Are you ready to join a global community of modern-day treasure-hunters and adventurers?
Geocaching is like treasure hunting, but you’re using a GPS device or an app on your smartphone. Finding cleverly hidden containers– known as geocaches– is your objective.
There are millions of these geocaches hidden all over the world, and in the immediate vicinity of Mammoth Lakes, a 10-mile radius around zip code 93546, there are 55 geocaches already out there for you to find!
What Exactly Am I Looking For?
The typical geocache is a waterproof container, like a military ammunition box or a sturdy Tupperware container.
In it is a logbook with a pen or pencil, some trade items, and maybe some swag– little personal items like small toys, ornamental buttons, craft items, CDs, or books.
Having found this cache, you can now enter your exploits in the logbook (and online as well). You can also take objects (other than the logbook, pencil, or stamp) as long as you leave something of similar or higher value, usually some of your own other personal items to share with the global geocaching community.
Note: no food, however, as edibles might attract animals and ruin the cache.
Also, no illegal items, weapons, or drugs for obvious reasons.
Seven Tips for Geocaching Beginners
So, you’ve already signed up via Geocaching.com or through the Geocaching app, and you’ve packed some hiking gear, as well as a full battery on your smartphone. Here are some tips if you’ve just started out:
1. Take note of hints
Before you even saunter off into the great outdoors, do a bit of research. Many cache pages offer hints that will help you figure out where to look, without giving anything away.
2. Have a look at the latest activity
Other geocachers who may have just been recently around leave notes about their exploits finding the cache, a personal account of sorts about their own search.
You might find some valuable information based on their recent activities, and some might even include cleverly written hints in their logs.
3. You’re going to do quite a bit of searching
Your GPS or smartphone will only get you within about 30 feet of the cache location. This is where your powers of observation and perception come into play, as you’ll need to figure out exactly where this particular cache is hidden.
4. Geocaches might be hidden, but they also “want” to be found
When you’re actively searching for that geocache, ask yourself: “Is there something out of place in this location?” or “If I were to hide something for others to find around here, where would I hide it?”
Cache containers can come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Some might be disguised or passed off as everyday objects, or hidden inside something, or under something else. Just about any hiding place is fair game, even that one spot you’re absolutely sure isn’t!
5. Caches should never be buried
No, there’s no need to break out a shovel. Geocaches might be cleverly hidden, but as a rule, they should never be buried. They won’t always be on the ground, however, so look high, look low, and look all around.
6. Respect your surroundings
Another rule is that caches have to generally accessible. So no, you wouldn’t have to (nor should you) scale any walls, break anything open, damage any property, or trample on plant or flower beds looking for that geocache.
7. Always bring a pen or pencil
One of the most frustrating things is having found that cache, but you have nothing on hand to prove to other geocachers that you’ve been there.
Sure, there’s likely a pen or pencil in the geocache, but there’s the off chance the ink might have run dry or the pencil might have been accidentally misplaced somehow.
Geocaching at Mammoth Lakes
Within the location of Mammoth Lakes (Zip Code 93546), geocaches are located at points of historic interest, fairly accessible via hiking and biking trails.
Most of these locations should be family-friendly enough that even kids or elderly players can have fun finding them. There are, however, a number of caches located on Mammoth Mountain itself or at other high-altitude locations, so these might be found with a lot more effort than just a casual search of a GPS location.
Nevertheless, geocaching is a lot of fun. With the stunning panoramic views of the great outdoors as your backdrop, you’re now part of a global community of modern-day treasure hunters and adventurers.
Geocaching is also a great way to get some exercise, as well as an opportunity to have some quality time and for making new memories with the family while out at Mammoth Lakes!