Geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt, where geocachers navigate to coordinates using a GPS-enabled device, like a handheld GPS receiver or a smartphone app. At the published coordinates, there is a geocache hidden, a container which can vary in size and shape but will contain at least a logbook or logsheet, where you sign your name as proof you found it.
There are millions of geocaches hidden all over the world, on every continent. It’s easy to start, you can create an account on geocaching.com for free, and download a free app to your smartphone and set off on your first search. Check out this post on finding your first geocache for tips.
The object is to navigate to the coordinates, search for and find the cache, then sign your geocaching nickname in the logbook as proof that you found it. You then log your find on geocaching.com.
The first ever geocache was placed by Dave Ulmer on 3rd May, 2000, near Beavercreek, Oregon. This was the day after selective availability, which greatly limited the accuracy of privately owned GPS receivers, was turned off at the direction of President Bill Clinton.
Ulmer, a computer consultant and GPS enthusiast, decided to test the accuracy of the satellites by hiding a ‘stash’ in the woods and posting the coordinates on Usenet newsgroup (a discussion website, similar to but distinct from discussion forums). He named his idea Great American GPS Stash Hunt. The name was changed shortly after, as it was felt the word ‘stash’ might have negative connotations, and the term geocaching was born.
Ulmer filled the five gallon bucket he hid with various items including a cassette recorder, four $1 bills and a can of beans. The first finder was Mike Teague, from Vancouver, Washington, who traded the dollars for some cigarettes, a cassette tape and a pen on 6th May, 2000.
The location of that original geocache is commemorated with a plaque. You can read about my adventures visiting the site here.
What is a Geocache?
A geocache container can vary widely between a ‘nano’ container, which fits a very tiny logsheet, to a ‘large’ container, which could be a five gallon bucket or even a whole storage unit, rented out to act as the cache ‘container!’
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