*Wander safe, wander local. Check your region’s local health guidelines before heading out.
You wander through rural communities, along rugged trails, or gravel sideroads, fixated on one thing and one thing only: your next cache. When you are geocaching, you can’t help but become fully immersed in the moment, setting your sights on an outdoor adventure that takes you somewhere.
Geocaching is about first finding your place in the world and then finding a treasure left behind just for you.
In many ways, geocaching is just another name for orienteering; both activities involve getting outdoors and learning how to navigate using GPS, maps, and/or compasses. It gets you out into nature, but with a purpose. In fact, geocaching is pretty much like one big long treasure hunt only you never run out of treasures to find. Each cache you discover will make you feel like a little kid on Easter morning, hunting for eggs.
A string of seven hamlets in Haliburton Highlands are known as the collective ‘Geocaching Capital of Canada,’ and that means you can “cache” in on the experiences here (pun intended). Read our suggestions for how to maximize a geocaching adventure for a two-or-more day getaway to Haliburton; inspire yourself to leave your mark on the world, one cache at a time.
*Photos courtesy of Yours Outdoors.
Geocaching is actually pretty simple, and is a fun and educational activity for all ages, from preschoolers to centenarians. First, download the Geocaching App onto your smart phone or use a GPS, and enter a location to find the geocaches nearby. Each geocache will have a fun name (something slightly wacky, like ‘Life’s a Beech’ or ‘Lost Baby Joe’s Cache’), a difficulty rating, and a terrain rating to give you an idea of what to expect in your search.
If you’re stumped on a particular cache you can look at the comments on the geocaching site and get a hint (tip: sometimes these “hints” are encrypted, so have a pen and paper with you). Once you’ve found the cache you sign the logbook, put it back and post in the online log before heading off for your next discovery.
If you are new to geocaching you can start at the beginning and learn from the ground up how to orient yourself. This is a new world to navigate, with compass, charts, and yes, GPS has a place here, too (don’t worry, with geocaching it’s not cheating).
Book a navigation workshop from Deep Roots Adventure and hit the ground running. Learn from the experts how to use a topographical map, read a trail map and use a compass. Let this course be your foundation for orienteering and give you the confidence to tackle even the trickiest cache locations.
Take a Geocaching Tour
Launch yourself into geocaching with an Introduction to Geocaching course with Yours Outdoors. Book this half-day program and learn from experienced geocachers all the ins and outs (and norths and souths) of cache-treasure hunting. Don’t be surprised if this introduction ignites a flame of passion for this unique outdoor activity, and you are shortly looking for caches everywhere you go.
Get the basics from experienced guides and before you know it you will be ready to set off on your own solo adventure. *Please note this program runs until the end of November or until the snow flies and will conform to COVID-19 protocols.
After orienteering and/or geocaching tutorials, and with compass and/or GPS in hand you are now ready to tackle the wilds of Haliburton on your own. Before you head out for your first geocaching adventure you may want to check out one of the communities known for their geocaching culture: Irondale, Gooderham, Tory Hill, Wilberforce, Harcourt, Highland Grove, or Cardiff.
These regions are the Geocaching Capital of Canada and Haliburton is home to Canada’s number one rated GeoTour, and fourth in the world. Pull up your app and set off on a treasure hunt for 150 caches, each with their own fun twist. Immortalize your find online before heading off for the next one. Before you know it you will be looking for caches during every vacation or getaway.
Cache and Stay
With 150 caches you’ll want to give yourself a couple of days to be sure you hit them all. If you are taking the geocaching course from Yours Outdoors you can stay at Haliburton Forest & Wild Life Reserve, where you’ll be in the centre of a honeycomb of caches in the Haliburton region. Cozy up in a rustic cabin rental (available all year) and after a hard day out hunting caches you can dine in comfort at the onsite The Cookhouse Restaurant. Their grilled cheese sandwich is a local favourite, served on flavourful sourdough bread with caramelized onion jam.
If you’re in the mood for some couple’s only luxury, Heather Lodge can be your home away from home. Spend your days hunting treasure and your nights relaxing in a whirlpool hot tub with a glass of wine, while overlooking Twelve Mile Lake.