Sustainable fun: geocaching

Will looking at his GPSOne of the most sustainable leisure activities out there is just taking a walk: no equipment, low impact, definite connection with nature. I sometimes find it hard to get outside, though. It seems frivolous to just walk, so I don’t spend much time at it (although I make an exception for beautiful days like today). For someone like me who’s more goal-oriented, geocaching adds that extra kick that walking lacks.

Geocaching started several years ago as GPS units started becoming more affordable. In its simplest form, geocaching is an invisible treasure hunt. You use your GPS (I use a Garmin eTrex that I got for Christmas) to find predetermined coordinates. Once you get there, you’ll usually find a hidden cache with a logbook and some small goodies inside. The amazing people at geocaching.com have created tens of thousands of caches all over the world. Some are multi-stage, historical, or more puzzle based. All of them are a great excuse to get outside.

At the beginning of the month, Spring Mill State Park held their second annual geocaching event. Dozens of people, including us and our neighbors, headed out on a brilliantly clear day to explore the park a little more than we ever had. Every cache was placed in or near ruins of the settlements that used to be in the park. For example, one of the caches was across a creek where an old mill used to be. Despite some troubles with people hiding the cache too well, we had a lot of fun spending a Saturday outdoors.

Don’t think that geocaching is only for rural locations, either! There are lots of caches in urban areas. For example, there are 27 caches in downtown Bloomington!

Unfortunately, there are fewer caches south of Bloomington where we are, so I’d have to drive to get close to any. Once we move downtown, I plan to geocache a lot more and a lot greener.

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5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Geocaching Online said,

    March 1, 2008 @ 11:18 am

    Glad to hear that you are enjoying Geocaching!

    We agree that caching adds a goal to walking and it definitely gets you out more and to walk further.

    All the best!

  2. 2

    Will said,

    March 2, 2008 @ 8:32 am

    Thanks for the comment! Unfortunately, it got a lot colder after that one weekend, so I haven’t been out much since. Once it gets warmer, I’m definitely going to try to find some more caches!

  3. 3

    tonka_boy said,

    March 2, 2008 @ 4:45 pm

    Hey, I caught your post on geocaching. We used to live in Peoria and did a lot of caving near Bloomington. Great place for that! Now we are totally into geocaching! It’s been freezing up here in the Twin Cities. Not much geocaching – too much snow. Most of our geocaches are still under 18 inches of snow.

    That geocachingonline.com is one of the better sites on the internet. I link to them on our blog. Stop by and say hello. We are always happy to meet new geocachers.

  4. 4

    J said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 3:25 am

    Hi there!

    Glad to see you enjoyed geocaching.

    We’re starting a geocaching group in Bloomington to bring together people who love to geocache. We’ll be going caching about once a month, but you can also send out a message to the e-mail group if you’d like to find someone to go caching with. We’ll be sharing rides if we go outside of the area that is within reach of Bloomington Transit, so I think its pretty green.

    Please join our e-mail group at http://groups.google.com/group/bloomingtongeocaching
    if you’re interested in going caching with us sometime.

  5. 5

    Will said,

    November 19, 2008 @ 11:22 am

    Very cool, J. I’ve already joined the group!

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