Friday, October 8, 2010

~ Geocaching ~

Geocaching is an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a (GPS) to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container or zip lock bag (usually a small plastic weather proof container) containing a logbook and "treasure," usually toys or trinkets of little value.

Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica. Currently, there are 1,208,480 active geocaches around the world.

These "caches" are hidden in boxes ranged in size of a small film canister to a toaster sized metal box. Some boxes had small "trinkets or treasures" in them which could be taken as long as you left something equal or greater in value. What is in all the boxes is a log sheet which you would sign your name and date on, signifying that you've found that particular "cache". Then when all is done, you would re-hide the box in the same location you found it and you would log it in as "found" on, the home site for this scavenger hunting game.

I first was introduced to this "geocaching" hobby by my old high school friend Kenna about a year ago. She told me how she and her kids, along with her husband would hike all over to find these hidden boxes using her GPS. It never really sparked my interest back then, however another friend of mine, Amanda, mentioned Geocaching the other day and I thought...hmmmm...this could actually be a little fun!!

My husband and I have "Date Day Thursdays" every Thursday as it's his only day off during the week, along with every other weekend. Yesterday after our weekly breakfast at a local restrauant, I decided I'd like to try out this Geocaching thing.

I looked on the geocaching site and I found that there were thousands of caches hidden in my surrounding area and a several hundred right in my home town.

I quickly downloaded the Geocaching app on my Android HTC, and did a little searching. I then had to go to my PC and gather more information on "finding caches" so I at least knew what I was doing! With info in hand, along with my handy dandy Cell Phone, we set out to find our very first cache! It was an easy one. The GPS on my Phone took me right to the place I needed to be.

It was located in a stip mall type of location a two blocks from our home. I read the description of this specific Geocache that the person who was responsible for hiding this "cache", and it was called "Nice Landscape". In reading the online log from previous finders, we were able to narrow it down to either a Del Taco or an Applebees. Once I figured out the coordinates and matched it to the compass on my GPS, it was determined that it was somewhere behind the Applebees. I told Brian we were there...we were at ground zero. We just had to search high and low for "something". We didn't know what exactly we were looking for, and honestly, I didn't know how big or small it would be. This was, of course, our first hunt!

After several minutes...well, okay..maybe it was closer to 15 minutes than just several minutes...of searching, I just happened to find it in a low bushy tree! It was hanging in a little round green container which blended in very nicely with the color of the leaves in the tree! I gave Brian the little container, and he quickly opened it and inside was a scrolled up piece of paper which I took out. On it was a bunch of names of the people who found it before me. I signed our name (our Geocaching "handle") along with the date and returned the canister back to it's original hiding place and off we went with anticipation of finding our next cache.

Our next adventure was a little tougher than the first one because of it's location. Nonetheless, we found took a little longer than our first one, but we were both bound and determined to find it.

After a half hour of walking in a field of dead grass and tons of those prickly stickers that poke in your shoes, I was ready to give up. Not to mention the fact that we were literally ON THE SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY! In the ditch area. the coordinates took us to the OTHER SIDE of the fence, however, after reading the many clues left by previous finders, we determined that we of course, had to go to the highway side of the fence. Yikes. Granted, there was a thin little inner fence there, but still...we were like just about on the highway itself.

As I was feeling like a failure, and walking back towards the vehicle, Brian shouted.. "I think I found it". I ran over to him and there was a little brick...totally out of place considering the area was a total dead field with dry grass galore! He said he just happened to nudge this piece of brick over with his shoe and viola!

The person who hid this one did a magnificent job of hiding it! Very clever idea! He had drilled a hole in the brick and super glued the metal tube into the brick. Again, inside this "cache" was a simple log.

I'm determined to find one that has some goodies in it! Like these:

Boy, this geocaching hobby is addicting. It's the challenge of finding what is hidden from you. It's the mystery of the hunt and the satisfaction of the find.
My suggestion to you if you decide to try geocaching is to map it out before you leave. Try not to do it alone. Bring a cell phone. Bring gloves, water and some snack food. Have fun. Oh...and most of all, DON'T WEAR FLIP FLOPS on these adventures, no matter if they're just "right around the corner" from your home or not!!! Trust me!

This is a web site where you could learn all about Geocaching and how to get involved. Seriously, it's so much fun!!


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