Geocaching vs Treasure Trails
“Don’t knock it until you try it” is a good motto, so recently we went out to try out Geocaching. Below is our “who, what, when, where, how and why” round up!
Anyone! Just my opinion, but families with children will probably get more from it than single adults or couples. Without children in tow, finding the first one or two can be fun, but it quickly gets dull as the contents of the caches themselves are for juveniles. And the novelty of walking head down staring at the phone/GPS soon wears off. But, I have no doubt that some people get the bug!
According to their website, “Geocaching is the real-world treasure hunt that's happening right now, all around you. There are 2,391,994 active geocaches and over 6 million geocachers worldwide”. Phew, that is some claim to fame.
Anytime! Containers are waterproof although your phone may not be! And stumbling around in a park in the dark probably isn’t many people’s idea of fun, but you can if you want to!
This is an interesting point as some critics of geocaching consider it littering. The placement of geocaches can be a problem if they are hidden in places where the act of searching can make a finder look suspicious (e.g. near schools, children's playgrounds, banks, or in residential areas), or where the container placement could be mistaken for a drug stash or a bomb (especially in urban settings, under bridges, or near banks and embassies). As well as concerns about littering and bomb threats, some geocachers hide their caches in inappropriate locations such as electrical boxes and light pole covers. There is one close to us stuffed into the top of a sign post on the side of a major A road and as such is not a suitable place for young children to be searching, yet it had the usual assortment of kiddies’ treasures in it. And like clues on Treasure Trails, the caches sometimes go missing although at least Treasure Trails don’t suffer the problem of dislodging by animals!
We signed in to the geocaching website as a basic member and linked the account to a facebook account. We prefer to keep different accounts separate ever mindful of hackers and there is that option, but we were keen to get going and didn’t want to have to create yet another password for a site we may never return to! There is a button that suggests an upgrade to premium, but in the early stages of a new hobby it seemed unnecessary. Putting our postcode into the website to find the nearest caches, lots came up within a short distance away – we live close to woodland and a public park and there appeared to be several there. Next step, download the app and then head off to find our first cache!
It was fun following the prompts and alerts on the phone but as we had our heads down watching the phone we were conscious that we were missing out on seeing the great scenery, listening to the birds and enjoying being outside in the fresh air. There was a load of stinging nettles to negotiate too, but there are lots of urban caches where stingers aren’t a problem!
Fresh air and fun with the family! And, probably the best thing about geocaching is there is no further cost necessary after you’ve purchased the phone app or a GPS.
According to Wikipedia, Geocaching shares many aspects with benchmarking, trigpointing, orienteering, treasure hunting, letterboxing and waymarking. We’d add metal detecting to the list and may try one or two of these out soon!
Of course we are biased and much prefer Treasure Trails to geocaching, but there is no doubt there is room in people’s lives for both! Recently a customer said “We love doing both pastimes and combining them (although often difficult) is a bonus. It’s on those rare occasions when doing a Treasure Trail and we stop for a drink on a bench somewhere, that we suddenly pull out the phone and see if there’s a cache nearby via the app and find we’re sitting on a small container that makes it all the more enjoyable!”
Anyone else do both? We’d love to hear your experiences through our Facebook page. Look for the Geocaching Logo.