Living in the heart of the Black Hills with my husband and two children, ages 3 and 6, we are always looking for free, fun things to do together as a family. We first heard of geocaching from our neighbors who regularly take their kids out to enjoy the activity. After seeing a few pictures of their adventures, I quickly downloaded a geocaching app on my phone (there are several free apps available, and you can even pay for detailed hints) and then set off to begin our own geocaching adventure.
Geocaching is essentially a real life treasure hunt for all ages to enjoy. The game is played using a GPS device to track treasures. Geocaches are hidden all over the world at specific GPS coordinates. Geocaching through the Black Hills is extra fun due to the hills, canyons, waterfalls, trails, and so much more! The treasure (geocache) you find is usually in a container, which ranges in size from extra small to large. Before heading out, I suggest downloading an app, providing the prompted info, and getting familiar with how it works.
Once you choose the geocache you would like to find, simply click on it and then use your GPS to navigate to the coordinates. Most apps will tell you the terrain difficulty and possibly some hints, as well as other geocaching friends’ experiences and/or photos of them finding the geocache.
After you find a geocache, typically it will include a log where you can write down your name and date. You can also include each specific geocache experience on the app. You can even upload photos of your experience for your geocache friends to use. Large geocaches have collectible items or small trinkets inside them. The rule is, if you take something, you must replace it with your own trinket for the next person. My daughter has recently been leaving “Shopkin” toys. The most common treasure we have found are collectible coins.
It’s now been almost two years since we start geocaching and we cannot wait to continue the fun this spring and summer! The simple joy leading up to finding each treasure is beyond exciting, and it’s even more thrilling to see what’s inside the container. We never like to give up on our hunt, so sometimes we may be searching in the same 10-foot radius for half an hour or more.
If you love the traditional type of geocaching explained in this blog, you are probably ready to look in the different types of caches: puzzle caches, multi-caches, earth caches, letterbox hybrids, event caches, and more. Happy caching!