Who doesn’t enjoy treasure hunting?
I feel like very few people would say no to the opportunity to find hidden treasures!
Which is why I was so interested in experiencing geocaching for my very first time (it’s been a long time coming to finally make it happen, I know!)
When Jessica Cherry, the local ambassador for the Women Who Explore: Regina group, reached out to me wondering if I was interested in collaborating with her on a meet-up, I immediately said yes. The goal of Women Who Explore is simple: encourage women to believe in themselves, each other and to bring like-minded women together who love to explore and adventure.
We decided that geocaching would be the perfect activity for three reasons:
- We had never tried it before
- It sounded like a fun adventure
- It’s an activity that anyone is capable of doing. (Originally designed for use with traditional GPS systems, modern-day geocaching taps into an app you can download on your cellphone.)
We decided the perfect location to explore was out at the White Butte Trails Recreation Site only 20 minutes east of Regina. Checking the app beforehand, there were numerous geocaches in the area. (There are 3 million geocaches worldwide, so there are likely a few near you right now).
During the winter, these trails are great for cross-country skiing. But in the summertime they’re perfect for a bit of hiking close to the city yet far enough away you really feel like you’ve escaped into nature.
In total, six of us came out to the meet-up. Nearly all of us were beginners so it was perfect to explore and figure it all out together.
We spent several hours out on the trail getting to know each other while finding nearly half a dozen geocaches and learning all about geocaching as we went.
Our experience was a learning one and we realized quickly what worked and what didn’t (or what we forgot). To help you out if you’ve never geocached before, here are 6 quick tips to get you started:
- Bring a pen
We accidentally left our pens behind and were unable to add to the logbook inside the geocaches about our adventure finding it. It was actually disappointing to not be able to add comments so make sure to not forget a pen!
- Start with a fully charged cellphone battery
The combination of having your screen and GPS on at the same time killed our cellphones quicker than we expected. We took turns with whose phone we used when finding the geocaches to make sure we had enough battery power to last the whole evening. Bring a powerpack to keep phones charged.
- Be prepared to go off trail (and bring bugspray) but minimize your impact
Although there is a great hiking trail at White Butte Trails we weren’t always on it. We hunted through grassy areas, around of fallen trees and through thickets to find geocaches. But we made sure to be careful while we were doing it. It’s always important to minimize environmental impact when geocaching.
- Carry water and snacks
This might be common sense, but carry a backpack with some basic supplies like snacks, water, sunscreen and a hat. There’s more walking in geocaching than you might realize because you don’t walk directly to the hidden cache. It often involves circling the area multiple times before you spot it.
- Check hints or latest activity if you’re stumped
Other geocachers often log comments about their own experience finding the cache (without blatantly giving it away). If you’re stumped, have a read through the comments or check the hints supplied.
- Use your senses
In terms of finding geocaches, they’re often hidden and camouflaged quite well. When you get close, put the phone away and focus on looking around to find anything small that might be out of place or look different. Geocaches are often well-disguised!