Without a doubt, going out into the wild on a hike is a very rewarding and invigorating experience. You are out in the middle of no-where, walking to the beat of your own internal drum. You are taking in lots of good energy and the stress just melts off of you as you become more and more in tune with your environment. What better way to push yourself further than before, to see and experience new and exciting locations, and to challenge yourself than Geo Caching? Geo-Caching is a fun and interesting way to get motivated to do just that.
Sometimes we need a push, or a reason to be outside. For me I can drag and be hard to motivate but if I have a goal, a mission…then I am way more motivated and anxious to get out there. I love hiking, to a destination with a goal. Be it fishing, hunting, trapping, or Geo-Caching, I need a reason. So Having a fun and interesting reason to be out in the wild like Geo-Caching motivates me to go out and do more.
What is Geo-Caching?
Geo-Caching is a fun and rewarded hiking experience where you go to a website or use an app on your phone, and are given a list of locations in your area where you can find “something”. By “something” I mean it could be a little toy, or a canister with a note in it, or perhaps a book in a cabin. The idea is you find whatever it is, take a picture, or write down in the available book or note the date and time, and continue on to the next one. Its a great way to go and explore places you have never been before and over time you will be able to set up your own so others can enjoy a hike that you may enjoy a lot as well. Its a great way to share experiences with others, but not have to actually interact with them.
Benefits of Geo-Caching
Okay so there is no question that there are quite a few benefits to Geo-caching. For starters there is the physical benefit of being outdoors and exercising. You are burning calories and getting the blood flowing. The muscles are getting a work out and you are getting exposed to all sorts of stimulants and vitamins that make you feel good. The Endorphins are going and you will feel great as a result. However this are just normal benefits of hiking, and Geo-Caching takes things a bit further.
You see now you are mixing physical and mental skills. You are now pushing yourself and putting yourself into a problem solving mode. Just because you have an IDEA of where you are going and you have in front of you the distance, and direction of movement you need to find you cache, does not mean obstacles might not be in the way. Perhaps it was part of the plan, and they took you on a crazy route that forces you up and over terrain and such you normally would never go over or around. So you will be forced to come up with solutions and solve problems, and this makes the brain faster and process information differently, you are training your brain to think on your feet and you are learning in the process.
You are learning land navigation, you are learning your physical limits and you are learning problem solving skills that will help you in real life. This is how the military trains people to solve problems and think on their feet. They put the outside, give them a map and compass, and send them on their own version of a Geo-caching safari. From there they apply what they have learned, and learn new and adaptive ways to perform better. So shall you.
Up the Ante
So using a GPS or your phone is a great way to get started and it truly gives you some experience with land navigation. However to truly become a master you need to be able to read a map and compass. So what better way to learn and apply those skills than finding a map for the region you are going, a compass, and using them to plot your course with the GPS as a back up. This will teach you another valuable skill, make you less reliant on technology and will give you options in case things break. This will not only help hone your land-nav skills it will absolutely increase your ability to critically think. You will be going from trusting a machine to trusting yourself and this will give you more confidence and encourage yourself to go further.
Go out with friends, and push each other. You can set up teams and compete with each other or even set up courses for friends and others to encourage and push others to get outside. There are whole online communities dedicated to this that make everything accessible and fun. You and your friends will enjoy and grow from this experience.
I love hiking, it gets me outside and in nature where I belong. If I am being honest, that never really gets old but it can get a little mundane and repetitive. So to mix things up Geo-Cache. It will get you out and about, going to places you have never gone before and having experiences you otherwise might have missed out on. You will be able to learn and hone more of your outdoor skills, you will train and test your mind on its ability to problem solve, you will earn more confidence in yourself as you grow and progress, and of course the whole social aspect. It is a fun, rewarding, and fairly easy hobby to get into and once you start it will be hard to stop. A great way to experience the wild, learn more about yourself, get healthy and get in shape. Geo-Caching, a great way to get outside and hike!