Geocaching in Columbus
By Alexa Johnson-Anderson
Now that the dog days of summer are over and the glorious weather of October is upon us, you can start thinking of outdoor activities that you can actually enjoy while not sweating to death. If your kids like treasure hunts and have a sense of adventure, then geocaching might just be the activity to fill up a beautiful weekend afternoon.
If you have never gone geocaching, never fear. I actually did this alone with my two kiddos, aged three and four and was somewhat successful. Geocaching is essentially a treasure hunt that uses GPS coordinates to find caches (or treasures). These treasures can be small, camouflaged, in the city, in the country and everywhere in between.
Anyone and everyone! My kids are a little young (three and four) and I was the captain of our destiny when we did it last weekend. But I can see that geocaching could be a great opportunity for children as they get older to practice some leadership, science and analytic skills all in the name of fun. And this doesn’t really have an age limit. I have geocached as a team activity for work. The fun was infectious and it can be easily converted into a competition between teams (and you know I love to compete).
What you need to get started
Getting started is easy. All you need is a smartphone or a GPS device, such as a Garmin. I used my iPhone and downloaded the free app from the Apple store. There are also free apps for Android and Windows phones. If you feel like upgrading to an app that has a few more features, it’s about 10 bucks for the full-feature app. You may also sign up for a membership at geocaching.com. This will allow you to log the geocache treasures that you find along the way and share your pictures and stories about your adventures.
The next thing you’ll need is some comfortable clothes and a sense of adventure.
You downloaded the app, now what?
First, you can find a geocache pretty much anywhere. When you open the app, it will pick up the nearest geocaches. Using GPS, you will be able to use coordinates to guide you towards the hidden treasure. The coordinates are only accurate up to about 30 feet and from that point, you have to use some Nancy Drew detective skills and find the geocache. Once found, you can sign the logbook and share any pictures and stories online.
Geocaching in Columbus
Columbus is chock full of geocaches; there’s even six River Walk Geo Tours that you can access here.
Beyond the tours, once you open the box to geocaching, you’ll realize that there is a world of treasure hunts surrounding you. Sitting on my sofa in the living room, I can see that there are 4 geocaches within a 1/3 mile radius! I’m saving those for another afternoon when the kids are going stir crazy and we have to leave the house to maintain our sanity.
Try it this weekend and let me know how you like it!
Photos by Alexa Johnson-Anderson