Geocaching

Submitted by CCCL_LeahC

Geocaching is an outdoor activity that began in the mid 2000s, when GPS technology first became available to the general public. Participants used GPS devices to lead them to a set of coordinates, at which they would find a container with a log to sign their names and, if available, a writing implement to do so and small items to exchange. Caches can vary in size, location, number of waypoints to find them, difficulty in terrain, difficulty of clues, or even whether they are physical or entirely virtual!

With the advent of the smartphone, geocaching experienced a renaissance. Now, those wishing to participate can download one of a number of apps (free or paid) to their phones, upon which they can find nearby caches, log them in the app as well as in person, create lists, and interact with other participants.

Did you know? Several Contra Costa County libraries have geocaches. If you do a search in your geocaching app for "ccclib," this will bring up all locations that have caches at them. (Please note that some of the geocaches in question have clue answers that involve going inside the library, so some of these may have to wait until we reopen to the public.)

Some things to remember about geocaches:

Unless otherwise indicated, all geocaches are on public property, unless they were placed with the express permission of a private property owner. They may be camouflaged or otherwise disguised, but are not buried and should require no digging.

Pay attention to difficulty ratings! This applies to terrain as well as how hard it is to figure out clues. Both are rated 1-5, with 1 being easiest and 5 being most difficult. You should also check when the cache was last logged, and whether or not the last seeker found it, so you don't search in vain for something that's been removed.

If you can't find the geocache you're looking for, don't despair! Log it in your app as a DNF (did not find) and move on to the next one. The cache owner may need to come check on it to make sure it's still there and in good shape. You can also create a note if the cache needs maintenance.

Be sure to dress comfortably and wear appropriate footwear, especially if finding the cache involves hiking. You may also want to bring along supplies such as a water bottle, flashlight, pen, and something to help extract the log if the cache is very small.

Obey local laws, ordinances, and guidelines, including ones related to public health and safety.

For more information, search for "geocaching" in the ccclib.org catalog, and find books like Joy of Geocaching. Also, check out geocaching.com, or this article from the East Bay Times about fun things to do outdoors this summer. Happy searching!

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