Geocaching is the equivalent of a high tech scavenger hunt! There are over 2 million geocaches world wide! So there is bound to be some great caches near you – no matter where you’re camping! And, you can do it any time of the day, any day of the week, and as little or much as you choose, making it convenient, family fun with no fees!
Who plants or hides the caches? The caches are created and placed in the hiding spot and then listed on https://www.geocaching.com/play by fellow geocachers. You simply look up caches in the area where you’re camping and then go find them! Then, share your experience on the same site! Who knows, you may even decide to create geocaches in cool places near where you live or camp often! And that is how this craze got started!
Caches come in all kinds of different sizes, shapes, and difficulty! They often contain a log or paper to sign, or you can swap trinkets if you choose. As trinkets, people use personalized guitar picks, pencils, toys, polished stones, etc. Each cache is a reflection of the person who hid the cache. In many cases, the trip leads the geocacher to new and unusual places they may never have seen had they not been geocaching!
What equipment is required to go geocaching? All you need is a hand held GPS or smart phone – and to download the geocaching app. Create a free geocaching account and you’re ready to go! Search for geocaches in the area where you’re camping, choose the geocache you want to go find, and then navigate your way to the find the geocach! It’s that easy!
It’s very important to be respectful of the geocache requests posted on the app. If they request you park in a certain area and walk, please do. Many times, geocaches are on private property. Damage to the property will inhibit others from being able to experience the cache. Just as with national parks, the best policy is to take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints. You should be able to take all the time you’d like – and take lots of great memories with you! Don’t forget to get photos!
Geocaches aren’t always easy to find – which is part of the fun! So it’s okay to take the time to celebrate your find when you make your discovery! Don’t forget to sign the logbook, swap trinkets if you choose, and put the geocache back where you found it. Then, post your find on the app. Allow the kids to take photos or selfies of themselves with the geocache and share it on their social media pages for their friends to see. It’s that simple and it’s that much fun! This is a great family activity! It’s fun, great exercise, and gets the whole family outdoors discovering and enjoying the great outdoors!
Make sure you are properly attired for your geocaching adventure. Make sure you have jackets, rain gear, and proper footwear for different types of weather and conditions for the area you’re camping, hiking, or exploring. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you’re a few miles from the state hwy or town that there aren’t snakes, bear or other animals that you could encounter, or other hazards such as bees, bugs, or poison ivy. That is, it’s a good idea to have a first aid kit in your nearby car, at the very least.
Some areas have “geotrails”. A geotrail is an area or route through an area which offers multiple geocaches tied together by a common theme. You collect up the cache items by travelling through all those areas and visiting the caches, and then achieve a coin or some other symbol when you’ve collected them all. In our area, you can find information about the Allegheny Geo Trail at http://www.alleghenygeotrail.com/. We hope that you’ll spend time exploring Crawford County as part of the Allegheny Geo Trail – the largest geo trail of its kind in Pennsylvania! You can find more information and get geo coins at the at the Crawford County Visitor’s Bureau.
One interesting geocache in our area can be found here at: https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC11RQE_george-washingtons-lil-drummer-boy?guid=793d21ae-4342-49d9-9f4e-c732b1be414d. It seems that just a few miles from the campground, in the Brawley Cemetery, is the burial site of Joel Jones, Revolutionary Soldier and drummer boy for George Washington.
As you can see, you may find interesting and little-known historical sites, explore areas and sights off the beaten path not normally experienced, or earn coins for a geo-trail, all while having a blast exploring the beautiful surroundings of Northwestern Pennsylvania!
So, why not add this fun family activity to your family’s adventures on your next camping or RVing trip? It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s free! What’s not to love!
By Robyn Chilson
Tim & Robyn Chilson are both CPO, own and operate Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville, PA. Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251.
This article was written by Robyn Chilson
Tim and Robyn Chilson are both Certified Park Operators (CPO) and have owned and operated Meadville KOA Campground since October of 1999. Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251.