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What is Geocaching?
Before you learn how to geocache, you will want to learn exactly what it is. To sum it up, geocaching is hunting for treasure with a high-tech edge. Don't let the high-tech aspect intimidate you, though. Thanks to modern technology, GPS units and even mobile devices will perform much of the work for you. All that you need to do is follow the directions, put forth the physical effort and pay attention to any clues provided.
Geocaches, which are merely simple containers holding inexpensive trinkets and paper logs, are hidden by other geocachers just like you. Once a cache is hidden, the person who created it enters the coordinates on a geocaching website along with any pertinent details, such as special tools you will require to access the cache or tips to help you find a particularly challenging one.
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What Do I Need to Get Started?
Chances are good that you already have much of what you will need to begin geocaching. First and foremost, you will require a GPS device. The best type of GPS for geocaching is a hand-held unit with features that make it easy to load cache coordinates into it as well as easy to read maps. You can find GPS devices to fit any budget and you can often rent them as well. Another option is using your mobile device. There are many iPhone and Android apps specifically for geocaching.
In addition to a GPS unit, you will need the basic necessities required for hiking, such as water, snacks, comfortable shoes, a first aid kit, a flashlight and sunglasses. You should also carry a pen with which to write your name on the paper logs included in many caches. Many caches contain a small bauble of some sort in the spirit of the treasure hunt theme, so you should bring a trinket to leave behind in case there is geocaching swag in the cache container for you to take.
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Where Do I Find a Geocache?
Now that you know the basics of how to geocache, you need to pick out a cache to track down. There are many geocaching sites that provide coordinates and details for geocaches hidden in your area, but the premier website to check out is Geocaching.com. Once you register for a basic membership, which is free of charge, head to their Hide & Seek page to enter your zip code and retrieve a list of geocaches near you. When you click on the cache of your choice, you will see the coordinates and any other pertinent information, if applicable. Enter those coordinates into your GPS device and head off to find your very first geocache.
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Consider choosing a cache that is not labeled as challenging or difficult for your first geocaching expedition. This will give you the chance to learn how to geocache without added pressure. In addition, take your physical condition into account when deciding on a cache to hunt. If you are not used to climbing steep terrain, for example, avoid a geocache that is at the top of a hill. Finally and perhaps most important, enjoy yourself!