This year marks the 20th anniversary of geocaching. I became seriously into geocaching in 2007 after I purchased my first handheld GPS.
Geocaching is best described as a high-tech treasure hunt using a handheld GPS unit and GPS coordinates found at www.geocaching.com to both hide and find hidden containers called geocaches. It is a social hobby that relies on the community to hide and find these containers, which vary as much as the people who play the game. The geocache container holds a log sheet and is camouflaged enough to blend in with its surroundings. Some geocaches are large enough to allow for trade items such as small toys for kids. The idea is to find the geocache, sign the paper log sheet, take something from the container and leave something for the next person to find.
Albert County is a special place to enjoy geocaching because of its diverse terrain. From the Bay of Fundy to Hayward Pinnacle on the Dobson Trail,* it offers places, trails and vistas that anyone who enjoys the outdoors will love. As geocaching became more popular around 2008, there was a push for better places and more creativity with the “hides.”
When I started geocaching, the entire Dobson Trail, which goes from Riverview to Fundy National Park, had about ten geocaches. Geocachers would find these, continue on the trail and hide one or two more. Then a very likable and popular Albert County geocacher named Hillbilly Bob (a nickname chosen for his www.geocaching.com account) placed a geocache every 300 metres along the entire Dobson Trail. Official geocaches must be 161 metres apart; the 300-metre spacing allowed him to hide the fewest number of geocaches while not letting any others get inserted between them. This became what is now known as a “power trail” and comprised 195 geocaches. Over the next few years, many group outings were planned as people would organize carpools so they could walk from one section to another while geocaching. They would leave cars at both ends so they would not have to backtrack, allowing for longer more enjoyable hikes.
These days, there are caches all over, near waterfalls, high up on the Kent Hills, along the coastline and in Fundy National Park. I have been involved with hiding geocaches in Fundy National Park for 12 years. Fundy was the first of Canada’s national parks to allow official geocaches; many other parks have modeled their geocaching program after this one. We also try to hide geocaches near many of the “50 Amazing Places” of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve.
Geocachers always say “Geocaching has brought me to so many places I never would have seen or known about if not for geocaching.” I have travelled all over Canada and the US and have found more than 5500 geocaches. Some people have travelled much further and found far more. The good thing about geocaching is that it’s flexible -- you do it at your pace, find the caches you want and get involved as much as you desire. Geocaching is a wonderful way to get out and enjoy what Albert County has to offer. I hope to meet you on the trails someday. If you see someone walking around in circles staring at a GPS, it might be me looking for a geocache.
For more information:
The website www.geocaching.com has excellent videos explaining how to geocache.
Fundy Biosphere Reserve: www.fundy-biosphere.ca
For more information on Trails, see Exploring Our Trails.