|A particularly clever cache, drilled into a tree stump and openable with a key. (The code that identifies the cache has been blurred.)|
Okay, so what's a geocache like, you may ask? Well. Probably the only common denominator with all caches is that they all contain a log book. It's either a real book or a dedicated piece of paper where you sign your nickname. Afterwards you go online to geocaching.com and log your find to the cache's own page as well.
OK, but what's a geocache really like, then? One of the most common appearances is a plastic box of a couple of deciliters. Film canisters are also popular. The tiniest caches I have found are nano-caches that measure less than 2 by 2 by 2 cm, such as this one, and the largest has been a plastic container of about 40 liters. Needless to say, the first one can be hidden in the busiest place of a city center, whereas the latter definitely needs a remote place in the woods.
|One of the weird things I've seen while caching: a tree had grown up right through a fence.|
Right, so where are these geocaches hidden? I already touched this subject in my previous sentence, and the answer is that they can be hidden basically anywhere: in the cities or in the woods, in parks, mountains, bus stops, train stations, light poles, stone walls. In cities you can often find micro-caches under, behind and inside various pipes, bars and railings. They may be under staircases or in a bush. They may be hanging from trees or they may be hidden in the roots of a tree, behind some stones.
OK, but what's so interesting about finding a plastic box from the woods? Well, usually the cache page contains a description of the place: why does the cache owner want to show you the place? There are, of course, those boring boxes with no purpose as well, but you don't need to get those. :) Geocaching is a great way to get to know a new city, for example. Geocaching takes you outside the normal tourist areas and attractions and shows you less-known and quaint places. For example here in Helsinki, Finland there are many World War I era fortifications in the forests and many caches have been placed in them. In London there was a cache in front of two houses – which are actually fake, designed to hide a railroad. Normally you'd just pass this kind of a place without noticing anything, but with geocaching you become familiar with the local history.
|A screenshot from Geocaching.com, showing you the strategic information of the Oslo Concert Hall cache: D/T 2/1.5, small.|
So, what are you waiting for? Go check out the map of geocaches in your area, register to the site, get the coordinates and go out with your smartphone. :)