Hiking With a Purpose

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geocaching

Geocaching is hiking with a dual purpose. Hiking is a great weight loss activity and searching for the hidden treasures makes it fun.

What is it?
Geocaching is an interesting way to combine technology and exercise. People hide containers with “treasures” in them and track their coordinates using a GPS unit. To get started, visit a web site such as www.geocaching.com. This site explains how the game works and allows you to search your area for hidden treasures. It will give you the coordinates of the treasure and general information like which park it is located it.
Once you have the coordinates, input them into a handheld GPS unit. Then hike to the location to find the cache. Each cache is given a level of difficulty. The easiest ones can be done with a stroller or younger children and the more difficult ones may take days and include hiking over mountains or through caves.

The idea is to find the cache, take an item, leave an item to replace it with and sign a logbook to let them know who was there, when you were there and what you exchanged.

Who Can Go Geocaching?
Anyone. It’s perfect for children, beginners and experienced hikers. You choose the level of difficulty.

What Do I Need To Get Started?
You don’t need much as a beginning Geocacher. You will need a basic handheld GPS unit, a compass and other hiking essentials that depend on the level of difficulty. Be sure to carry water, snacks and a first aid kit for starters.

What Can I Expect To Find?
Caches are made up of various items. Most are small trinkets. Common items are toys, coins, collector’s items and maps. As they get more advanced, some people like to make themed boxes and will add that to the online description.

Others have traveling caches that they want to see make it across the country and may require you to move the item in a certain direction if you are going to remove it from the cache.

Is This Really Exercise?
Absolutely! Hiking through paths and wooded trails is a great way to get exercise and work towards your weight loss goals. You can go at your own pace. For beginners, there is no time limit, so pace yourself and have fun with it. For the more advanced hiker, however, you can choose more challenging paths and walk at a quicker pace for a better workout.

What better way to get exercise than to be hiking outdoors for several hours and not even realize it because your focus is on locating the cache.

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