Lake Martin is home to a variety of outdoors activities including hiking, boating, camping… and even the wildly popular treasure hunt, “geocaching”. Put on your tennis shoes and get out your thinking cap – this “secret” activity will have you hooked for hours of fun!
What is Geocaching?
Geocaching is a thrilling worldwide scavenger hunt filled with hiking, tracking, and following clues to find secret containers that are hidden all around you. There is probably a geocache near you right now and you don’t even know it!
“Geocaches” are containers that are hidden in plain sight. They range not only in a variety of shapes and sizes, but also in difficulty levels too. The goal of geocaching is to use your sleuthing skills to track down these hidden containers and sign the paper log inside. Some geocaches even have little treasures hidden inside!
But it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Even though a geocache will never be buried underground, they can be hidden up in trees, under park benches, disguised as fake rocks … they can even hide underwater. They are designed to challenge you to think outside the box and get creative. If you are feeling stumped, you can just check the clues in the app for additional hints or tips in the comments.
Geocaching is fun for all ages, not to mention a great way to be active outdoors and explore new places in your area.
Watch this fun filled video on finding a geocache at the local Church In The Pines on Lake Martin: Geocaching at Church in The Pines It has step by step directions, helpful hints, and much more to help you get started on finding your first geocache.
Geocaches at Lake Martin
There are over 200 geocaches in the Lake Martin area alone. These hidden containers can be spotted at popular attractions and just about anywhere you enjoy the lake!
A geocaching hotspot we recommend for beginners is Wind Creek State Park. There are over 30 different geocaches located within the park grounds, all ranging in sizes and difficulty which makes it the perfect place to start out and test your skills.
My personal favorite places to geocache however are the islands of Lake Martin. You will need a boat to access these – and prepare to get wet! My first island geocache was “Sand Island”. Over the years the island has been washed away to nothing more than a few trees and does not have a place to pull up a boat. Needless to say, I ended up taking a quick swim in the lake to find this cache. But it was worth it!
Geocaching Tips for Beginners
It can be exciting to hit the road and find your first geocache! However, you might also be wondering how to get started. Here are helpful tips that will lead you in the right direction to have a fun filled and successful day of geocaching.
Always Bring a Pen
This is the number one tip! Imagine working hard to find that clever geocache… and not having a pen to sign the log. Small geocaches will not have a pen handy and even the larger ones with pens may have run dry. The geocaching app does let you log the geocache virtually, however, there is a certain level of satisfaction in finally signing the log in person after a good hunt.
Download the App (if not compass savvy)
The geocaching app is a great tool for geocachers of all levels, especially if you are not compass savvy enough to use coordinates from the website online. The app allows you to not only see all of the geocaches in your area, it can also give you directions within 20 or so feet of the geocache, bringing you close enough to the location but still not giving the geocache away. It is also a great way to log your find and check cache activity.
You can download the Geocaching app here: Official Geocaching Website
Use Your Sleuth Geo-Senses
When searching for a geocache, you will want to look for things that seem a little “off”. This could be a rock out of place or an ammo can hidden inside a tree (yes, I have found geocaches in these before!).
Geocaches will be cleverly disguised. Look high, look low, look all around. If you are feeling stumped, just check the cache activity on the app and make sure that it isn’t missing. Sometimes people will write additional clues in the comments, as well as the occasional “spoiler” photo for anyone who needs the extra help!
Be Stealthy – Don’t Let “Muggles” Spot You!
The term “Muggle” is official lingo for an individual that does not know about geocaching. It is important to make sure you are not spotted while looking for your geocache. Someone who is not familiar with the game may become curious and look for it themselves. If they find the cache too, they may take the geocache with them or move it from its location. It’s best to be secretive and stay stealthy in your searches.
Leave No Trace – Literally
One of the most important rules of geocaching that is recognized worldwide is to leave the geocache exactly as you found it. After signing the log, be sure to place the geocache back in its exact spot and reposition any dirt, leaves, or other items you may have moved to get to it. Not only will you leave it in the best condition for the next geocacher to find, this also helps ensure we are not disrupting the natural habitat around the cache.
One of the worldwide initiatives in the geocaching community is “Cache In, Trash Out” or “CITO”. These are environmentally friendly geocaching events, where you earn a virtual souvenir by cleaning up litter, planting trees, building trails, and more.
Geocaching is endless fun for everyone in your family! So what are you waiting for? Download the app and jump into the game today. Happy Hunting!
For more information on geocaching, check out the website: Official Geocaching Website