There are two steps to any geocache: 1) it’s hidden and 2) others are challenged to find it. As easy as that is, it’s even easier to make sure you’re keeping your geocaching adventures on the up-and-up. Check out five helpful geocaching etiquette tips below or just watch the geocaching etiquette video.
Bring a Pen – It’s like the first day of school. You need to be prepared. Always pack a pen to make sure you’re ready to sign your Geocaching username and the date.
Leave No Trace – Be kind to the geocaching game board, which happens to be the entire world. Make sure to Cache In Trash Out (CITO) when you geocache: pick up litter along the way and don’t leave anything behind.
Write a Great “Found It” or “Didn’t find It” Log – When you find a geocache, or even when you don’t find a geocache, make sure to share the spirit of adventure with the geocache owner and for other geocachers. Write a log detailing your journey.
Put the Geocache Back Where and How You Found It – The geocache owner placed the geocache at a specific location for a reason. Make sure the owner can find it again later and that other geocachers have the same experience as you.
Move Trackables Along – If you remove a trackable, like a Travel Bug ®, from a geocache make sure to post a “retrieved” log and move it to another geocache as soon as possible.
These five steps will have you rocking the geocaching world in no time. What geocaching tips would you add? Post your thoughts on our Geocaching Facebook page. Oh, and don’t forget the sixth step: repeat steps 1 – 5 often!
Crumpled geocaching log sheets record simple, even fragile moments. Laughter, singing to classic country music and victorious thumbs-ups roll into three words for a daughter and her best geocaching partner. They sign logbooks with, “Guwisti and mom”. If you’ve geocached around Arkansas in the United States, you’ve probably read those three words on geocache log sheets for years.
But Kristie Boucheer Moore says all those geocaches are becoming flickers of half-remembered moments from her mom. “Her Alzheimer’s began a couple of years ago and has slowly progressed… She has problems remembering recent events and tends to repeat herself. She’ll ask me a question and say, ‘I’ve probably already asked you that, huh?’ And then she laughs. I don’t mind. She has a childlike exuberance which is infectious.”
Kristie began geocaching in 2010. The librarian happened upon something called, “geocaching” in an article. Soon she and her husband found their first geocache. She said they’ve been hooked on the outdoor adventure ever since.
After her father’s death Kristie searched for ways to spend time with her mom. “My husband and I told her about our new hobby and she thought it sounded silly. We took her to find an ammo can and she found a plastic grasshopper inside as SWAG and has loved it ever since! This was when she was in the very early stages and quite independent. She’d go caching with us every once in awhile, but not as much as she does now.”
The more Alzheimer’s becomes part of their lives, the more they find themselves searching for geocaches, “You really have no idea how much my mom means to me or how much we love geocaching together!! I am so happy my mom and I have found ‘our thing’ to do together.”
“Guwisti and mom” is now appearing on geocaching log sheets at a record pace. They recently broke their record and found 52 geocaches in one day.
“It’s definitely me and her time, my husband will usually go have ‘guy time’ and mom and I go caching. We usually go on weekends, in fact when I call her on Saturday morning she always asks, ‘any new caches?!’ She thinks all caches are a First to Find opportunity.”
Carol has also discovered she’s part of a larger community where she’s welcome to just be herself. Kristie says, “She loves all types of caches and she goes to events with us as well, she might not talk much anymore but she loves being around everyone and hearing their stories.”
The quiet stops when Kristie and Carol start driving to their next geocache, “Caching has given us a way to connect in the outdoors. My mom has never met a stranger, all her neighbors love her and help look after her. Since developing Alzheimer’s she’s quieter in group situations. But she sure talks a bunch while we’re out caching. I’ve heard more about her childhood than I ever have. She loves to sing and we listen to old classic country and sing while we cache.”
It’s the activity of geocaching that Kristie believes builds something stronger than memories. They’re focusing on the moment being lived, not the moments that have been lost, “It’s a great opportunity to spend quality time with a parent who honestly might not even remember your name in another year or so. We’re creating memories out there and while she might not remember exactly what happened, I think she will remember the happy feelings and general good times. I will always treasure the memories made while out caching with my mom. It is also, I suppose, a stress free time for both us. She’s not worried about remembering something she has forgotten and I can step out of the role of caregiver for a few hours. Geocaching has us both looking for something that neither one of us knows where it is. It lets us live in the moment.”
When you ask geocachers why they love geocaching, they will usually say they love geocaching because it gets them outside or brings a sense of adventure to their daily lives or connects them with a wonderfully warm and inclusive community or even gives them an activity to share with friends and family. For Roger Collins (Username: Relativly Simlpe) and his son Joshua (Username: FlyingFawks), geocaching is more than all that. It’s just a way to spend a fun afternoon together. It is the way this father and son can stay connected even when they are oceans apart.
Roger lives in Oregon. Joshua lives in Florida, but his career takes him even further away from his dad. He serves in the U.S. Navy. He says, “My first deployment was in 2010, and I have been serving for over six years now. I have been given the opportunity to travel all over the world – Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America.” Through the Navy, Joshua has also been able to geocache all over the world. Some of his favorite geocache finds have taken him tromping through Japan, Italy, and El Salvador. He adds, “I have had the privilege to be First to Find for three geocaches on two different continents.”
Through geocaching, Joshua’s father also gets to have adventures of his own. Roger describes his first ever geocaching experience, “It was a normal Oregon winter day, rainy and cold. I worked my way to the geocache, dove into a small cedar tree, and found the container. I was all wet with the smell of cedar on my coat. I sat on a we bench nearby, opened the container, and said, ‘AH MAN! Look at all this stuff!’ I was having the time of my life and I was hooked.”
Although they take place on opposite sides of the country, or even world, these experiences give Roger and Joshua endless opportunities to connect. Joshua says, “Geocaching gives us an extra excuse to talk to each other – as if being father and son wasn’t enough. When we come across a cool trackable or a geocache worth of a favorite point, we usually call or text the GC code so that the other can check it out.”
When Joshua is deployed, geocaching can even, at times, give Roger the comfort of knowing that his son is somewhere having a great adventure. He says, “We are geo-friends and I watch to see which geocaches he has logged, no matter where he may be.”
Whether your family lives in your house, down the street, or on the other side of the world, sharing your adventures can truly bring you closer together – one geocache at a time. Take it from Roger, “It’s important to share the experience. Whether geocaching together or apart, the stories that we share with each other are priceless.”
1,000 geocachers volunteered to be part of the first ever major study of geocaching and its effect on health. The 14-month Texas A&M study called Geocaching for Exercise and Activity Research (GEAR) launched in January of 2013. The first set of results from the study were presented on November 5 at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Boston.
Each of the participants were given devices to track their movement and a logbook to record their level of geocaching intensity. The first results showed the effects of regular geocaching. Researcher Whitney says, “The GEAR study has identified an association between geocaching and improved health.”
Another researcher, Garney, goes on to say, “GEAR participants who report geocaching once a week or more are more likely to meet national guidelines for physical activity and are more likely to report good or very good health status compared to those who geocache less frequently.” In addition, research showed that geocachers reported fewer days of poor physical and mental health compared to state level data.
These findings are still preliminary, but nevertheless we’re excited about them. The study concludes in early 2014 and final data will be analyzed and presented later that year.
The health benefits of geocaching are often the subject of emails to Geocaching HQ. Have you lost weight geocaching or sharpened your mental skills? Share your stories about improving your health through geocaching in the comments below.