Meet-and-greet for 'newbie' geocachers planned
A meet-and-greet for those interested in a new hobby will take place at an Aitkin park Saturday. That hobby is geocaching, a scavenger hunt on a global scale where participants use GPS technology to find millions of caches hidden all over the world.
A meet-and-greet for those interested in a new hobby will take place at an Aitkin park Saturday.
That hobby is geocaching, a scavenger hunt on a global scale where participants use GPS technology to find millions of caches hidden all over the world.
On a warm June night a couple weeks ago, veteran cachers Kari Frisch and Diane Anderson scoured the grounds of the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd and along the fringes of the Paul Bunyan Trail. Within a two-hour span, the pair located six caches logged on Geocaching.com, the most widely used geocaching website and phone app.
The website offers the ability to log the user-created locations of caches, discussion forums, videos, a blog, and a shop including specialized cache containers and a whole host of geocaching-related merchandise. What once required a handheld GPS device now can be accomplished from a smartphone, meaning the activity is more accessible to the masses than ever before.
The traditional type of cache is a container hidden at specific coordinates, containing, at minimum, a logbook. Some are larger and contain trinkets that can be tracked or traded. Several other variations have evolved in the 16 years the activity has grown, and the activity now includes puzzles, multiple caches leading to the location of others or even specific geographical locations.
Frisch and Anderson began geocaching in 2007 and have logged finds from the beginning as members of Geocaching.com. They've found caches all over the world, from less than a mile away from their Brainerd home to more than 9,500 miles away in the Northern Territory of Australia. The most they've found in one day was an impressive 77 caches.
The hobby is certainly an affordable one. Frisch said the only tools one really needs to start geocaching is a smartphone and a writing utensil (to sign the logbook). An app-just called Geocaching-is available through both the Apple and Google Play stores and is free, unless a premium membership is desired. A premium membership allows users to access advanced caches, premium-only caches and a number of other features, including new geocache notifications and advanced statistics. A premium membership is $29.99 per year or $9.99 for three months.
One piece of advice Frisch and Anderson suggest for those who've never given it a go? Tag along with an experienced friend to learn the ropes. Local events for geocachers to connect provide a perfect opportunity to meet others interested in the hobby, they said.
One such event is planned for 1-2 p.m. Saturday at Aitkin City Park, located on First Street Southwest in Aitkin. Hosted by cacher "EPMinnesota," the event is one of several listings on Geocaching.com in the state and country.
"Enjoy an ice cream cone and ask any caching questions you might have, learn some new tips, and tricks that you might not have known about!" the event page states. "This will be a very newbie cacher friendly group and your chance to share your hobby with others!"
"EPMinnesota" has been a member of the caching community since 2006, according to an online profile, and has logged more than 4,000 caches in 35 states. The host encourages those with questions to send messages through the site. To RSVP for the event, first create a profile on Geocaching.com-it's a fast process. Then search for the "I Scream in the Park Meet 'n Greet." Click "Log your visit" and select "I will attend."
CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or email@example.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchChelsey .