I thought this would be a great time to be writing about this because yesterday was the 20th Anniversary of when it was first played on May 3, 2020 in Beavercreek, Oregon.
Selective Availability, which was used to cause an intentional error on civilian GPS devices, was disabled on May 2, 2020. Dave Ulmer decided to bury a bucket full of some assorted items for people to find using the more accurate GPS signals now available to everyone. Within three days, two people had found it.
The cache was eventually destroyed by a lawn mower, but now there is a plaque marking its original location. It can be found South-East of Portland on S. Fellows Rd. at GPA coordinates 45.291, -122.413333. I didn’t know about this until I was doing my research for this post. It will certainly be something to add to my bucket list to see.
Simply put, geocaching is finding things people have hidden by using GPS coordinates. It is something that appeals to me because I love the idea of exploring and finding things.
It’s also a great way to get outside and get some fresh air. Most of the caches in my area are found by people who are walking their dogs. Some people bring a bag with them and use this as an opportunity to pick up trash they find along the way.
Start by going to https://www.geocaching.com/ to find geocaches near you or near where you want to search. Setting up an account is free and you can use it to save the caches you want to keep track of.
Then you’ll want to download the geocaching app from the website so you can use your phones GPS to zero in on the location of the cache. You can use other means such as a dedicated GPS device, but it’s easier to get started by just using a phone.
When you find the cache, open it up and sign the logbook. Also, look over the logbook to see how many people have found it before you. Many people also sign the logbook online using the geocaching app. This helps anyone looking for a specific cache know if there is a chance it is not there anymore.
There should be other things in the cache with the logbook. You can exchange one item if you want to, but always leave something of equivalent or higher value. This activity is for the fun of finding, not for profit.
When you are done with the cache put it back the way you found it. You want it to be hidden enough to still be fun for people who are looking to not just walk up and see it and be done. But you also want to protect it from non-geocachers who might not know what it is and damage or take it.
I’ve tried finding caches twice before. So far I haven’t been able to find anything.
There was a small park in the middle of a cul-de-sac that was marked as having something. I searched everywhere near the marker but never found it. I even had my brother-in-law help me when we were out on a walk one evening.
There is an area near my house where people commonly walk their dogs. There is a cache on the path I always take and it always takes me to the same spot when I try to find it.
I still haven’t managed to do so but I checked the log online today and it was just found over the weekend by a few people.