How to Do Geocaching Without Dying in The Woods

By Madelaine

After lying in bed watching all of Schitt’s Creek for too long, my mom decided we needed some bonding time and downloaded a free Geocaching App on her phone. Geocaching® allowed for a nice walk into nature as I wandered around with a phone held out trying to locate a hidden treasure.

For those of you that don’t know, Geocaching has nothing to do with rocks, as I thought at first. No, it gives you a compass, a navigation tool that tells you if you’re walking in the right direction, and a mileage meter at the top that will tell you how many miles you have left, or, if you’re close, feet you are from the hidden spot. The goal is to locate a box of different sorts that is filled with random things that people have left behind.

Anyone can sign up for a tracker and a box (or a plastic pretzel container like the one I found) and hide it where they want to. The individual who owns the box can put into an app either a helpful clue, or an unhelpful one. I ended up going to a local park that was mostly empty and tried to locate two different Geocaching locations.

Looking at the App closer on the ride over to the park, I did figure out that people leave things in the box and if you take something out that it’s best practice to put something of your own in. Not knowing at the time what would be in the box, I dug through my mom’s purse and pulled out two unused pencils to put in as a sad prize.

The park we went to had a three mile trail that also linked up to a mile long frisbee golf course. Thankfully, I have walked the park’s many paths multiple times, so it was easier for me to know where to go for the first box we were trying to locate. The owner of the box had given a nice hint that it was past a bridge and inside a hole of a tree. After locating the bridge and the App’s navigation saying we were still 34 feet from the location, my mom and I walked through the woods to find it. Thankfully, it wasn’t too far from the path and it was in a fallen log not a tree. The pretzel container had a log inside so you could write when you found it and some very sad looking toys and candy that I would never eat. Placing a pencil in the box and filling out the log, I looked for another nearby geocaching location.

The next one was only .3 miles away, so my mom and I started walking. I ended up taking the wrong path and extending our walk by twenty minutes. Then we started weaving through the frisbee golf course. I kept repeating that “It’s just up ahead” when my mom would ask if we were close every minute until she became annoyed.

The hint for this location was “Look for a fallen tree and a stack of unnatural wood.” Well the whole forest was just one fallen tree after another, and the unnatural stack of wood was bark that was placed overtop of the plastic box. The box was very off the trail by a good thirty feet. And the box wasn’t sealed nicely so the log inside was damp and unsingable. It was the fun  of the journey though and the fact that I didn’t kill us while looking for the treasure that really made the trek, not the underwhelming prizes in both the treasure boxes.

I would a hundred percent suggest doing Geocaching and going to a small park, or empty downtowns and looking for them. You can even drive around to find them for the navigation works in moving cars. You can also bike around if you wish too. Make the treasure hunt your own.

Bring whatever treasure you want to leave behind. I do suggest bringing something that won’t expire or doesn’t mind getting wet, just in case. Dress up as Pirates or adventurers and have fun with it. Make sure to bring a water bottle though or even a snack for you could get lost as I did and take extra time to find the spot. Also make sure to have a full charge on your phone and extra data for it does take both. My mom was on thirty percent when we started and it lasted for the hour we were out there, with twenty percent battery left.

It was a great bonding experience with my mom. And it got us outside into nature with a relaxing, but also exciting walk. The excitement behind finding hidden treasure is something I didn’t know I needed until I tried Geocaching.

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