Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Geocaching with DK Brownies

Thanks to Dan, we started a new hobby, geocaching! I was hesitant at first because I'm more of the "window shopping at premium stores I cannot afford" than "trudging through the woods" type. However, we started gradually by finding cache just off trails in the park before he convinced me to go bushwacking so far into the woods that we stumbled upon a tent community and started questioning if we were too lost to find our way out. Lol! Despite my fear of ticks, bugs, dirt, and all things outdoors, we have a great time. 

What is "geocaching?"
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

Where can I find geocache?
Geocache can be found all over the world. Cache may be at your local park, at the end of a long hike, underwater, or on the side of a city street. I like geocaching because it takes us to places we've never been before. It has helped us explore many of our local parks. We found all 8 cache located in the Joe Palaia Park. Dan has navigated through the woods in Green Spaces behind a few of the local schools and even in the woods across the street from his Mom's house in Delran. To locate cache in your area, log on to the official website and create an account.   

What do I need to start?
Technically, starting can be as simple as using a smartphone (or GPS enabled device). Enthusiastic participants can use a professional GPS, personalized caches, and create their own geocaches for others to find. Personally, we started with the geocache application on our smartphones, some bug spray, and a few small items to place in the cache we found. Based on our travels so far, I highly recommend bug spray, outdoor shoes, pants, and a hat. We have encountered many thorns, mosquitoes, and plenty of mud while we  walking in the woods off trails (referred to as "bushwacking"), so I suggest dressing the part.

Remember to bring something to put in the first cache you find! If you don't have anything on you, etiquette asks that you leave a dollar. You're supposed to record your name in the log, take an item, leave an item of equal or greater value, put the cache back where you found it, and record the find on the official website. It's also helpful to bring a pen for the log because sometimes the cache is too small to hold a writing implement or the enclosed pen doesn't work.  

What can I expect to find?
For the most part, we've found our fair share of random junk. Inside the cache, it often looks like the prize counters at a Chuck E Cheese: pins, army men, small plastic toys, playing cards, poker chips, key chains, etc. However, some cache have trackable items ("travel bugs") that have traveled throughout the world, some with a specific destination in mind. We've come across items such as wine corks, business cards, travel bugs, a toy giraffe, a $30 silver spoon, sand dollars, personalized poker chips, and CDs/DVDs. We often leave items from previous cache or Magic Cards.

Mr. Bendy-- a travel bug Dan found that came all the way from Ireland

I want to make my own geocache for people to find. We've seen containers ranging from Mason jars and camouflaged mayo jars to store-bought geocache boxes, ammo cases, and nano containers disguised as a wad of chewing gum. We're just getting started with this hobby, and we have so much more to explore. Now, when we travel places, we find ourselves researching if there are an geocaches in the area. Plus, it is a great way for us to get some exercise and enjoy the fall-like weather. Recently we're walking miles as we wander from cache to cache in the large local parks.

Our geocache username is DK Brownies-- Find us on! If you decide to give it a try, we'd love to hear about your experience.

1 comment:

Dan B. said...

I already have our next trip planned. §8^)