It still amazes us how many people have never heard of Geocaching. This free, family fun sport, utilizes GPS (Global Positioning Services), most commonly found on smart phone applications such as the Geocaching app, to find containers in various sizes in the community. These containers are typically hidden in woody areas or other “off the beaten path” locations away from prying eyes (or muggles as the geocaching community likes to call them) and are filled with a log book to record your find and typically small trinkets and tokens (take one/leave one) or even travel bugs which have been found from countries all over the world.
So how does Geocaching Keep Arlington Beautiful?
Local geocachers, such as S.W.A.G. (Southwest Arlington Geocachers), participate in litter cleanup events called C.I.T.O.s (Cache In/Trash Out). Each CITO typically draws about 100+ volunteers from the geocaching community. Participants set out to find caches hidden along the clean up area armed with trash bags, gloves and pickup sticks. On their way out they haul in hundreds of pounds of trash and litter which is then stacked along the geocaching trail and collected by Duncan Disposal and city staff. Participants of these CITOs donate anywhere from three to four hours of their valuable time and in turn receive a pathtag to add to their geocaching collectibles.
Here is how you can get yourself and/or your friends and family started geocaching:
- You will need a GPS (Garmin, Etrex, etc) or a smart phone
- Create an account on www.geocaching.com
- Download the geocaching smartphone app
- Search local geocaches by entering a zip code or name
- Select the geocache you want to find based on difficulty level and location
- Input the coordinates or tap the GO TO button on the app to begin using your GPS unit
- Follow the arrow until you are within range of the cache
- Now find it! Use the online spoilers or hints if necessary.
As always you should remember to be safe while geocaching. Always wear sturdy shoes and layered clothing. Long sleeves and pant legs are best for very wooded or rocky areas. Wear sunblock, a hat and drink lots of water. Sunscreen and bug spray is also recommended. Remember to take a photo of your find if you wish to and to go back and log your find on the app or the website.