Geocaching is an outdoor sport using a handhelp GPS receiver, where you use the GPS to find a geocache, or simply a "cache". The cache is always at least a container and a log that is signed when you find the cache. You also log your find online at www.geocaching.com
We have been geocaching since April 20, 2003. We were introduced to geocaching by Alan and Fiona Woods, who are dear friends and Alan was a co-worker at the time.
We have met many fellow geocachers and made some good friends, like Mike and Kalyn Reedy (Akulakat and Akulakat Too!) and Larry and Jo Kelly (SandbassKing&Queen). Geocaching has been a very enriching, entertaining, and healthy activity for us. We cache whenever we get a chance, wherever we are.
As of December 2006, there were over 350,000 active geocaches throughout the world. There's probably one near you!
How it works:
1. Someone creates a cache, made up of at least a watertight container, and a log book. The log book doesn't have to be fancy, or even be a book - it can be a leaflet-type book, or several long, thin sheets taped together at the top (think cash register tape), and there are many unique styles. The hider/placer/owner then takes the cache out to a public place, where permission won't be a problem, and hides (but does not bury) the cache. They record the coordinates (latitude and longitude) of the hide using their own GPS. Later, the hider completes an online form on wwww.geocaching.com and creates a cache page, filling in details such as the coordinates, the name of the cache, the difficulty and terrain ratings, a bit of HTML for a description, and so forth. Later, a reviewer looks at the page to make sure everything is ok (you can't hide a cache too close to another cache or near railroad tracks, etc.) and publishes the cache on www.geocaching.com so it can be searched by others wishing to seek the cache.
You can find cache pages of caches you want to go find by a ZIP code, coordiates, State or Country, City, by name, just about anything. You can download the coordinates into your GPS (most GPS units can store hundreds of coordinates) and then tell you GPS to "go to" those coordinates. The GPS will then point the way to the cache. You may walk, drive, or whatever is appropriate to get to the cache. Eventually you will near the "zero spot". This is where first-time people usually "get" what Geocaching is all about. It's not like you walk to the zero spot and there's the cache. You have to look. Sometimes hard. Sometimes easy. For us, this is what it's all about.
3. once you find the cache, you sign the log (we always take a picture of ourselves at the hiding spot, without giving away the exact location), and move on to the next cache we want to find (or Tex-Mex if it's at the end of the day!). We log our find also on www.geocaching.com. By doing this, the cache page grows with each find, giving the owner a history of finds, and you get to create a history of your own finds. It's fun!
Another good source of information about geocaching can be found at http://www.teletracnavman.com/gps-fleet-tracking-education/gps-geocaching-101. This link was provided courtesy of Stephanie Lowe and her daughter Dakota, my thanks to them for this great link!
Our Geocaching name is "astrojr1&GGGal" if you want to find us out there. Hope to see you on the trails!