A Guide to Fun and Safe Black Hills Geocaching
February 18, 2013
Recently, the outdoor recreational activity of “geocaching” has risen in popularity amongst the outdoorsy types—nature lovers of all kinds—as a contemporary take on treasure hunting. What is geocaching? In simplest of terms, it’s the sport of searching the countryside for “caches.”
Next question: what are caches? Caches are treasures placed by hikers, for hikers. They’re distinctive objects most often hidden away in backcountry settings. On average, a cache consists of a watertight container with some sort of parchment and writing utensil inside for the discoverer to log the date, time, and details of his/her discovery. Occasionally, geocachers might find a toy or trinket of little value hidden inside—something to take as a souvenir, left behind by the last treasure hunter to uncover the hidden cache.
To begin, you’ll need a global positioning system (GPS) device to help you locate the latitude and longitude coordinates of buried caches. On a daily basis, 1,925,000 caches can be found hidden somewhere in the world. The Blacks Hills is home to approximately 1,000. How do you know where to look? Geocaching.com is the official site for logging in, networking, and pinpointing coordinates for your treasure hunt.
The Black Hills are the perfect location for geocaching – not because there are so many to be found, and not exactly for the cache itself. More so, it’s the opportunity that the activity provides for getting out into the gorgeous outdoor wonderland of western South Dakota. It’s that drive to get up and go—the experience that you’ll have in the hunting process.
Geocaching is the perfect solution for those in search of a family-friendly hobby that’s high on both fun and activity. Other than a GPS and a sense of adventure, you’ll need to jot down a list of coordinates from Geocaching.com and pull on a pair of comfortable hiking shoes. When you plan to go geocaching in the Black Hills, plan appropriately for a nature hike!
Get the most out of your Black Hills geocaching experience:
- If it’s your first time out on the hunt, go after caches that have been logged most recently to ensure that there will still be something there to find. Nothing will frustrate your first geocaching experience like a fruitless treasure hunt.
- Don’t set yourself up for a miserable time, especially if you have young ones in tow. Most geocache websites rank their coordinates by terrain and difficulty. Go with something fairly easy for your first Black Hills geocaching experience.
- Go with a pro! Oftentimes, geocaching network sites can help you locate an experienced veteran in your area. Every once in awhile, you might catch wind of a local Black Hills geocaching event where you can meet a treasure hunting buddy in a safe, public location. Your experience will only improve if you include someone who knows the ropes.
Tips for safe Black Hills geocaching:
- Make sure that one or more friend(s) or relative(s) is/are aware of where you’re headed and why before you set out on a hike in the deep woods. Let someone know the coordinates of the caches you’re after.
- As you’re driving into the Hills in search of a good place to set out from, make sure that you keep your vehicle on roads and trails marked by the BH Forest Service.
- Turn on your GPS as soon as you park the car. Use the “track back” feature on the device to ensure that you’ll always be able to find your way back to your starting point.
- You can trust your GPS, but you should still pack extra batteries, a map of the area, and a compass as an extra safety precaution.
When the day is done, cleanse your shoes, clothing, and gear thoroughly to reduce the spread of poison oak and ivy, both of which are found sporadically throughout the region. If you took a pet companion along with you, make sure his/her fur is thoroughly cleansed with soap and water, as well
Our greatest tip? Embrace the sense of adventure that comes paired with tromping the wilderness in search of buried treasure. Stash your pocket with some trivial trinkets of your own—if you plan to take a piece of your discovered treasure with you as a souvenir, proper Black Hills geocaching etiquette dictates that you also leave something behind. First and foremost, have fun! Take in the fresh air and appreciate each moment you spend enjoying ALL of nature's hidden treasures!
About the Palmer Gulch Resort
The Black Hills provide ample opportunities for wintertime adventure, and the executive lodges, open all year round, at the Palmer Gulch Resort are here to serve as your snowy home away from home. To learn more about Palmer Gulch Resort, or to make a reservation, visit our website at www.palmergulch.com or call 1-800-562-8503. Information packets are available for group gatherings, as well as GPS directions and maps of the area.
Last Modified: 06/25/2014 12:22:02 pm MDT