Geocaching: Outdoor High-Tech Family Fun!




Geocaching is a great new recreational outdoor activity. It's kind of like a futuristic treasure hunt, currently being played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with a GPS (Global Positioning System) device. 



A geocacher will place or hide a container with a "treasure" (also known as a "geocache") in a spot and mark the position with their GPS receivers. Geocaches are concealed at various points along trails or other locations. The coordinates of the container's position are then posted on internet sites - the most popular site being www.geocaching.com. Other geocachers enter the container's coordinates into their own GPS receivers and seek the container. When found, they sign the logbook, and place the container back with a new item (find one - leave one!) into its original hiding spot and share their experience and photos online. Anyone with a GPS unit can try to locate the geocaches. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups!



About the Geocache

A typical geocache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and "treasure," usually toys or trinkets of little value. These can be a wide variety of items from kids' toys to jewellery, and gift certificates. The possibilities are endless! Popular containers for geocaches are Rubbermaid and Tupperware containers, ice cream containers, peanut butter or other glass jars. It's important that containers are clean, water-tight, weatherproof, and secure so that animals looking for a meal will not get into them. Since geocaching is often a family activity, it is recommended that safe items be used (no illegal or dangerous materials, no food, scented or perishable items, etc.). 



Where are they Hidden?


Geocaches are mainly hidden on public recreational lands. Geocaches are never buried and are usually placed in natural crevices created by rocks, stumps and trees. Many are camouflaged to look like branches, squirrel and bird nests or birdhouses. Look for these obvious hiding spots as it is important that you not disturb the area at all while searching.



Benefits of Geocaching


Geocaching gets families out into nature! In geocaching, there are rules and protocols to follow; one of which is to protect the environment. Geocachers are encouraged to pick up litter they spot as they walk on trails. They should also report problems on trails such as fallen trees, dangerous debris and rocks, broken boardwalks, etc. It's a great activity to introduce children to nature and teaches them to respect the environment. Kids will love to hike especially when there is a "prize" at the end! 



Today, well over 800,000 geocaches are registered on various websites devoted to this hobby. Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents!



So find out what all the hype is about and introduce your family to geocaching. It's a great way to enjoy the fresh air, wilderness, and outdoors - all year long! 



Geocaching is a fairly sophisticated activity and there are many rules to follow so you'll need to do your research ahead of time!



RESOURCES



Geocaching.com - The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site

Website: www.geocaching.com

Ontario Geocaching Association

Developed to provide additional support for the Geocachers of Ontario and other provinces and states. Provides an entertaining outlet for geocachers to announce events and other social gatherings. 

Website: www.ontgeocaching.com


CentralOntarioGeocachers.com 

Your source for Geocaching information in Central Ontario.

Website: www.centralontariogeocachers.com


Parks Canada Geocaching

Parks Canada welcomes geocachers: come explore with us!

Website: www.pc.gc.ca


How GPS Receivers Work

Website: http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/travel/gps.htm


EarthCache.com

EarthCache is a great way to learn more about our wonderful world. It also teaches you and your family important skills such as navigation and map reading.

Website: www.earthcache.org

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