Learn to Geocache!
Find stashed treasure wherever you are anywhere in the world with the use of a handheld GPS device! There are many hidden treasure sites known as “geocaches” (pronounced “gee-oh-cashes”, or just “cashes” for short) along Manuels River which you can find by entering or uploading the coordinates of a cache into your GPS and following the directions. For info about our many geocaches and how to download them, see Geocaching at Manuels River.
A GPS unit is a small device about the size of a cell phone that communicates with satellites in space. The satellites find your position on Earth and send it to your GPS unit in the form of coordinates, which are numbers displayed on your GPS screen. These coordinates and any other coordinates (such as those showing the location of a cache) can be entered in and displayed on a map on the GPS screen so you can see where on the map you and the cache are. When you know the coordinates of a geocache, which are either given to you by a Manuels River experience interpreter or are coordinates you find in your spare time on websites such as www.geocaching.com, you will be able to enter or upload them into your GPS and see on a map where the cache is hidden. You can then go to the site where the cache is located and your GPS will tell you when you are there. Now the treasure hunt starts! The GPS will tell you when you are at the location of treasure but you will have to use your eyes to find it because it may be hidden under a tree or behind a rock, even hanging from a branch, or it could be in the open for all to see depending on the difficulty of the treasure hunt.
Caches come in many sizes from large containers to tiny capsules known as microcaches, and they can come in many different camouflaging colours too. Often you will get extra clues with your coordinates telling you where to look when you arrive at the location and a description of the type of cache it is. When you find a geocache, it may contain a log book. Be sure to sign it so the owner of the cache can track to see how many people have found their stash. You are also welcome to take items or treasure from a geocache, however you must remember to not loot the cache. You must replace the item you decide to take with another item of equal or greater value unless instructed otherwise by the owner of the geocache, such as special ones hidden by Manuels River staff for birthday parties! Some caches also contain special trackable items such as Travel Bugs and Geocoins. Both items are placed in a geocache in hopes it will be picked up and placed in another geocache in another location possibly in another part of the world! Travel Bugs and Geocoins are logged online, and when they are moved the new location is presented online so their travels can be traced. Some have special instructions about where they can be placed so be sure to read the notes carefully.
Be In The Know!
There are a few simple game rules associated with geocaching that you must remember:
A. Keep a secret. Never reveal the actual location to others when you have found a hidden cache, this will spoil the fun of others who want to find this stash.
B. Leave the cache as you found it in the same hiding place and make sure the lid is on tight.
C. Sign the log book inside the geocache if there is one. You may have to bring your own pen or pencil in case there isn’t one inside the cache. You can also log your find online at www.geocaching.com
D. Replace any items you decide to take from the geocache with another item of equal or greater value.
E. Pack it in Pack it out. Or in this case, “Cache in Trash Out”. If you go geocaching, pick up any litter you may come across and don’t leave any litter behind.
F. Be safe! Don’t attempt to go geocaching in an area that is too difficult for you get to. Additionally, be careful to not fall or injure yourself if you do find a cache that is positioned in a dangerous location. Always watch the weather and make sure you wear appropriate clothing and footwear depending on where you are going. Make sure to bring water, food, and a buddy if your geocaching adventure is an all day excursion.
Even More Fun! Hiding Your Own Geocaches
If you thought finding geocaches placed by others was fun, another exciting element to the game is hiding your own geocaches so that others can find them too! Then you can keep track of each visit to your cache online. Making and hiding geocaches is easy, you just have to consider the purpose of your hiding place. Do you want to make it quick and easy? Long and challenging? A mix of the two? Do you want geocachers to see a special place where the cache is hidden, such as a remote view? Or do you cleverly want to place it under someone’s nose and surprise them with a geocache in a common place you never thought a cache was hidden before? Perhaps you want your cache to tell a story, or maybe you want to place it to raise awareness of something, such as a trail on a beautiful river… Whatever the reason, once you have figured out the purpose, you then need to decide on what type of cache you will hide, and of what to put in it for others to find and trade. Will it be a plastic container with camouflage tape? Or a brightly coloured tape? Or another type of unique marking? Or even no marking at all? Will you fill your cache with trinkets for general trade, or will you just have a log book? Maybe you will include a Travel Bug to make it more interesting. The size of your cache should reflect its placement as well. People may not want to trek for hours off the trail in the woods with a map and compass only to tediously search for a tiny capsule-sized microcache with only a piece of paper and no pencil in it. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to hide a large container full of treasure in a highly visible place either. If the size of the cache serves the purpose it was intended for geocachers will have a lot of fun finding it!