park. YOU CAN'T SHOW WHAT THE AREA LOOKS LIKE AROUND THE LOCATION OF THE CACHE.  (Photo by Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Let’s go geocaching! A treasure hunt for the modern world, use your phone to set out on an adventure to find one of many secret geocaches hidden in the countryside.


Head out on a hunt

To embark on this exciting blend of virtual and real-world exploration, you will need a GPS activated hand-held mobile device, such as an iPhone, Android or Windows Phone. This will act as your navigation system. Using this you can download the free official geocaching app, and you can choose a hidden geocache to navigate to.

Having successfully located the geocache, the logbook contained within it should be signed and dated. Some geocaches will also contain trade items, which might be of sentimental or small monetary value. If these are taken they must be replaced with similarly valued items.

After completing this mission you are encouraged to share your adventures using social media, and your own personal free geocache online account, to generate interest in the specific area where the treasure was found and in the geocaching phenomenon more broadly.

Once sufficiently documented, you must replace the geocache exactly where it was found, ready for the next explorer to take on the challenge.

For the love of adventure

This intriguing combination of adventure and exploration encourages the discovery of otherwise hidden locations, appealing to our natural curiosity and making the geocacher carefully observe their surroundings in search of their treasure. It introduces the explorer to a global community of nearly five hundred million other people all chasing the excitement of these hidden and mysterious items. Not only are these journeys a brilliant way of encouraging outdoor activities in the countryside as well as in towns and cities, they also come hand in hand with an investment in promoting the growth of the outdoor industry through the exposure and interest generated by the online community.

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Main image credit: The Washington Post/ Contributor