22 October 2011
what is it? ..i wondered for so many years when i heard the word.. i wonder what it's all about. and i wish i would have looked into it sooner say, back in the day of cross country journeys! i'm still happy no less to have made the discovery. if you like to hike, and play videogames involving a mini map and a mission.. this game is for you!
all you need is access to the internet, a GPS device, and a sense of adventure. Geocaching is basically a global GPS treasure hunt. you log on to Geocaching.com to make a profile, pick a cache you'd like to find, log the coordinates into your GPS unit [or smartphone app], and go! when you find the geocache, you use stealth to retrieve it, sign the log book and maybe swap out a trinket. then you re-hide it exactly where you found it for the next person to find. when you go back home, log back on to the website and record your find. once you start to see the smileys pile up on your map, it's hard to stop.. this game is highly addicting!
these little treasures could be hiding anywhere, if there's a trail i can almost guarantee there's a cache to be found. and many, many urban caches as well. hanging in a bush, or in a stump or hollow tree, magnetized to the underside of something.. the hiding places and containers can get pretty creative. there's always a difficulty and terrain rating, so you can decide your route based on the weather, or how far you're willing to hike to make a find. also, this is a family game, kids love to seek the treasures and make a trade for something inside.
one awesome thing i noticed, a gloomy day with a bit of drizzle or occasional bouts of rain are the perfect days to geocache. days we wouldn't otherwise dream of taking a walk around the neighbourhood or even a hike.. and for just that reason, there's rarely anyone else around. which makes for quicker finds, and less of a need for extreme stealth. i spent 6 hours tromping around with an umbrella in hand, til i was covered to my knees in mud, and smiled the whole time. it's amazing how a simple game of hide and seek can make a rainy day outside so much more enjoyable.
once you've made a few finds to get the hang of what exactly a geocache is, and how they're put together, you can then make a successful hide. when you hide a cache, you are responsible for keeping it maintained, which is yet another excuse to get outside and revisit your favourite park or path or neighbourhood. pick a place you would want others to discover, that is my favourite part about geocaching. many times i have found a path or place or a view i would have never otherwise found.. even in my hometown!
it's been a busy year this time around, full time work, gardening, and learning about Permaculture. i haven't had the time i would have liked to hit the trails and camp out, so geocaching has been the perfect excuse i needed to take a hike. there are sections of trail i have been meaning to get to for months, and i'm so glad i went out geo hunting, as i may not have made it to these particular trails at all this year. now that i'm into the game, i've been planning hikes, camping trips and even speculating the possibility of taking a 'vacachen'!
...GEOCACHING! [lol] <3