Iowa is a wonderful place to enjoy many different activities outdoors. Canoeing, trail riding, mountain biking, hiking or camping are all popular pastimes in beautiful locations right across the state; but now there’s a new craze to be enjoyed. Geocaching is an activity that can be enjoyed by all the family, outdoors, all the year round. This modern take on treasure hunting takes you out into the countryside to enjoy moderate exercise whilst enjoying glorious landscapes and fascinating historic sites; all it takes is a small amount of brain power!
How does geocaching work?
The geocacher, as participants are known, takes a trip out to a favourite location which is usually somewhere either of historical interest or outstanding beauty. At their chosen spot they will hide a small, weatherproof container containing a few small, low-value items, a logbook and a pen.
The geocacher then takes their GPS receiver and uses it to record the exact co-ordinates of their ‘cache’. When they get home, they log into the official geocaching website and enter the co-ordinates. Sometime later, another geocacher will spot the listing on the site, enters the co-ordinates into their GPS and the treasure hunt commences!
Once the seeker locates the cache, they can choose to remove an item from it replacing this with something in exchange and making an entry in the logbook to be found by the next person. When they get home, the finder makes a note on the website to say that they’ve found the cache together with any other useful remarks they want to make.
So, it’s more or less a grown up game of Treasure Hunt with a large dollop of modern tech thrown in.
What you’ll need to play the game
To join the craze you’ll need a GPS receiver, internet access and a good pair of walking boots. A basic GS can be bought for around $80. It works like a car satnav system, picking up satellite signals and using them to work out your location; simply enter the co-ordinates of the cache you’ve chosen and the GPS will provide directions.
All available geocaches are shown on the main ‘caching’ website and all the information you need to get started can be found here. If you want to get together with other geocachers in Iowa, check out the group website and join in the fun (see picture).
Geocaching is a great fun way to enjoy the spectacular countryside and gorgeous wild lands and their wildlife of Iowa; happy hunting!