Never ignore geocaching essentials

If you want to hone your GPS skills and have fun on the run, you need to know the geocaching essentials. What you must understand is that geocaching is basically a treasure hunt. In the olden days you would have used maps, compasses and telltale signs to find the booty; with geocaching you use a GPS unit.

Someone hides a cache somewhere and puts up the co-ordinates on his or her website. You just download these coordinates, arm yourself with a GPS unit, and set out to find the goodies. Typically the cache is a weatherproof container such as a Tupperware box or an old army ammunition case. There is a logbook inside and plenty of small little odds and ends.

When you set out to geocache it's a tradition to carry a small gift: a pencil, a small toy, a key chain or even a pin. This is because when you do find the cache, you are supposed to sign in the log book and exchange trinkets from the cache with the ones you bought. This way there's always something for the person who comes in after you. The only item you should not leave behind is food because there is no knowing when the next geocacher will find it.

In the tradition of the great treasure hunts of yore, the geocache hider may also plant a few clues to make it easier for you. This is because your handset will take you, at best, within a 10 meter radius of the cache. You still need to know where the cache is in that 10 meter radius.

This is where the hints that the hiders gives you come in handy. You will need to decipher them to be able to understand whether it is in the hole of a tree in the earmarked area or under a flowerbed. So if junior is particularly good at solving riddles, he may be a good person to geocache with.

While downloading the coordinates make sure that they do not lead up to a private property or a hazardous zone. If you are geocaching with your family, or even otherwise, you would not want to be at peril. A good geocache hider usually has a list of instructions, which clearly state the dos and the don'ts. It prepares you for what to expect. But if at the end of it all, a cop does show up, the hider is not liable to bail you out. And finally when you have done enough of finding, you may want to do the hiding. Just remember it is absolutely imperative that you hide the cache in a non-controversial area so that the finders are never inconvenienced. Hide it under a rock at the precipice of the cliff by all means, but make sure that you have given a hint to that effect on your website. And never ever hide a cache in a private property without permission.

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