There are over 300 caches within 25 miles of Grayling. If you’re not familiar with geocaching, keep on reading!
Geocaching is a fun treasure-hunting game for GPS (Global Positioning System) users. Participants play “hide and seek” with containers (caches) in many locations world-wide. The general idea is that individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of “treasures”, usually a small toy, coin or other trinket of little value. If the finder takes something out of the cache, they should try to leave something in return. For a review of handheld GPS units, check out 10hunt.com
For the traditional geocache, a geocacher will hide a waterproof container, containing a log book, pen or pencil, and some sort of “treasure”, then mark the cache’s coordinates with their GPS. The coordinates and other details of the location, are posted on a website. Other geocachers obtain the coordinates from the internet and look for the cache using their GPS units. The geocachers who locate the cache record their findings in the logbook and online at www.geocaching.com. The logbook contains information from the owner of the cache and notes from other visitors. The logbook can contain much information; about nearby attractions, coordinates to other stages of a multi stage cache or other interesting notes left by visitors. When signing the log book you should at least leave the date and time you found the cache and perhaps any interesting things that happened or that you saw while trying to find the cache. Geocachers are free to take objects from the cache in exchange for leaving something of similar or higher value, so there is “treasure” for the next person to find.
Because it’s a hide-and-seek-type of game, geocachers have some rules to abide by for safety reasons. Don’t move the cache; responsible cache owners often check on their caches. Vehicles should be kept on roads or trails. Hiking safety measures such as not going out alone, carrying a flashlight with extra batteries, a map and a compass, should be followed.
Geocaching is not as easy as it appears it might be. It’s one thing to see where a cache is, but it could be a different story to actually reach the cache. Caches may require long hikes or orienteering, and possibly special equipment to get to. The logbook may contain clues or riddles to solve that may lead to other caches.
How long a cache will remain in place depends on the location of the cache and its impact on the surrounding areas. It’s up to the cache owner to periodically inspect the cache and the area to ensure that there is minimal impact on the environment. When you find a cache, it’s always a good idea to let the cache owner know the condition as well. If you do find that a cache is missing or defaced, please let the cache owner know as soon as possible.
For more information on geocaching in northern Michigan, please visit the Northern Michigan Geocachers . To locate caches listings in the area visit www.geocaching.com. Here’s a well-written article on the basics of geocaching…https://hobbyhelp.com/geocaching/