Geocaching is something that we love to do with Elsa. It’s taken us to some beautiful places in search of hidden treasures!
Released on 23rd April 2016 in Apedale Country Park, Staffordshire – ‘Five Trees’
What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is essentially a treasure hunt. Across the globe, the Geo-community hides, shares and searches out ‘caches’ by using coordinates which are listed on the official Geocaching website with the help of GPS – usually with nothing more than a mobile phone and the Geocaching App! A basic account is free, with more features available for a membership fee.
A ‘cache’ or ‘geocache’ can be as big or small as your imagination will allow, but most are Tupperware type containers hidden underneath tree stumps, rocks, under bridges, behind railings, in doorways… some are even hidden under water! Depending on the coordinates and clues; some are more difficult to find than others and you may have to solve riddles or puzzles.
|Elsa began sniffing out Geocaches while just a pup!|
The chances are that you have already walked past dozens of Geocaches while out and about, particularly if you regularly walk a dog!
Some caches take you to a location where there are particular geological features rather than a physical cache, called an ‘EarthCache’, like this one in Formby.
Below is a link to a video on YouTube by Geocaching that explains more about this great activity:
Inside a Geocache
Within a physical cache there will almost always be a log book. When searching for a cache, most people will have already signed up on the Geocaching website (to get the coordinates) and have a username which they log in this book along with the date. Some caches are only big enough to hold the log itself, so don’t forget to take a pen with you!
You may also find things like Trackables/ Travel Bugs/ Geocoins – these are usually dog tags/ coins with trinkets attached that have a specific ‘mission’. If you pick one of these up, you need to log it on the Geocaching website using the unique code that you find on the item, then help it fulfil it’s mission by moving it to another suitable cache, don’t forget to log when and where you drop it off too!
In April 2016 we released our own Trackable, nicknamed Pablo.
Pablo’s log number is TLHZV30H. (Please note that this is different from the code found on him; that code should be kept private as it’s what is used to log him being picked up/ dropped off in different locations to keep his whereabouts accurate).
Pablo would like to travel to as many dog friendly places across the UK as possible. Click here to see where he is right now!
If you pick him up please share pictures of him and your #geohounds on our facebook page or on Instagram with #pawsacrossbritain
See more about Trackables in this YouTube video from the Geocaching team:
If the cache is big enough you might even find some SWAG; trinkets then you can take and keep in exchange for something else. These are normally novelty trinkets – the kind you might find in Christmas crackers, children’s party bags etc.
Some useful things to take with you when Geocaching are:
- GPS/ Mobile phone with the app installed
- Trinkets to swap for SWAG
- Gloves / hand sanitiser – we have found the odd cache that has been chewed by some sort of critter!
Hiding your own cache
Here is a video by Geocaching on YouTube that gives you an overview of what you need to do if you’d like to hide your own cache:
A final note on Geocaching etiquette by Geocaching, on YouTube:
We have great fun Geocaching with Elsa. It’s a perfect activity to enjoy when you are out and about with your dog… whether you are in the countryside, on the beach or exploring a new city – there are Geocaches hidden everywhere!
Walking a dog also provides an ideal cover as you look less suspicious to ‘muggles’ that might wonder what you are up to…
We hope to inspire others to discover this amazing activity with your own Geohounds, but please remember to stay safe and aware of your surroundings at all times. Good luck and have fun!