Geocaching is a sport that has exploded in popularity the last several years. It involves using a GPS device to find “caches.” Caches are usually in interesting places, and they often have a weatherproof container with a log book and some simple prizes inside. There are micro caches that don’t have any prizes – just a log sheet. And there are also “earth caches”, which have nothing to mark them, but highlight an interesting natural feature. This is a wonderful way to explore the Vilas area, whether you are a visitor or a long time resident.
You need a computer and a GPS device to join in. Go to geocaching.com to find caches. To give you a sense of how popular this has became, I went into geocaching.com and did a search using Eagle River’s zip code and this came up. It shows that there are 20 caches within 3.1 miles. And there are hundreds more caches as you go further out.
One of our favorite things about geocaching is that it brings us to great backcountry locations that we didn’t know about. Although there are a lot of caches that are along roadsides or in other easily accessible spots, by looking over the descriptions on the web site, you can find those that are more wilderness oriented. Some of our favorites include:
- Pine River Dam
- Speaking Softly
- Rainbow Point
- Sheltered Valley
- Last Stop
- Ajibokoka Falls
- Our all time favorite is “Norwich View” in the Upper Penninsula, but wait until summer and be prepared – it is really difficult!
All of the caches listed here are difficult and will require some hiking into the wilderness. There are scores of eaiser ones – just explore geocaching.com. Also, many of these may not be accessible in the winter. In each cache’s description, it will say if it is “winter friendly”.
Last Stop Cache:
Another nice thing about Geocaching is that it is a great way to get kids interested in the outdoors. The technology angle combined with the outdoors element of the sport is often very appealing to young people. Younger kids will love looking through the caches to find a prize they like.
I have avoided getting into the details of how the geocaching.com web site works. Exploring it and finding places to go is half the fun! You will need to sign up, providing a user name and password. But it is free – the premium upgrade isn’t necessary unless you get really serious about the sport. Check out geocaching.com and find some quiet places to visit. If you love solitude in the outdoors, this is for you.