Have you ever dreamed of going on a treasure hunt? Of finding pirates’ booty, and exploring little known areas to find little trinkets and clues? We have good news: treasure hunts don’t have to end when you’re an adult. Geocaching is an outdoor activity that involves hunting for hidden treasures tagged with GPS coordinates or listed on Geocaching websites with clues and puzzles.
The items hidden are called “caches” and can range from QR code cards that you scan with your phone, to tiny pill-sized capsules to record your name on, and up to vintage style military ammo cans full of various goodies. Larger caches typically feature a give-and-take concept. These are “Trade Caches.” You can take a trinket, but you must leave something in its place. Other styles of caches require you to take a photo of yourself at the cache and use a specific hashtag when you upload to social media.
Florence, Oregon, supports a wide variety of caches to search for and find, as well as plenty of places you can set up your own caches. You can find clues and coordinates for caches all over Florence by visiting Geocaching.com, and similar sites, and searching for Florence, Oregon.
Geocaching.com lists nine active caches within the city of Florence and many more in the surrounding recreation areas. The active caches listed are the ones you don’t need a membership to access, but getting a membership opens up more detailed clues and new caches to find. Do note that some of the caches shown may have been archived due to an event called “muggling.” Muggling occurs when a cache is damaged or stolen by non-cachers.
While you don’t need to have much special equipment for basic geocaching, below is a list of some of the recommendations from avid cachers:
- Snacks and water – In town, you’ll have more opportunities to stop and grab drinks and snacks, but if you’re out hiking for your caches, you’ll want to bring plenty of snacks and water.
- A GPS or phone with a GPS program – Because many caches are logged on the site using GPS coordinates, and not landmarks, having this tool will be critical. Also, many caches and caching communities accept photos of your finds as proof of hitting the mark.
- Notebook and pen – You’ll want to be able to write in caches that have a finder register. Also, multi-step caches create a scavenger hunt adventure; the original clue only taking you to the first of many locations, and each subsequent cache holding the next clue.
- Walking stick and first aid kit – If you’re walking on hiking trails, these tools will help to avoid or treat an injury.
- Sunscreen – You’re outdoors, and even in cloudy weather, you can get sunburned while you’re out caching.
- Bug spray – Being out in nature brings all the crawly bitey bugs. Protect yourself against future discomfort.
- A trash bag – While you’re out, help the environment by leaving it cleaner than when you got there. Pick up litter on the way through your venture.
- Flashlight – Some caches are hidden in dark places or camouflaged by the environment; a flashlight is essential for finding those challenging containers.
- Gloves – These can be a pair of rubber gloves or a heavier pair of working gloves. Some caches go a while between finds and can get grimy or covered in cobwebs. Gloves can be helpful when picking up litter, too.
- Pliers – Some caches are stored in containers that may get stuck and need a little extra leverage to open. It would be a sad day for you to find the cache, but not be able to open it to see the hidden treasure.
- Dental Mirror – Often, caches are tucked up in hard to see spaces, the combination of a dental mirror, or small handheld mirror, and the flashlight will help you see into those spaces without having to reach in blindly.
It’s important when you go on a caching quest that you keep your safety and the safety of others in mind. There are some basic etiquette rules that you should observe while you’re geocaching to prevent the activity from being ruined for others.
- Start by reading the “Geocachers Creed”. It is a document that outlines the rules and spirit of the activity.
- Be mindful of the spaces you’re entering, and avoid damaging the environment by staying on designated trails. Also, never chase a cache into a property that is marked as off-limits, or closed for any reason. If you find that a cache is impossible to reach due to closure or has been damaged, log it on the website so the owner of the cache can remedy the issue.
- Caching and drinking don’t mix well, so please save the alcohol for the celebratory wrap-up meal.
- Help the community out by putting the cache back exactly where and how you found it when you are done.
- Wear appropriate clothing for the location. Some caches are hard to get to, so wearing open-toed sandals is an invitation for injury. Think through your gear before you leave your home base.
- Don’t feed animals on trails. This trains them to approach people which is dangerous for you and them.
- Please don’t spoil the cache by adding extra clues or telling others where it is, unless they ask for help.
- Be kind to others on the trail, they may or may not be enjoying the same activity, but deserve to be respected in the space. Remember, this is a fun activity for all ages, so be kind to people.
- Join a community online through Instagram, Facebook, or Reddit to find like-minded cachers, and to participate in trail cleanup events around the country.
- No graffiti. Caches that require you to leave a GeoCaching Handle (your geocaching name) will have a space to do this.
While you’re searching for the various caches in town, take a look at the many shops, museums and recreation activities available. Stop in for a bite to eat at one of the dozens of fabulous eateries, and search one of the antique and thrift shops to find a trinket of your own to leave in a cache.