It is a sleepy carefree Sunday morning in Wickford and while some wander off to church, others to maybe a morning breakfast or coffee with a friend, I am walking through bramble bushes trying to find a camouflaged box. Some may consider that a poor use of my morning but I am geocaching with my 10-year-old buddy Jack and there is nothing we would rather do more.
What is geocaching? First let’s start by saying that most phones these days (for better or worse) have GPS. What this will allow you to do is use your phone as a tracking device which in turn allows you to find these “caches” (as they are known).
The next obvious question is why would I want to do this? Think of it as a scavenger hunt for kids and adults. The official description from the geocache.com website is: “Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.”
If you have never heard of this you’re not alone. Those of us that do it both enjoy it and think of it in our own way as our little secret right under your nose. For instance, did you know that there are no less that 50 caches in the North Kingstown? (The map below is from the Geocache website just for two surrounding miles of our town). For the most part, they are cleverly hidden in places like Wilson Park and the downtown Wickford area and the GPS coordinance will get you within a few feet of them. Once there, it’s up to you to figure out exactly where it’s hidden. Some can be tough to find but don’t be deterred if you do not find the first one you look for. It took Jack and I a few attempts but when we did find our first, we were ecstatic.
Once you find it, the cache can be as simple as a small log book to sign or a larger air tight box with a ton of little items to pour over. These trinkets are part of the fun and some even have tracking numbers and you can see their historical movement on the geocache site. Also, many of the caches have historical or educational references giving you some background on the area. You're welcome to take something but the rule is if you do, to leave something as well so bring something along to drop into the box if you’re so inclined.
While geocaching is free, there is a small charge for the app to download it to your phone. I recommend it highly. Also, while the geocaching.com site is free, I found it was worth it to take the plunge and pay the $30 per year subscription for some of the additional options it provides but this is up to you.
Things To Bring On Your Adventure: Your GPS enabled phone with the Geocache App installed, pen or pencil, something of minimal value to drop in the cache, patience and your sense of adventure.