Geocaching 101: A Local Guide to a New Hobby
Are you a local geocacher? Share your stories, photos and finds in the comments below.
Basic Things to KnowMembership to the geocaching community is free at the basic level. All you need is a GPS-enabled device and an account, and you can be on your way. There are many levels of the game, but the basic rules remain static: if you take something from the "cache," leave something of equal or lesser value in its place; write about your find in the cache's logbook; and log your experience at geocaching.com.
According to the official website, "Geocaches can be found all over the world. It is common for geocachers to hide caches in locations that are important to them, reflecting a special interest or skill of the cache owner. These locations can be quite diverse. They may be at your local park, at the end of a long hike, underwater or on the side of a city street."
The types of finds vary, including but not limited to: a traditional cache (or container), mysteries and puzzles, multi-location caches, event caches (meetups), EarthCaches (environmental education - a special type of cache), adventure mazes, and many more. Click here for the full list.
Some restrictions to playing the game include not leaving certain items, like explosives, ammunition, knives, drugs and alcohol, as well as food and heavily scented items. You also should not move a cache from its location.
Introduction and full-featured apps can be downloaded to your mobile device. For more information, click here.
For a quick introduction to the geocaching world, watch the video below.
Concord CachesThere are more than 10,000 caches hidden throughout the city of Concord. A full list can be found here. Here are five beginners' caches to get started.
- Boo! - This is a Halloween cache. According to geocaching.com: "A nice cache to enjoy with the toddlers. Interesting ride to get there, and a pleasant, although short, walk in the woods. Seasonal swag in cache for toddlers and others to enjoy."
- Play and Cache! Kid Friendly! - Located in a park at the base of a tree.
- Hen House TB Hotel - A location for travel bugs. Holds many travel bugs and new coins for those wanting to help transport to new caches.
- Sod Farm Resurrection - According to geocaching.com: "The original owners of this cache, East Concord Sod Farm, disappeared, and the cache itself was moved by persons unknown to the present location. Since the owners are MIA, I asked for the cache to be archived so I could resurrect it."
- Hilltop Cache - This one is located less than 2 miles from the State Capitol in Winant Park, described as a "serene getaway from the urban clutter."
Recreational ReadingA murder-mystery novel was published in September 2012 by Russell Atkinson called "Cached Out." It is the second book in a series of mystery novels based on fictional retired FBI agent Cliff Knowles. Alone after the tragic death of his wife, Knowles takes up geocaching.
"While looking for a cache in the mountains he comes across a human skeleton and reports it to the sheriff's office. Then a second body is found - a fresh corpse this time - right after Cliff found another geocache nearby. When it turns out the first remains are those of a fugitive he was supposed to arrest years earlier, he becomes a suspect in a multiple homicide investigation. He has no choice but to use his sleuthing skills to identify the mysterious cache owner, known only as Enigmal, and free himself from suspicion" - Plot Summary from Amazon.
The piece received 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon's marketplace. Most reviewers say that even someone who knows nothing about geocaching can catch on to the story. Atkinson himself is a former FBI agent and current geocacher. He has three other books, in addition to "Cached Out," available on Kindle.
Click here for more information.
Fun Signature ItemsOne personalized item to trade at caches is a pathtag. Not exclusive to geocaching, pathtags are single-sided custom metal tags about the size and weight of a U.S. Quarter or a one Euro coin. According to the official website, the precise dimension of Pathtags are 23mm in diameter and 2.0mm thick. Pathtags are made from a solid iron base and are plated in a protective colored plating of either silver, gold, copper, or black nickel.
"When you order your Starter Kit, you will be prompted to upload a design from your computer. Pathtags are really easy to design and many owners design their own tags. If you don't feel up to the challenge, check out our Design Page for tips and links to our Design Partners. Design Partners are professionals skilled in the rendering of Pathtag designs. They will help you by producing your design for a nominal fee (typically $25 or $35)," the website says.
New Hampshire GroupsIf you take up the hobby, are on the road, and want to meet up with groups or find cool locations throughout the state, here is a list of groups/areas that you may want to check out:
What is Geocaching?