Geocaching is another of my favorite hobbies. It gets you active. It gets you outside. It is simply awesome. But what is geocaching?
A geocache is a container of some sort that holds a notebook/piece of paper, can hold a pen, and usually has some sort of trinkets inside it. Geocaching is just the act of finding these things and signing your name.
Although it might seem a ridiculous thing to do, you should sign up here before playing because you can find geocache locations online and track which one you find or did not find on the website. For out in the field, they have an app for both iPhones and Android phones. It also tells you when you are getting close to the cache, and instructs you to look around.
Geocaches can come in lots of sizes – from a tiny little screw to almost backpack-sized. Like I said, there is always a notebook or piece of paper inside for you to sign, so always bring a pen. And if you are going for a large geocache, plan on bringing some cool toys or trinkets to trade with. But the rule for trading is trade equal or up. This means that you cannot trade an action figure for a rubber band, but you can trade it for another action figure or something better.
Geocaches can be anywhere. And when I say anywhere, I mean anywhere. They’re found in trees, bushes, scary caves, sidewalk benches, and a lot of other places. Finding them can be very difficult, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t find any! Some are not maintained very well and could be lost or destroyed. Or you didn’t look hard enough.
Here are some of the terms you’ll find on the Geocaching website:
- ALR: Additional logging requirement
- Bug: a trackable tag with a unique code that can be attached to an item. (See trackable.)
- CITO: Cash In Trash Out
- The Creed: Click here to see the Geocachers’ Creed.
- DNF: Did not find
- D/T: Difficulty and terrain, found on the info page for each geocache.
- FTF: First to find
- LN: Left nothing (at the geocache site)
- Muggled: The discovery of a geocache by a non-geocacher. When a cache has been muggled, it usually means it was dismantled or removed by a unsuspecting non-player.
- STF: Second to find
- SWAG: Stuff We All Get (trackables; see trackable.)
- TFTC/TFTH: Thanks for the cache/hide
- TNLN: Took nothing, left nothing, signed logbook
- Trackable: A tag with a unique code that can be attached to an item. The trackable is then carried from cache to cache (or person to person) in the real world, and its progress can be followed on Geocaching.com.
That’s a lot of terms, but the most common are FTF, DNF, TNLN, and needs maintenance.
Now that you know what geocaching is, you should try it. Maybe you can start your own geocaching club at school if your fellow students like the idea. Sign up and go find some!
Geocaching can be dangerous. But then, so can anything you do outside. Geocache at your own risk.