Geocaching in TallahasseeFeb 15, 2023 04:07PM ● By Stephen Klein
If you are looking for a fun outdoor activity that is also mentally stimulating, family friendly and readily available almost anywhere worldwide, you might consider giving Geocaching a try.
GeoCaching is a worldwide treasure hunt, a game in which participants use GPS coordinates and clues to locate hidden caches placed by other players.
Geocaches are often placed near historical sites, natural and man-made landmarks, and any other location a person might find significant, making it a great activity for vacations and road trips.
Players use a Geocaching app to locate nearby caches on a map, and once they arrive at the provided coordinates, must physically locate the cache, which is generally camouflaged and well concealed from non-participants, known as “muggles” (a nod to the Harry Potter franchise) in geocaching parlance, to help keep the cache from being stolen or vandalized.
Those hunting caches are also expected to use discretion and stealth when necessary to keep the cache location from being discovered by muggles, and to behave safely and appropriately to their surroundings at all times.
For both legal and safety reasons, Geocaches are located in areas that are accessible to the general public, and with the knowledge and consent of the owner of the property in which a cache is placed.
These caches are usually a physical container with a log inside for the finder to sign, and if there is room, small trinkets, called swag, which can be kept as souvenirs by the finder of the cache, although GeoCaching etiquette holds that these items should be traded for items of equal or greater value.
A cache may also contain a special object called a trackable, so named because its location can be tracked by logging it on the app as it is moved by players from one cache to another.
Unlike swag, trackables remain the property of the person who bought it, who can follow its progress from the app.
You can find out if a cache has a trackable in its description page in the app.
Of course, this only works (and the owner can only follow its progress) if the trackable is logged each time it is removed from a cache, and each time it is placed in a new cache, so trackables should not be removed unless you intend to do this.
Cache containers typically range in size from a small vial less than 10 milliliters in volume (a nano cache) to larger than a shoebox.
When a cache is found, the player signs the physical log, replaces the cache exactly as found, logs the find on the app, and can leave a short message to the cache hider, to give them feedback and let them know of any issues, such as a cache that is missing or in need of maintenance.
Geocaching in Bradfordville and Midtown
According to the official Geocaching website, there are currently over 2 million caches worldwide, over 300 of which are located in and around Tallahassee.
To give our readers the scoop on Geocaching locally, The Bradfordville Bugle went on an expedition to find several caches in the Midtown and Northeast areas of Tallahassee.
We’ve included the names, photographs of containers and contents, and general descriptions of a few of the caches to give you an idea of what’s out there, while leaving out any details or images that might give away the location of the cache itself, in order to conform with Geocaching etiquette and keep the game fun and challenging.
Each of these caches can be searched for by name on the official Geocaching app, if you want to find them yourself.
“Scales or Tails”
This is a great cache for beginners to try, as it is located near a business off Bradfordville Road.
You can park very close to the posted coordinates, and the cache is pretty easy to find based on clues provided by the hider in the app description.
Geocachers call this type of cache a “park and grab,” and it can be done in less than 10 minutes if you’re in a hurry.
You can also sit comfortably in your vehicle and keep an eye out for muggles to make sure the coast is clear before attempting your search!
Placed by Boy Scout Troop 16, this cache is located off Deerlake Road and well hidden from the eyes of muggles, although if you follow the clues provided in the description it shouldn’t be overly difficult.
If you’re interested in swag, this is a good cache to check out, as it is in a large enough container to hold a bunch of geocached goodies.
This cache is in a wooded area with some heavy underbrush, so long pants are recommended, and you’ll want to keep an eye out for thorns, poison ivy, and snakes, and check for ticks afterwards.
This cache is located somewhere in the wooded area behind a strip mall in Bradfordville, and is quite a bit more challenging than “Scales or Tails.”
You’ll want to wear long pants, and keep an eye out for thorns, poison ivy, and snakes. Be sure to check for ticks afterwards as well.
The cache itself is tricky to find, as the tree coverage can interfere with the GPS signal, but if you are patient and thorough you should find it.
At the time this cache was found by The Bradfordville Bugle, it contained a trackable, which had the goal of moving from cache to cache, so we helped out and visited several other caches with it, before leaving it in a cache near Lake Jackson.
“Chip off the Old Block”
Located on a peaceful and scenic canopy road north of Bradfordville, you can park very close to the cache location.
The clues provided by the hider will give you an idea of where to look, but you'll still need to be clever to spot it.
This is an example of a micro cache, a very small container that holds only a rolled up piece of paper for a log.
This is a fun and very challenging hunt that begins in a large, historic cemetery in Midtown.
Known as a multi-cache, the GPS coordinates will lead you to a very interesting piece of Tallahassee history, the background of which is introduced in the cache description.
Once you arrive, you’ll need to solve a puzzle by locating a couple of specific gravestones and getting some information from them.
Only by solving the puzzle can you reveal the coordinates of the cache itself and log the find.
Though No Trespassing signs are posted at the cemetery entrances, visitors, including geocachers, are allowed during daylight hours as long as they are respectful.
Because this cemetery is still in active use (at least one nearby burial occurred in 2022), you’ll want to make absolutely sure you don’t disturb any mourners while examining the graves.
How Do I Get Started?
Now you know what Geocaching is, and you want to get in on the fun, right?
The first step is to visit geocaching.com where you can find all the information you need about the history and etiquette of this unique pastime, along with hints and guidelines for beginners.
You can create a free account on the site as well, which is required to access the app and to keep track of your finds and hides.
A paid membership upgrade is also available, giving access to more features and premium caches, but is in no way necessary to enjoy Geocaching.
Next, you’ll want to download an app to help you view nearby caches and help you navigate to them.
There is an official geocaching app available for free on both the Android and Apple app store, as well as a few alternate apps which are approved by and listed on the Geocaching site.
Once you’ve installed the app and logged into your profile, you will have access to a map showing nearby caches.
Pick one that interests you, read the description to get an idea of what you’re looking for, touch the “Navigate” button on the cache description page, and you’re off!