Hiking For Treasure

Psst. Want an introduction to a secret world that exists right under our very noses?

Well, you’re in luck!

Geocaching is a real, GPS-enabled, outdoor treasure hunting game that many hikers have been participating in playing for over twenty years!

Somewhere, out there, there’s a swag box! If anyone is going to find treasure in this expansive world of ours, it’ll be my wife (pictured). She is able to see better than me. I’d walk right past it!

What Do You Need?

Yourself. Your GPS device. Swag-items for swap out (described below). Snacks, water, safety materials that you’d bring on any other hike. Trekking poles are great for poking around while searching for a container inside say, a log, or a hollowed out tree, as well.

There are so many out there!

How Do You Play?

Geocaching (geography + cache) has two different roles to play.

1) Seekers: As a seeker, you’ll follow coordinates to a specific location where another geocacher has hidden a container, know as a swag-box. To locate the coordinates you’ll utilize your mobile phone or other GPS-enabled device. Once you’ve arrived at the cache location, you’ll need to search around, as many of the cache locations are hidden, making it all the more fun and challenging. Upon discovery, you’ll open the cache filled with what are called swag-items, and swap out one piece of swag for one that you brought with you. 1:1 etiquette.

2) Cache-Owner: A person who has stashed their treasures for others to find and listed it on the main geocache website so that participants know it is available to be found. A cache owner may place multiple items into the cache container. So long as seekers are practicing proper geocaching 1:1 etiquette, the containers will never run out of new items to be discovered.

What Are The Rules Of The Game?

Geocaching does come with a set of rules to follow. The rules listed below are to ensure that you, and others, have a great time while joining in on the hunt.

1) Leave No Trace. This is the most important rule in many peoples opinions. You’ll hear this rule everywhere when you’re visiting the great outdoors. It’s a good habit to get into. When you are out in nature, it’s usually to get away from the business that circles our cities. There is nothing as exhilarating as finding yourself alone, in the wilderness. Therefore, it’s best to practice this rule with anything you do. Don’t leave food, trash or any other personal belongings out on the trails. And, this can’t be emphasized enough, don’t mark or graffiti the natural scenery along the trails. I’ve read complaints on different forums for things like this happening on trails such as the PCT or the Appalachian. It’s very sad to see it becoming a problem.

2) Caches Have A Logbook: When you find the cache, sign the book. Later, go to the main geocaching(dot)com website to let the owner of that swag-box know that you located the container.

3) Don’t Change The Cache Location: When you find the cache, remember, it’s the owner’s decision on where it is hidden. Do not change the cache location. Some will be harder to find than others. Some, you may think you could hide better. Unless you’re the cache owner, place the container back where you found it.

4) Take A Penny, Leave A Penny: Remember when you’d see a plate out at gas stations offering loose change that someone decided they didn’t need, and you could use it to round up your dollar on the sale; or, to not have to dig around for a nickel? Geocaching is similar, except, for every item you take, you are supposed to replace that item with a different one. When you open the cache there’s no telling what you may find. Many caches will have multiple items inside, and some may even hold value. Your job as the seeker upon opening the treasure chest is to choose one item, and then replace it, and return the container where you found it.

5) Some Items Are Not Allowed: You most definitely do not want to leave food items inside of a cache container. Even if it’s made to last a lifetime and dried. The scent will still attract wildlife and endanger them. Remember, Leave No Trace. Only use family-friendly items, and your items should fit into the ‘swag-box’ without force being required.

How To List Your Own Cache ‘Swag-Box’

To become a cache owner you must first understand what a good cache is. You can research other peoples containers or better yet, seek them out yourself and determine which ones you thought were the best.

Essentially, to hide your cache, all you need is permission from whomever manages the land you are wanting to hide your cache at.

Want a little-known fact reserved for only pro-hikers? There are multiple caches located within National Parks.

Most Importantly, Have Fun

You’re on a treasure hunt… have fun with it! Don’t forget to come back to HykLyt.com to let me know what you discovered on your geocaching adventures!

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Thanks for reading, hiker!

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Top 4 Destination Day-Hike Trip Ideas In The United States

One of the best things about hiking is that you can roll an entire adventure into just a few hours of the day. With the way Mother Nature is constantly bringing us joyful surprises, you’re bound to have a good time out in nature, for free! Here’s a list on some of the best (by popularity) day-hike trips available within the United States. Be on the lookout for the next list of (not-so-notable) day-hikes, which I plan to post next week for those who are seeking a little more off-the-grid day-hikes.

#4 Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California

A well-known rock formation in Yosemite National Park, Half-Dome is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the United States when it comes to day hikes. It’s popularity also makes it a high-traffic day hike so if you’re looking for solitude then this is not the trail for you.

Though it’s considered a difficult hike, a cable route has been developed to help guide hikers to the top of the dome and be completed in one day. Many people camp in this area too, however, so don’t be surprised to cross paths with wilderness sites along the way.

The course runs a little over 8 miles and the elevation tops out under 9,000 feet. Starting at 4,000 foot base, this isn’t considered a great hike for beginners. The difficulty and elevation gain may be a bit too much for inexperienced hikers. For reference, this dome is 3,000 feet taller than Angel’s Landing in Zion National, which is one of the high points of visiting Zion.

#3 Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park, Utah

One of the top bike destinations in the United States, you’ve probably seen this one on blankets, posters, and stickers galore. Angel’s Landing makes the list thanks to the unique view it provides.

With a valley of fauna and flora below, take in the amazing scenery Zion encapsulates thanks to the active volcanic fields and previous eruptions (32,000 years ago) of Southwest Utah.

Now considered one of the most beautiful places to live in the US as well, Zion has become a staple in the hiking, backpacking, bouldering, climbing, geocaching, and downright exploring industries.

With a second park located nearby, Bryce Canyon, which provides an even better experience in some peoples opinion, it’s no wonder Zion has become one of the most populated National Park based on foot traffic. There’s no permits required to enter Zion National Park (you can pay the vehicle fees at entrance) which makes it all the more perfect for a great day-hike, date or personal getaway.

Just be prepared to run into lines in the most popular areas of Zion, Angel’s landing being the top of that list as well.

#2 Skeleton Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

In my opinion, the prettiest site from the Grand Canyon is Skeleton Point. It gives you a panoramic view of the National Park while also keeping it a single day hike.

Where many people want to complete the rim to rim hike of the Grand Canyon, which is an out-and-back whopping 47 miles trek, Skeleton Point is just six miles in on the South Kaibab trail of the Grand Canyon.

Averaging a time of 3-4 hours for the casual hiker, this is a great way to spend the afternoon if you are near the GC park. This trail is considered beginner friendly and only climbs 2,000 feet in elevation.

However, this is no tropical resort. If you plan to hike anywhere in the Grand Canyon, make sure to come prepared. Hydration and sun protection are very important in this region. Also, having a bike and sting kit won’t hurt.

#1 The Kalalau Trail, Nepali Coast, Hawaii

There is a tropical trail making the list, after all. The Kalalau Trail of Hawaii is incredibly beautiful.

This park has a waterfall near the trail that would make it an 8 mile trip from the beach. Reservations are required as it is a wilderness site and State Park.

Temperate and on an island to boot, this is probably my most sought after trail (other than Eagle Creek, in Oregon, which doesn’t make the list for single day hikes).

Kalalau Trail is considered one of the most difficult trails of the Nā Pali State Park (located in the Northwest of Kauai, Hawaii, so it’s not very user-friendly for beginners. It is considers to be located on “The Garden Isle” as you can see from the picture above, the island really looks like a well manicured garden.

If that wasn’t enough motivation already, here’s a picture from Hawaii.com showing off the waterfall at Kalalau Valley.

What’s Your Favorite Day-Hike?

I’m curious to know the places you enjoy the most when it comes to spending your afternoon hiking. Let me know via email at hyklyt@hyklyt.com

This post was written by Evan
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