I’ve had the geocaching bug since January of ’09 when I first became a member of Geocaching.com. For those of you not familiar with the term it’s a form of modern day treasure hunting. It can bring you back to those childhood days, when you searched the woods with a handmade treasure map clutched tightly in your hand.
Today’s high tech cell phones and GPS navigation devices helped create this simpler version of treasure hunting. Anyone can search for or hid a geocache. The coordinates of the different caches are posted on an online site, just punch them into your device, and start your search!
The passion felt around the world started in May of 2000 just after the US government stopped scrambling GPS signals and opened it up for civilians to enjoy. Only two days later Dave Ulmer in Portland, Oregon hid the very first geocache and posted the coordinates for anyone to find. It contained a few knickknacks and a log book for whom ever finds it to sign.
Only a month later the term “Geocaching” was conceived and the treasures were hidden all over the world. In September, Geocaching.com was set up. About a year later in March of 2001 the first geocaching event took place.
If Geocaching has reached your inner child, get out there, and start hunting! Remember to always bring some little knickknacks to trade with the ones you find in the cache and a pen.
Some terms you may want to be familiar with if you decided to join the geocaching community are listed below.
BYOP – (Bring your own pencil [or pen]) sometimes the cache is very small and can only hold a small sheet of paper. Bring a pen, to ensure you get to write your name and show others you were there.
CITO – Cache In Trash Out. Encourages cachers to help keep the environment clean when they go caching.
EarthCache – A different type of cache that helps promote the location’s geological, historical, or scientific significance. See http://www.earthcache.org/ for more info.
Micro – A very small cache that contains paper and sometimes a pencil. (ie film canister, magnetic key container, or a waterproof match container.
Muggles – A Harry Potter term, used in geocaching to identify an area that has many non-cachers. In these areas, ensure you grab and replace the cache without revealing the location to muggles.
TFTC- Thanks For The Cache
TNLN – Took Nothing, Left Nothing.
Travel Bug – An item that travels between different caches. They have track-able numbers on them, so you can follow their movement online.
So come out and explore your local nature parks, city streets, and other public areas where Geocaches have been hidden!
Sources http://www.geocaching.com/about/glossary.aspx , http://www.austinexplorer.com/ShowArticle.aspx?ArticleID=1005 , http://geocaching.gpsgames.org/history/
Photos source http://www.factsfacts.com/geocaching/ThumbIndex.htm