When I was a child, my friends and I loved going on scavenger hunts, especially nature scavenger hunts! It kept us engaged and outdoors. Today, many kids don’t seem too interested in the thrill of the hunt. I recently discovered the outdoor sport of geocaching. The thought of this family-friendly activity took me back to my scavenger hunts days but added the twist of technology. This seems like a great way to get kids out of the house and moving!
So what is geocaching? Geocaching is an outdoor sporting activity using a GPS or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “caches.” Caches are usually small containers with a logbook and pen/pencil in them. Sometimes there are items for trading in a cache like a toy or trinket. There are only a few rules. If you take something from a cache, leave something of equal or greater value. Write about your find in the logbook and log your experience on www.geocaching.com. Be sure to share your geocaching stories and photos online. I started exploring the options for geocaching in Cody/Yellowstone Country and I was shocked! I found 1684 geocaches for Cody alone! Powell has 115 caches and Meeteetse has 63. Yellowstone has 52. You can do a lot of geocaching in Cody/Yellowstone Country!
To get started, register for a free account on www.geocaching.com or www.opencaching.com to find caches in Cody/Yellowstone Country. Put in a town or zip code and all the caches will appear. Beginner listings are highlighted in green. Each listing will tell you the size of the cache, the difficulty from one to five stars and the terrain difficulty from one to five stars. Some listings may provide attributes which tell a little more about what to expect at a cache location. This is helpful in knowing conditions, equipment needed and hazards.
Once you have chosen a cache to locate, enter the coordinates on your GPS and set out on your excursion. In researching geocaching, I found that this is very popular with a lot of travelers. Many families incorporate geocaching in their travel stops. Some say it is a great opportunity to get the kids out of the car and stretch their legs and minds. It is also a great way to learn about the history of an area since many caches have a specific geographical theme. It is also a wonderful way to teach the family how to use a GPS and to pay attention to your surroundings. Be sure you are prepared for the elements and have drinking water when geocaching.
Not all geocaches are the same. A traditional cache is as I described above with a container and logbook. Multi-caches involve two or more locations. The first location provides tips to finding the final geocache. Mystery or puzzle caches have complicated puzzles that you must solve to determine the coordinates of the cache. An event cache is when a group organizes a day of geocaching that are specific to an area and day. This allows geocachers to get together, share experiences and explorations.
When you are traveling in and around Cody/Yellowstone Country, make it a va”cach”en and try geocaching. Whether you are a traveler to the area looking for a bit more adventure or a local that wants to explore your “backyard,” geocaching is a great way to know the area better!
Until next time, I’ll be lovin’ life and exploring Cody/Yellowstone Country,