Seattle is home to a lot of really great companies. We have Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Expedia, and the list goes on and on. (We have a theory about techies and temperate climates, but we can get into that another time.) Everyone knows about the big hitters, but we hold a smaller Seattle company as our personal favorite: Geocaching.
Geocaching is company that combines the outdoors with technology to get people exploring. The general gist is that ordinary people hide "caches" anywhere and everywhere around the world. These are registered on the Geocache app (free to download, but if you want premium access it will cost you $29.99/yr) and people can go find them. It's like a world-wide treasure hunt. There are millions of geocaches hidden around the globe and lucky for us the PNW is somewhat of a hotspot for geocaching.
Here is your Geocache 101 to get you started.
What you need to bring with you to geocache.
- A pen
- Your smartphone
- Comfortable walking shoes
- A small knick-nack to leave behind (keychain, toy car, magnet, etc)
- An inquisitive mind
Step 1. Download the geocache app from the app store and create an account. Note: If you don't have a smart phone, no worries you can use the search function on the website, it just is a little more handy to have the information at your fingertips while you explore.
Step 2. If you are just trying it out, you might want to stick with the free version for now. This means when you open the app only certain caches will be unlocked to show details. These are indicated by a black dot. Click around and find one a cache you think sounds fun or is close by!
Step 3. Once you have selected a cache to hunt down, head out! One of the things we love so much about geocaching is it gets us outside and exploring our city and nature. Use the dot on the map to make your way to the location of the cache. The GPS is usually fairly accurate and will get you close to the cache.
Step 4. When you arrive at the dot on the map start searching. Look for clues in the name of the cache (ex: a cache named I-Spy might be hidden in something shaped like the letter "I") Caches can be anything, tupperware containers, a coffee tin, an old Altoids container, etc. If you get stuck and are struggling to find the cache there is usually a "hint" you can read on the app to help you out.
Step 5. You found your first cache! Now what? The container will have a piece of paper in it, this is the log. You should sign your name and date on the paper. The log is a fun way to see the reach of geocaching. Sometimes people from countries across the world have been to the exact same spot as you! Depending on the size of the cache there might also be small tokens inside from past geocachers. If you brought something along you can trade it out with something of equal or lesser value in the cache.
Step 6. Put the cache back the way you found it. You can leave a comment on the app detailing your experience, but don't leave any clues or indicators of where the cache is hidden. The app also allows you to indicate which caches you have found. Check the box and it will start a log of your conquests!
Step 7. Head to the next adventure!! Isn't this fun?