We're going on a treasure hunt

At HiLife we love walking our dogs. Fresh air, exercise and spending time with your favourite pooch – bliss! Until recently it was only the dog that got to play while we strolled alongside, that is until we tried geocaching.

Geocaching is like a modern, hi-tech version of a treasure hunt. People hide ‘treasures’, known as geocaches, and you find them using GPS coordinates as you go on walks in the countryside or in the city. It’s great fun and an activity the whole family can take part in, even the dog.

The caches are often hidden in rural locations, but there are also some in more suburban spots. Each hiding place is normally a site of special beauty or interest, so you get to experience some amazing places you may not otherwise get the opportunity to see. The locations are listed on websites such as geocaching.com, opencaching.com and terraching.com, so you can search for the ones near you. According to the Geocaching Association of Great Britain there are over two million caches to find worldwide, with over five million people playing the game.

In order to play, you will need a GPS receiver to find the right coordinates. You can even download geocaching apps for some phones so you may be able to use your smart phone if it has GPS capability.

Once you get to the location where the geocache is, you’ll need to have a good look around as they are often hidden very well. Hollow tree trunks, piles of sticks, and tufts of long grass are all good places to start looking, but they have also been known to have been hidden inside fake rocks! The best thing to look out for is a waterproof container of any size or shape. Inside the container you should find a paper log to record your details and the date. Often there will be other small items that you can swap with something of your own.

Then, once you are done, make sure you hide the geocache in exactly the same place you found it so it’s ready for the next person to discover.

As always when walking in the countryside, make sure you follow the countryside code. This means leaving gates as you find them, following paths, clearing up after your dog and keeping it under control at all times, as well as some other measures designed to protect our countryside and its natural inhabitants.

After you have finished geocaching for the day you can leave a post about your experience on most geocache websites where they are listed. This can include tips for fellow geocachers, (but don’t give the game away by saying exactly where to find them – it will ruin the surprise).

Now, with that old childhood excitement of going on a treasure hunt, your dog walks will be even more fun! We’d love to see photos of you and your dog geocaching. Share them with us on facebook.com/hilifedog or Twitter @hilifedog. What’s more, we are really excited to be a sponsor of the 10th annual geocaching Mega event taking place in Devon in August 2017, watch this space for more info. 

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