Adults are often shy to admit it: since childhood days their enthusiasm for the old-fashioned treasure hunt has not subsided a shred. Small wonder that organisers of incentives and programmes fringing conventions and events still implement city rallyes of all shapes and sizes in undiminished frequency when it comes to familiarise participants with a destination. They can be certain of an equally relentless zeal displayed by their grown-up group members. Just as excited as ever to successfully be hewing their path through an unknown jungle – be it sylvicultural or urban, they give their utmost in the hopes of snatching away the much-desired reward or prize from able contesters. Mobile GPS systems sometimes alleviate coping with a task seemingly unconquerable, whereby clandestine users are a disgrace to any team! The classical MICE treasure hunt requires minute preparation to really serve its purpose of both, information and entertainment. But there is a versatile, reliably rolling bandwagon ready for parties to jump on to, approved GPS as an auxiliary included: Geocaching.
There are trees to be climbed and holes to be dug, loose cobble-stones to be lifted or objects to be swapped. Even some diving may be required to retrieve whatever trove has been hidden by whomever at the bottom of a river, lake or the sea. Unexpected twists and turns, long distances, vexed puzzles, baffling mysteries or the perplexing complexity of a game without borders generate an ever-growing community of Geocachers worldwide, some of whom are even self-proclaimed addicts.
What exactly is Geocaching (pronounced geocashing)?
Good question! Whereas most youngsters are probably acquainted not only with the term, but have long been practicing the activity ifself, here’s the official explanation for less technology-prone traditionalists:
„The word refers to GEO for geography, and to CACHING, the process of hiding a cache. A cache in computer terms usually refers to information stored in memory to make it faster to retrieve, but the term is also used in hiking/camping as a hiding place for concealing and preserving provisions.
Geocaching is the real-world outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. It is happening right now, all around you.
There are 2,305,929 active geocaches and over 6 million geocachers worldwide“.
Since Geocaching is an existing system hatched – and shared – by inventive minds, one has to enrol first to gain access to their internet platform, without which the game cannot be played.
The simplest level requires these eight steps:
1. Register on http://www.geocaching.com for a free basic membership.
2. Visit the „Hide & Seek a Cache“ page.
3. Enter your postal code and click „search“.
4. Choose any geocache from the list and click on its name.
5. Enter the coordinates of the geocache into your GPS device.
6. Use your GPS device to assist you in finding the hidden geocache.
7. Sign the logbook and return the geocache to is original location.
8. Share your geocaching stories and photos online.
The site explains participants how to proceed in exact detail.
Of course, there are many other and more advanced levels. Just continue clicking.
What are the rules?
1. If something is taken from the geocache, an object of equal or greater value has to be left in it.
2. Write about your find in the cache logbook.
3. Log your experience at www.geocaching.com
Perhaps it is helpful to take a look at the glossary, too. Then you’ll soon be in the know,
why you should definitely BYOP, better CITO, not hang your head when DNF occurs, learn that muggles are harmless, what NAD27, SWAG, TFTC, TFTH, TNLN or TOTT stands for and what trackables are.
And that reaching Ground Zero (GZ) is a reason to celebrate.
Copyright header photo: Christina Feyerke