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Geocaching is catching on as a popular sport. This high-tech treasure hunting involves young and old alike in a phenomenon for the modem age. If you have never heard of the sport, then this article can give you a taster of a very addictive pastime.

What is geocaching? If you’ve never heard of it, then you’re not aware of the latest craze. Geocaching is an outdoor activity that is spreading in popularity like a forest fire. Part orienteering, part treasure hunt, geocaching involves looking for a hidden cache (pronounced cash) using a handheld GPS device. Caches can come in several sizes.

Buy a GPS Unit: GPS units vary in price. Basic units, that contain a compass, waypoints, and route facilities as a bare minimum, are relatively cheap. Top of the range units, which include maps, new geocache alerts and field note capabilities, among other components, can be expensive.

Waypoints: Waypoints are the geographic coordinates that mark a cache site. These are the latitude and longitude of the site and will be entered in the form “N51? 32.521 W 000? 13.103.”.

Sign up to a geocaching site: Although there are a number of geocaching Sites online, Geocaching.com is probably the largest. With Geocaching.com you can either get a free, basic, registration or buy a premium account. A basic account will allow you to make a general search for caches in your area, log your finds and track items such as travel bugs and coins.

Types of Cache: You will find a number of different types of cache on your geocaching site search. Multi-caches involve visiting a number of waypoints to collect clues to find the final waypoint for the cache.

The Hunt: Once you have got the details of your desired cache, and entered the waypoint in your GPS, then it’s time to head out for the find. You will need to get within the general vicinity of the cache before starting your search. If you try and follow the GPS while in your car you may find yourself taking a rather circuitous route, so it’s best to get close then walk the last part, depending on how mobile you are.

Stealth: Part of the ethos of geocaching is the need for stealth when hunting caches. Non-geocacher’s are known as “muggles”, and the idea is not to let any muggles see what you are doing.

Geocaching is an enjoyable way to explore the countryside, get fit, and visit areas you may never have considered of interest. It is an activity that can entertain old and young, as well as individuals or families.

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