This month I was inspired by an amazing photo on the Gillette Outdoors Facebook news feed. The shot was of a very excited group of a few hundred friends who all came together to do a little "Caching".
To give you a better explanation of what this means I wanted to go to one of the most involved cachers I have ever seen, who also happens to be an amazing photographer, George Cribbs!
Here is a small interview with George, who has so much passion for his hobby, he has definitely earned his nickname " GeoJunkie"
My name is George Cribbs and my geo-nick is GeoJunkie! My wife is Patty and her geo-nick is MrsGeoJunkie! (the exclamation point is actually part of our geo-nicks).
Q1 What is Geocaching and how did it get its start?
In order to give everyone the best understanding of Geocaching, I will quote the answer to this questions directly from geocaching.com.
Geocaching.com defines Geocaching as a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
As far as the origins of Geocaching, it was conceived shortly after the removal of Selective Availability from the Global Positioning System on May 2, 2000, because the improved accuracy of the system allowed for a small container to be specifically placed and located. The first documented placement of a GPS-located cache took place on May 3, 2000, by Dave Ulmer of Beavercreek, Oregon. The location was posted on the Usenet newsgroup as 45°17.460′N 122°24.800′W.
By May 6, 2000, it had been found twice and logged once (by Mike Teague of Vancouver, Washington). According to Dave Ulmer's message, this cache was a black plastic bucket that was partially buried and contained software, videos, books, food, money, and a slingshot. A geocache and plaque called the “Original Stash Tribute Plaque” now sit at the site.
The activity was originally referred to as GPS stash hunt or gpsstashing. This was changed shortly after the original hide when it was suggested in the gpsstash eGroup that "stash" could have negative connotations and the term geocaching was adopted
Q2 How did you hear about Geocaching and what was your experience finding your first cache? How many caches have you found to date?
My wife and I were members of a Jeep club and one of our fellow members introduced us to caching in April 2012. Our first cache was hidden along a multi-use trail in Oxford, GA. It was a plastic coffee container that contained a logbook, several toys and a couple of trackable items. When I found my first cache, I was alone but I found myself laughing aloud when I made the find!
As of today, I have found 1065 caches and Patty (MrsGeoJunkie!) has found 838.
Q3 Why do you think that Geocaching has become so big over the past few years?
Like most outdoor enthusiasts, we are passionate about our hobbies and we take advantage of every opportunity to introduce our friends, family and even strangers to Geocaching. For us, Geocaching adds another level of adventure to our hobbies.
I believe that people are growing weary of sitting on the couch, watching television and playing video games. People are searching for excitement and a means to explore the natural beauty around us. Geocaching does just that!
Although there are important guidelines pertaining to Geocaching, the game can be played the way that you like. By this, I mean that you can either choose caches that will lead you along a walking tour of an historical city or you can grab your hiking gear and explore hidden waterfalls and caves! There is just so much adventure waiting for you out there!
Q4 What is the strangest thing you have found or done when out looking for a cache?
This is a tough question to answer because we have had so many adventures! I would have to say that one of the strangest, and fun, things that I have done is crawl (hands and knees), inside of a storm culvert, for a distance of 500+ feet to find a cache!
We have found humorous caches, creative caches and even creepy caches. One in particular stands out; it was called “Hand It To Ya” and the cache was the hand of a mannequin. The hand was partially covered with leaves/debris, in the woods, and was holding the cache container! It’s always fun to see the creativity that fellow Cachers put into their hides!
Q5 If someone wanted to get into Geocaching what would they need? Is it an expensive hobby to get into?
This depends on how involved/serious they are about the hobby. Simply put; you can download the FREE inro app onto your smartphone and begin caching right away with no cost whatsoever! You can register for a FREE account at geocaching.com and start finding caches immediately.
If you find that Geocaching is something that you love (and I’m sure that you will), then a premium membership is only $30 a year. In my humble opinion, you’re not going to find anything else that is as enjoyable for only $30 a year! If you want access to more features and caches, a premium membership is the way to go.
As far as equipment is concerned; you can download the full Geocaching smartphone app for only $10. I know that $10 sounds like a lot to pay for a smartphone app, however, it is much cheaper than paying several hundred dollars for a GPS unit until you decide if Geocaching is for you.
Although a smartphone is not as accurate as a dedicated GPS unit, you can successfully cache with it.
I always refer new/potential cachers to the following link to help get them started!
Q6 Tell us a little bit about some of your travels to find amazing caches, do you cache with family or friends? Where has it taken you?
Patty and I are members of a local Geocaching group called “The Eastside Gang”. Most of our members reside East of Atlanta (thus the name). We often attend monthly “Meet and Greet” events with our local group. Many of us meet up and make a day of caching, as our schedules permit.
Most of the time Patty and I wake up on the weekends and spontaneously pick a spot to go and grab some caches, just the two of us!
Although we enjoy all types of caches, we prefer the ones that require us to hike along a trail, into the woods and ultimately bring you to a natural feature (waterfall, rock outcropping, etc) or to an abandoned/historical structure or even a forgotten cemetery.
Geocaching has taken us to many of Georgia’s state parks and hidden natural areas that we never knew existed.
We have combined Geocaching with our other hobbies; hiking, photography and camping and we share our experiences/photographs on our Facebook page and our Instagram acount.
You can view more of our photography at: www.geojunkiesphotography.com
Feel free to check out our pages to “Like” and “Follow” us!
Again, thanks for the opportunity to share our love of Geocaching with you and your readers. We look forward to seeing you out on the trail soon!
George – GeoJunkie
Thanks so much George for taking the time to tell us all about Geocaching. It is such a great activity to get family's up and into the outdoors!
To all of the readers please support fellow photographers and outdoor enthusiasts and follow George on his next adventure! And Get Out There!