What better way to explore the highways, byways, bush lands, and parks of Southern Ontario than through this high tech game of hide and seek. See the sights, get the family outdoors, while learning valuable navigation skills. If you haven't tried this fast growing outdoors activity read on and get in on the action.
What is geochaching? Well if you don't own a GPS (Global Positioning Device) you may know little about this relatively new outdoors activity, so let's see what all the fuss is about. The word geocache can be broken into two elements: geo - which stands for geographical and cache - which roughly means someplace where something is hidden. Geocache = a geographical location where something is hidden. You can be the one that hides an item(s), you can be the one that searches for a cache, or both.
How do I find a cache? Two things are required: a GPS and coordinates of where a cache is hidden. Those hiding the caches are sometimes tricky, the coordinates do not necessarily lead to the exact location of a cache, sometimes the coordinates will get you within 20 or 30 ft. And then you need to interpret clues to find the cache.
What sort of things will I find? Items are generally small trinkets that are placed in a waterproof container. The container is then hidden at or near a specific set of geographical coordinates. Each cache will contain some physical items, a log book, and a pen or pencil (although I suggest taking your own writing implement).
So is this just a game of finding a cache and taking things? Well let's think of it as exchanging things rather than taking things. When you find a cache you can rummage through the items in the cache and if you find something of interest you can take it, but you should leave something of yours to replace it. You then write your name, where you are from, the time and date of your visit, what you took and what you left in the log book. I have read log books with entries from all over North America and even from Europe, Japan, and Korea.
Where are caches located? Today the outdoors activity of geocaching has become so popular that you'll be surprised at how many caches are hidden right in your own neighborhood. Parks, wildlife areas, hiking trails, rail trails, conservation areas, urban trails and wilderness locations are all places where you are likely to find a cache.
What will it cost me to get started? That's the beauty of geocaching, You can get started for less than $100 and upgrade to more sophisticated units as your needs increase. A basic GPS will get you to where you want to go but there is a bit more manual entry work involved. More sophiscicated units will allow you to download geochache coordinates directly to your GPS and log your finds.
Where do I find the coordinates of caches? One of the best places to start is http://www.geocaching.com This is a free geocaching site where you will be able to find information and coordinates for caches in your area or in other places that you may want to visit. After a bit of exploration you'll likely want to upgrade to a paid membership that provides members with significant and useful advantages.
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