By Nana Corley
Geocaching is a fun activity for all ages, and there are plenty of opportunities for geocaching close to home. A geocache is a hidden object, and to play the game you use a GPS receiver to discover and log the objects. The fun comes in discovering interesting places and uncovering the caches, which are often camouflaged or hidden in unique ways.
Many geocaches are hidden along the Crozet trails. The Lindy Bain Loop in Old Trail has caches that have been in place several years. Until recently, the Crozet Connector Trail has been a blank spot on geocaching maps, but the Crozet Trails Crew has started placing some caches along this trail, which connects the neighborhoods of Westhall and Foothill Crossing and includes a section along Lickinghole Basin.
To get started in geocaching, visit the official web site, geocaching.com., and register; it’s free. Watch the video to learn how, then check out the map of geocaches around your location. Most mobile phones have a GPS built in, so you can play right away. The web site provides you with GPS coordinates; you can download an app to run on your smart phone, or enter the coordinates into a stand-alone GPS device that will guide you to the location of the cache. Once you’ve arrived at that location, the search begins. When you find the cache, sign the log and leave it hidden for the next cacher. If you haven’t visited the Crozet trails yet, you can see where to enter them by using the map on the Crozet Trails Crew web site, CrozetTrailsCrew.org, (Choose “Find a Trail” then “Trails by City” and “Trails Near Crozet”).
Geocaches can be as large as a bucket, or as small as the head of a screw. They can be easy to find, or take a few trips and some hints before you manage to turn them up. Geocaching is a great excuse to take a stroll on some of our trails and enjoy the beauty hidden behind our houses. It may lead you to seek out caches in new places wherever you travel. There are about 2.8 million caches all over the world, and even as far away as the International Space Station.