Sunday, March 18, 2012

Introducing Muggles to Geocaching

geocaching-200If you are an avid geocacher, it can sometimes be hard to explain to others exactly what it is about the activity that is so appealing. It’s easy to lose a muggle’s interest in the hobby somewhere between trinkets and Tupperware. So if you have someone that you’re trying to convert to geocaching, then I have a few tips for you!

  1. Read this article. Seriously, go read it—it has a ton of useful tips for how to introduce someone to the world of geocaching with the least amount of frustration for everyone. Some of the tips are obvious, but others are quite genius! It’s mostly geared towards kids but I expect some of those tips would help with adults as well.
  2. Find a class. There are tons of classes designed specifically to help people understand how to use a GPS and look for a geocache. If you’re terrible at explaining, or don’t want to try and introduce them yourself, then this would be a great way to do it. Here are links and locations for a few “Introduction to Geocaching” classes I found around the country:

– Friends of Governor Dodge State Park (Wis.); Aug 9. Click here for details
– University of Pittsburg at Bradford (Pa.); Aug 9 Click here for details
– Homer Lake Forest Preserve (Ill.); Aug. 15 Click here for details
– Purtis Creek State Park (Texas); Aug. 9 Click here for details
– Albuquerque REI; Almeda Open Space (NM); Aug 23 Click here for details
– Winter Park Resort (Colo.); June 25 – Aug.27 Click here for details

If you’re not near any of those, take a look at the event pages at your local parks and recreation centers. There might well be a class available nearby!

  1. Use an App. One of the limiting factors in getting muggles to geocache is that most of them don’t have a handheld GPS to use. And if you don’t have $200 or more to fork out for a GPS, then it might seem like geocaching just isn’t in the future. Solution? Use an app! Geocaching has a free app and a paid version, or you could try c:geo, another free app for geocaching to find caches. Opencaching has an app too, but not as many caches, so double check listings in your area before you use that and of course, make sure you’re familiar with the app before you take your friend along. Because the app probably isn’t going to be as accurate as your handheld, definitely grab that as well. Or maybe have your muggle use the app and you can use the handheld to double check their directions if you get stuck!
  2. Take it slow. Don’t try and do seven geocaches in one day. Plan as many as you like, but let your muggle decide if they want to find another one or not. If you drag them on a twelve mile hike the first time out, they probably won’t be as willing the next time.

While you are probably crazy about the sport be aware that it isn’t for everyone. If they don’t like it, don’t be discouraged and don’t be pushy. Wandering around looking for caches isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Just thank them for going with you and enjoy the rest of your day. Who knows, maybe they’ll go home and decide they want to try it one more time.


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