THE ENTHUSIAST!: Finding a Way into Geocaching

For the uninitiated: Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting activity where you use GPS-enabled devices to navigate to a specific set of coordinates to find a geocache (container) hidden at that location.

It’s been two months since the vernal equinox, and it’s finally legitimately Springtime in Newfoundland. Time to rediscover the outdoors, so let’s go geocaching!

For the uninitiated: Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting activity where you use GPS-enabled devices to navigate to a specific set of coordinates to find a geocache (container) hidden at that location.

There are geocache locations all around the city and across the province. There are currently active geocaches near Veteran’s Square and throughout downtown. There are geocaches in Bowring, Bannerman, and all along the East Coast Trail. With geocaches to find all across the province, it makes an excellent anchor for a road trip.

You probably have all the equipment you need to find a geocache right now. All you need is a smartphone and a free account on geocaching.com. You could spring for a GPS receiver ($129.99 and up at Canadian Tire), but you can probably muddle through with the loosey-goosey GPS connectivity of your phone.

To get started, visit geocaching.com, and register for a free Basic Membership. The premium membership gives you a few perks like advanced search capabilities, but nothing essential. Then, enter your postal code and click “Search” to see geocache locations nearby. Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your Geocaching app and get moving.

Geocaches are always hidden, but never require the use of specialized tools (or venturing onto private property) to access. Also, geocaches vary greatly in size and appearance. You might find a film canister in the knothole of a tree, or you might uncover an ammo box in the foundation of an abandoned building.

“Upon finding the cache, make sure you sign the logsheet in there,” says geocaching enthusiast Murray Park, who has personally set up more than 180 geocaches. “Bring your own pen as caches often do not have a pen.”

When you locate a geocache, you might find any number of little treasures: coins, toys, books, and more.  “If you take something as a trade, then it is good etiquette to leave something of equal or greater value,” says Park. Geocachers recommend avoiding food, scented items, or perishables (because animals) and anything not kid-friendly (because kids). Leaving anything illegal behind for kindly geocachers to find is also a big no-no.

Some caches have a travel bug (TB), an item with a specific code on it, which can be entered on geocaching.com. “You can then see all of the places all over the world where the item has travelled,” says Park. “The TB is to be placed back in to a cache, and logged as being placed in to that new cache.  That way the owner of the TB – possibly a world away – can see the travels of the TB and the piece is still in play.”

Check the Geocaching Newfoundland Facebook group to find out more. Looking for a new hobby? Acting? Hiking? D&D? Check the Enthusiast archives, https://theovercast.ca/tag/the-enthusiast.

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