If you’re looking for a new hobby, check out geocaching.
What is it?
If you aren’t familiar with it, geocaching is basically a giant outdoor treasure hunt. It combines exercise, strategy, searching and exploring the outdoors – and it’s fun for all ages.
How do I play?
Using a GPS-enabled device (like a cell phone), participants search for a set of GPS coordinates where containers (or geocaches/caches) are hidden. The cache should contain a logbook, and will sometimes hold random trinkets inside as well.
Once you find a cache, you’ll sign the logbook, place it back inside, and then return the container to the same spot you found it. If you’d like to take something from inside, that’s allowed – as long as you replace it with something of equal or greater value.
Who hides the caches – and what do they look like?
Geocaches are hidden and maintained by members of the geocaching community – like you! Geocaching.com does suggest, however, that before you hide a cache, you first “find a variety of caches in your area. Seeing caches in a variety of locations, in different containers and hidden by a variety of users will help you understand what makes a great cache hide.” You’ll then be on your way to hiding some fun caches of your own for others to find.
Cache sizes and containers vary substantially. To aid in your search, you will be given a general idea of a cache’s size as you select one to search for.
How do I get started?
To get started with geocaching, you’ll just need your GPS-enabled device and a free Geocaching.com account. Once your account is set up, you can access it through the website or app, and can then search your zip code to see a list of caches in your area. Choose a cache, and enter its coordinates to begin looking for it.
Geocaching is a worldwide activity – so you can search for caches wherever you are, and wherever you go.
Geocaching in Winchester
Thanks to Winchester’s historic nature, The Winchester-Frederick County Convention & Visitors Bureau has sponsored two geocaching adventures: the Winchester-Frederick County Civil War Geo-Trail, which leads you on a path of historical Civil War sites throughout the city, and A Historical Tour of Winchester, which teaches you about the city’s early settlements and residents.
You can find instructions for both of these trails, along with coordinates for hundreds of other caches in the Winchester area, on Geocaching.com.