Welcome to CarolinaCacher

Welcome to my CarolinaCacher site. I'm Randy Hefner. My caching screen name on GPSgames, Geocaching, and TerraCaching, is RanHefner. I have been caching since June 24, 2005.

You may be asking, "What is caching?" You would probably know it as Geocaching. Geocaching is the combination of technology, outdoor activities, and treasure hunting. You use a GPSr (Global Positioning System receiver) to locate hidden containers of different sizes and shapes. All cache containers will contain a log (piece of paper, notepad, or notebook) to document your finding of the cache. Some containers are large enough to contain trinkets for trading. The rule is that you take somthing and leave something.

There are many handheld GPS receivers on the market ranging from around $75 to over $400! All of them will get you started with geocaching. The more expensive ones are good for geocaching and road navigation. The two most popular companies offering GPS receivers are Garmin and Magellan.

Garmin offers a GPS Guide For Beginners. It is a little "technical", but does offer a lot of great information about how the Global Positioning System works.

The online "How To" manual, wikiHow, offers a very good guide to geocaching. This is a good article for beginners. This article takes you step-by-step from selecting a GPS receiver and how to log your find.

A good place to start is to join a local caching club. There are several in the Carolinas. If you live in North Carolina, you should join the North Carolina Geocachers Organization. This "club" is for everyone in North Carolina or anyone interested in caching in NC.

If you live in the foothills area of North Carolina, there is a group for you! The NC Foothills Geocachers is affiliated with the NCGO above, but is targeted towards the members living in the foothills.

If you live in the Asheville area of North Carolina there is a Yahoo! Group called Western NC Geocaching.

If you live in the upstate of South Carolina, there is an organization for you. The Upstate South Carolina Geocachers Association covers the 10 counties in the northwest portion of South Carolina.

There are two South Carolina state-wide geocaching organizations. South Carolina Geocachers Association and South Carolina Society of Geocaching.

Join the organization that best fits your needs and participate in their events. You will get more out of geocaching by making new geocaching friends!
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

You got a GPS for Christmas...Now what?

Santa brought you a brand new GPS receiver (GPSr). Now what?

If you have a friend who is into geocaching, he or she is the person that can be of most help. But if not, here are few tips.

Garmin has an interesting page, "What Is GPS?" This page is a little technical, but does explain how a GPSr works.

Garmin has also produced a good document, "GPS Beginner's Guide." It is not very specific, but is worth reading.

One of the best documents is provided on wikiHow. It is titled, "How To Go Geocaching" and should be read completely. Many questions can be answered there.

Take a while to become familiar with your new GPSr. Learn the basic functions, especially how to add waypoints. Most new GPSr's come with a USB cable that allows you to transfer coordinates, but if not, you will have to enter them manually. This can be time consuming and I don't recommend it unless you don't have any other means of entering the information.

Take your GPSr into the back yard or a nearby park and walk around with it. Switch to the compass screen. On most models, the compass screen doesn't work exactly like a compass. A real compass will point north even when standing still. Your GPSr changes only if you are actually moving. This is because the computer inside is looking at several coordinates and calculating where you are, what direction you are heading, and your speed.

Explore all of the features of you new toy. You will find it can be very useful for things other than geocaching!

1 comment:

thegeocacher said...

I have had my GPS for quite awhile but decided to start Geocaching a few months back... Needless to say I am hooked... Unfortunately with about 3 feet of snow I don't find myself doing much caching right now... just lots of longing to be out caching.