As a North Dakota resident for most of my life, I can confidently say that winter is not the most comfortable season to enjoy the great outdoors here in the northern United States. We’ve had warnings this past month to not stay outside for more than ten minutes, due to such a high risk of frostbite. So, if you’re wondering to yourself, What can I do to scratch my geocaching itch without entering the frozen tundra? keep reading; I have a list of 11 geo-related activities that might help.
Of course, I had to mention it! Winter can be a great time to go geocaching; check out my blog post 5 Perks of Winter Caching to read my argument for this case. Remember to stay safe, be prepared, and dress in layers. Here’s a picture of me jumping with a geocache on a frozen lake. The temperature was a balmy -13̊ F. By going in winter, this D2.5/T3 became an easy D1.5/T1.5 I’d say. You can also stick to indoor EventCaches, chatting with geocachers while earning a smiliey too.
- Solve Puzzles
I’ve heard winter is prime time for puzzle solvers in my state. If you know where you are headed for this year’s vacations, why not search for some puzzles and solve them now. Need some help? This book, How to Puzzle Cache, on Amazon has received some stellar reviews, holding a 5 star rating.
- Listen to Podcasts
In the past year, I’ve become a podcast junkie. Whether I’m driving, running, or doing chores in the house, there’s a good chance I’ll be listening to a geocache podcast. You can even interact in podcast chat rooms, like Geocache Talk’s on Sunday nights, enjoying an international convo live in your own recliner.
- Watch YouTube Videos and Periscopes
Watch someone else brave the elements or show off their sunny surroundings! I screenshot one of the Geocaching Vlogger’s recent episodes (Huge Box of Gadget Geocaches) where he’s displaying the -14̊ F temp before he intricately opens multiple gadget caches. He doesn’t even complain about cold fingers, but I’m sure they were tingling for a while after this find! People around the world continue to the geocache throughout the year, and many of them vlog. It’s 50̊ F somewhere.
- Create Personal Swag
DIY some swag. Search Pinterest for inspiration, use #geoswag on IG to see other cachers’ creations and finds, or perhaps fill up on your current item of choice. Before pathtags, I was into making keychains – charms, glass beads, fishing line, and keyrings make simple, yet fun swag.
- Play Geocaching Games
Cache Me If You Can! is thee geocaching board game. I’ve debated ordering this for my family to play, but we are still mastering Pandemic and Ticket to Ride, and I’m guessing this one is a little more difficult to decipher from what I’ve heard. However, with no competitors, this is the game to get the whole family or geocaching gang together at the table.
- Participate in #USGeocachingHour
Every Monday night, geocachers meet on Twitter for an hour. Why not pop in and check this fun chat out? Social media presents a great way to live through other cachers, whether on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Follow a geocacher as they discover new locations, uncover new hides, and find new treasure. You might learn something that will help you once the snow thaws or become inspired to get outside.
- Read Geocaching Books and Blogs
Start a new book or subscribe to a new blog (have you entered your email and subscribed to this blog yet?). Find a novel you can’t put down, an author that tempts you to lie down on the coach, curl up under your softest blanket, brew a hot cup of coffee, and disappear into a story. Here’s my current geocaching-related book collection. I’m always looking for book or blog recommendations. I’ve written a few reviews of these books, which I’ll continue to add over time; you can find them here: Book Reviews.
- Organize Your Geocoin and Tag Collections
Currently, I keep my tags in individual baggies or their original plastic bags, since I’ve seen them rub together and lose their coloring over time. One day, I hope to buy a Wooden Coins Ammo Box display or maybe I’ll go the binder route. For my geocoins, I keep them in a business card leather book holder with their codes and missions described on cardstock. Take your extra time inside to meander through your collection, either to re-organize or remember the tale behind each piece.
- Design a New Coin or Tag
Aw yes! Perhaps you plan to treat yourself to a new personal shiny this year. What a perfect time to sit and brainstorm the design! For my next pathtag, I plan to use another one of my photos as inspiration. Here is one of the current front-runners. I also have an idea for a geocoin, but until the funds appear, it will continue as an idea. We can always dream, can’t we?
- Plan Your Next Adventure
Where will the warmer weather take you? Will you use this time to construct new hides? What missions will you give those unactivated trackables? How will you accomplish the next challenge cache?
Chances are, this list can be applied to any season when you have some down time. My suggestion for you is to invest in some heavy duty boots and tackle those island or kayak caches!
What do you do in the winter as a geocacher? Do you have any other indoor geo-related activities I missed? Please let me know!
Stay warm and keep caching!