Have you ever gone treasure hunting? Have you tried Geocaching? Geocaching can be a rewarding way to explore Prince Edward Island. I picked a location at random and found 133 locations within 25 miles. See this map of Downtown Charlottetown for a sample of the many geocaches located there. If you have never tried Geocaching you should do a bit of research beforehand.
Geocaching is called a sport. While some caches are located along the street, sometimes you have to hike a fair way to get to the cache. It is a lot like a treasure hunt. When you get to where you are supposed to be, you have to look up and down, perhaps under a rock. The cache itself is probably some sort of weatherproof box so the TREASURE does not get wet.
The thrill of Geocaching is the hunt for the treasure. There is no X marks the spot. But when you find the container, there is a sense of accomplishment and anticipation to see what trinkets you may find. Remember to bring some leave-behinds with you – you are supposed to trade so that the cache never gets depleted.
So how do you get to where you are supposed to go? Well the geocahing site you visit will give you coordinates: longitude and latitude. You know Google is smart enough to tell you where that is on the map, but you can’t always take Google with you in the bush. I have had pretty good success using my portable car navigation GPS – but I cannot enter a longitude and latitude into it. That means I have to keep guessing which way to turn to get the numbers moving in the right direction.
The best way to geocache is to have a proper handled GPS device. It should read in degrees minutes seconds or better yet in degrees decimal. If you plan on purchasing a unit, make sure it has enough decimal places. For example, N 46° 16.88 W 063° 10.37 would leave you a 49 square metre area to search. N 46° 16.881 W 063° 10.371 leave you just 1 square metre to search. Beware, the one who hid the cache may not have been as accurate.
Not all caches yield big treasures like a Rubik cube, but you are sure to find something interesting in most of them. Be sure not to disturb the environment and to place the cache back where you found it. Always have a pencil or pen with you – most have log books but they do not always supply a writing instrument. If you are cycling the Confederation Trail, there are many geocache sites just a few steps from the trail.