As geocachers ourselves we understand that geocaching is an ideal activity for campers of all ages and we welcome geocachers to Peak Gateway.
What is Geocaching and who are Geocachers?
Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants (Geocachers) use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and "treasure," usually toys or trinkets of little value.
Currently over 823,000 geocaches are registered on various websites devoted to the pastime. Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica.
Geocaching is a great activity that will get you out into the big outdoors. It's an ideal way of getting the kids away from the playstation or xBox and as it involves walking and finding caches it is a healthy activity that isvery cost effective. If you have a GPS enabled device such as a handheld GPSr, PDA or GPS enabled mobile phone it's free to partipate in this great activity.
The best thing about it is you will be taken to places of interest and beauty that are on your doorstep that you never even knew existed.
Geocaching is similar to the 150-year-old letterboxing, which uses references to landmarks and clues embedded in stories. However, geocaching was imagined shortly after the removal of Selective Availability from GPS on May 1, 2000 because the improved accuracy of the system allowed for a small container to be specifically placed and located. The first documented placement of a GPS-located cache took place on May 3, 2000, by Dave Ulmer of Beavercreek, Oregon. The location was posted on the Usenet newsgroup sci.geo.satellite-nav as 45°17.460 N 122°24.800 W / 45.291°N 122.413333°W / 45.291; -122.413333. By May 6, 2000, it had been found twice and logged once (by Mike Teague of Vancouver, Washington). According to Dave Ulmer's message, the original stash was a black plastic bucket buried most of the way in the ground and contained software, videos, books, food, money, and a slingshot.
Origin of the name
The activity was originally referred to as GPS stash hunt or gpsstashing. This was changed after a discussion in the gpsstash discussion group at eGroups (now Yahoo!). On May 30, 2000, Matt Stum suggested that "stash" could have negative connotations, and suggested instead "geocaching."
For the traditional geocache, a geocacher will place a waterproof container, containing a log book (with pen or pencil) and trinkets or some sort of treasures, then note the cache's coordinates. These coordinates, along with other details of the location, are posted on a website. Other geocachers obtain the coordinates from the Internet and seek out the cache using their GPS handheld receivers. The finding geocachers record their exploits in the logbook and online. Geocachers are free to take objects from the cache in exchange for leaving something of similar or higher value, so there is treasure for the next person to find.
Typical cache treasures are not high in monetary value but may hold personal value to the finder. Aside from the logbook, common cache contents are unusual coins or currency, small toys, ornamental buttons, CDs, or books. Also common are objects that are moved from cache to cache, such as Travel Bugs or Geocoins, whose travels may be logged and followed online. Cachers who initially place a Travel Bug or Geocoin often assign specific goals for their trackable items. One such goal could be to pass it westward across the continent. Occasionally, higher value items are included in geocaches, normally reserved for the first to find, or "FTF", or in locations which are harder to reach.
Geocache container sizes range from film canisters often called "microcaches," too small to hold anything more than a tiny paper log, to five-gallon buckets or even larger containers.
If a geocache has been vandalized or stolen, it is said to have been "muggled" or "plundered." The former term plays off the fact that those not familiar with geocaching are called "geo-muggles" or just muggles, a term popularised by the Harry Potter series of books. If a cacher discovers that a cache has been muggled, it can be logged as needing maintenance, which sends an e-mail to the cache owner so it can be repaired, replaced, or archived (deactivated).
Geocaches vary in size, difficulty, and location. Simple caches are often called "drive-bys," "park 'n grabs" ("PNGs"), or "cache and dash." Geocaches may also be complex, involving lengthy searches or significant travel. Examples include staged multi-caches; underwater caches, caches located 50 feet (15 m) up a tree, caches found only after long offroad drives, caches on high mountain peaks, caches located in challenging environments (such as Antarctica or north of the Arctic Circle), and magnetic caches attached to metal structures and/or objects. Different geocaching websites list different variations per their own policies (e.g. Geocaching.com does not list new Webcam, Virtual, Locationless, or Moving geocaches).
Variations of geocaches include:
- Traditional: The basic cache type, a traditional cache must include a log book of some sort. It may or may not include trade or trackable items. A traditional cache is distinguished from other cache variations in that the geocache is found at the coordinates given and involves only one stage.
- Multi-cache: This variation consists of multiple discoveries of one or more intermediate points containing the coordinates for the next stage; the final stage contains the log book and trade items.
- Offset: This cache is similar to the multi-cache except that the initial coordinates are for a location containing information that encodes the final cache coordinates. An example would be to direct the finder to a plaque where the digits of a date on the plaque correspond to coordinates of the final cache.
- Night Cache: These multi-stage caches are designed to be found at night and generally involve following a series of reflectors with a flashlight to the final cache location.
- Mystery/puzzle: This cache requires one to discover information or solve a puzzle to find the cache. Some mystery caches provide a false set of coordinates with a puzzle that must be solved to determine the final cache location. In other cases, the given location is accurate, but the name of the location or other features are themselves a puzzle leading to the final cache. Alternatively, additional information is necessary to complete the find, such as a padlock combination to access the cache.
- Letterbox Hybrid: A letterbox hybrid cache is a combination of a geocache and a letterbox in the same container. A letterbox has a rubber stamp and a logbook instead of tradable items. Letterboxers carry their own stamp with them, to stamp the letterbox's log book and inversely stamp their personal log book with the letterbox stamp. The hybrid cache contains the important materials for this and may or may not include trade items. Whether the letterbox hybrid contains trade items is up to the owner.
- Locationless/Reverse: This variation is similar to a scavenger hunt. A description is given for something to find, such as a one-room schoolhouse, and the finder locates an example of this object. The finder records the location using their GPS hand-held receiver and often takes a picture at the location showing the named object and his or her GPS receiver. Typically others are not allowed to log that same location as a find.
- Moving/Traveling: Similar to a traditional geocache, this variation is found at a listed set of coordinates. The finder uses the log book, trades trinkets, and then hides the cache in a different location. By updating this new location on the listing, the finder essentially becomes the hider, and the next finder continues the cycle.
- Virtual: Caches of this nature are coordinates for a location that does not contain the traditional box, log book, or trade items. Instead, the location contains some other described object. Validation for finding a virtual cache generally requires you to email the cache hider with information such as a date or a name on a plaque, or to post a picture of yourself at the site with GPS receiver in hand.
- Earthcache: A type of virtual-cache which is maintained by the Geological Society of America. The cacher usually has to perform a task which teaches him/her an educational lesson about the earth science of the cache area.
- Webcam: Similar to a virtual cache; there is no container, log book, or trade items for this cache type. Instead, the coordinates are for a location with a public webcam. Instead of signing a log book, the finder is often required to capture their image from the webcam for verification of the find.
- Event Cache: This is a gathering organized and attended by geocachers. Physical caches placed at events are often active only for the event date.
- Cache-In Trash-Out (CITO) Events: This variation on event caching is a coordinated activity of trash pickup and other maintenance to improve the environment.
- Mega Event: An event that is attended by over 500 people. Mega Events are typically annual events, usually attracting geocachers from all over the world.
- Wherigo cache: A Wherigo cache is similar to a multi-stage cache hunt that uses a Wherigo cartridge to guide the player. The player plays the cartridge and finds a physical cache sometime during cartridge play, usually at the end. Not all Wherigo cartridges incorporate geocaches into game play. Wherigo caches are unique to the geocaching.com website.
Want more information?
Check out the UKgeocachers website for more information on this excellent activity, they are based on the campsite:
Check out the home of geocaching on the web:
Text originally from - wikipedia.org, recreated here under the GNU Free Documentation License