This is a guest post by Julia Frey, author of Julia’s Mexico City. Despite the website’s name, Julia is a Los Angeles Mom. Her daughter Harper helped her try geocaching.
In these crazy times, do the walls of your house feel like they are closing in? Do you wish your kids would get more outdoor time? Do you like treasure hunts?
Try Geocaching! It’s a great way to go outdoors with a specific purpose that the whole family can do, while being socially distanced and safe.
What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is a community of people all around the world who hide a cache somewhere and log it with GPS coordinates on the Geocaching app. You download the app, follow the navigation, then read the clues to find the caches. Once found, you log your find on the app as well as on a slip of paper in the cache itself.
What is in the Caches?
The caches themselves range from a tiny tube with just a log sheet, to a small box with coins and tiny trinkets, to a medium size food storage box with bigger items for trading.
Caches have varying degrees of difficulty and terrain (and are tagged as such) and there are hints you can access as well as comments from previous geocachers to help if you can’t find it.
Often the cache description will mention a nearby historical site or a bit of neighborhood trivia.
A family friend had turned us on to this a few years ago when my daughter was five. She didn’t really get it then, but now, at nine, she’s INTO it! Especially the trinket trading part.
There are about 15 caches within walking and biking distance of our house in West LA and over 4500 geocaches in greater Los Angeles! If you already like to go for hikes in the hills or walks on the beach, you’ll be amazed how many geocaches you might find at those places.
Get Started Geocaching in Los Angeles with our List of Spots.
Be a Good Geochacher
As a geocacher, there are certain community rules to follow:
- Leave the caches as you found them
- Only trade equal value items
- Respect nature and the area where you find caches, and
- Don’t let the muggles catch you!
You can read more about it all on Geocaching.com. (There are other geocaching apps and sites; this is the one we use.)
Hot Tips for Geocaching
–We recommend bringing a geo-kit with you that includes a pen, trinkets or coins to trade and extra log sheets in case of full or missing logs.
–You can download the geocaching app and create a free account. If you love it, you can get a premium account for $30/year to access many more caches.
Geocaching Treasure Hunt
The “treasure” in these treasure hunts is really the joy of finding the cache itself. Having it be a team effort makes it even more fun. As you start to rack up your finds, you’ll get to know the lingo and the creativity of the way people hide the caches.
We’ve found caches under rocks, in trees, dangling from strings, and one wedged in a telephone pole! The navigation puts you within 15’ of the cache, the rest is up to you! Happy hunting!