When I began Geocaching, it was a fairly new concept. I started when I was middle school with my family. We purchased our very first GPS, entered the coordinates, and then drove around town looking for that green camouflaged box that contained goodies and the little notebook to see who else had found it.
My excitement to find hidden treasure gradually fizzled off as my life became busy with school and competitive sports. But recently my desire to get back into Geocaching resurfaced and I was surprised to discover how popular Geocaching is now.
What exactly is Geocaching?
GeoCache started in May 2000 in Oregon. A computer consultant invented geocache as a fun use of satellite technology to find exact locations. The creator, Dave Ulmer, first posted the game he created onto a GPS users group. He called it the “Great American GPS Stash Hunt” and the rules were simple, “Take some stuff, leave some stuff.”
After that, Matt Stum, the first person to find Dave’s stash, created a log of all the other “stashes” hidden by fellow GPS users. More “Cachers” discovered the excitement of the hunt, popularity increased, and the Geocache website launched on September 25, 2000.
Where is Geocache now?
Geocache has evolved into a community of treasure hunters and finders looking for a way to get out and explore the world. It’s a worldwide phenomenon that has challenged people to get creative in order to find the cache.
You’ll find geocaches in various containers: the famous Green Ammo Boxes, an old VHS tape, a Phone Booth, a small photo film container, or even a puzzle to solve. Also, sometimes the caches are on personal or business property.
Once you find the cache, log your name in the book or piece of paper, to share your experience with others. And if you use the Geocache App, log it in the app.
Note that there is some etiquette to follow. First, make sure to trade an equal item. And secondly, if you come across a “trackable item”, either put it in your app or leave it there for a person that is using that app.
One of the best tips is to start is with a GeoTour. A GeoTour is a collection of interesting locations and provides a great way to explore. Our local Visitor Center of Fargo Moorhead along with the North Dakota Geocaching Association and Minnesota Geocaching Association offers an Official GeoTour of Fargo-Moorhead. This GeoTour of Fargo-Moorhead takes you to different parts of our cities, with a Passport to help you keep track of what you find.
Or if looking for a little more challenge, there are tons of Geocaches called the Adventure Lab. The Adventure Lab doesn’t have physical containers and are even placed indoors (great for rainy day fun).
What to Leave in a Geocache:
Not sure what to leave behind? Here’s a list of some simple ideas to get your started!
- Old jewelry
- Small kid’s toys/trinkets (e.g. kid’s meal toys, carnival prizes, goody bag items, or find some at the local dollar store).
- Key chains
- Pens or pencils
- Miniature coloring books
- Painted rock
- Small balls
Looking to get started with Geocaching in Fargo? Here are some local options!
- A Tour of Moorhead Parks and Recreation – 10 locations, requires some driving.
- Red River at M.B. Johnson Park – 10 walkable locations.
- On Firm Foundation Grounded: A Tour of Concordia.
- Downtown Fargo Art (North) – 10 walkable locations.
- Downtown Fargo Art (South) – 10 walkable locations.
- Moorhead: Past, Present, and Future (buildings) – 10 walkable locations.
- It’s a Great Day to Be a Dragon – A Tour of MSUM (10 walkable locations).
Let the Search Begin!
If Geocache interests you, download the Geocache app and start searching! Get your kids involved, and most importantly, remember if you take something from the cache box, leave something behind for the next adventurers to find!