What is Geocaching?
Come join us for some good geocaching. What is geocaching? In a nutshell you hide a container and place the coordinates on a website such as Geocaching.com. Others go and find the container and swap some "treasure". It's a worldwide game played by thousands. More info can be obtained with a better explanation at Geocaching.com. Great fun can be had with a GPS receiver and a bit of walking. Below are the stats for the 11 of our family members who are geocachers. Check it out! Join the fun.
Why Do I Hunt for Geocaches?
by Mick Lindley
What could possibly make going on 1 to 3 mile long hikes, risking snake bites, ticks, poison oak and other personal injury just to find some tupperware or ammo box with cheap trinkets inside? And repeating it over 150 times? Here's what my little mind has come up with so far.
Being the gadget freak that I am I canít resist playing with gadgets. My own brother calls me "inspector gadget". You certainly get to play with the coolest gadget I have ever owned, and that of course is a GPSír. Itís a pretty amazing device if you ask me. The fact that it receives signals from satellites and computes your position to within a few feet just blows my mind in amazement. My oldest daughter once told me (she was about 12) "daddy it just donít take much to amaze you". Iím amazed by much simpler things than a GPSír so to play with a gadget of its caliber is, well amazing.
You get to put maps to use. Maps are very interesting to look at. There's great detail in most maps and it makes them very useful. It's not just your paper maps either. Most of the maps I use are on the web, or the GPS itself. There are street maps, aerial maps, satellite maps, and topographical maps providing more and more detail. I spend hours looking at locations of caches and the nearby features in maps. I take notes and go "exploring" to find them.
I've always enjoyed hiking, ever since my trips as a Boy Scout. There's a lot of hiking involved in geocaching if you choose to go for those that require walking. On many though you can drive right up to them. I have one cache hidden that you can literally drive to within 5 feet of, and yes it's hidden very well. I also know of one you can place your cars front bumper within 6 inches of. Most people don't find it on their first attempt. At times you have to think "outside the box".
Geocaching, is about mental challenges as well as physical. Some range from looking up simple information to solving complex puzzles. Others have no particular strategy, you just have to get the coordinates and follow the arrow on your GPS. Sometimes the mental effort comes when you actually go to find the cache and unveil some clever camouflage. Caches can be disguised as bird houses, stumps, rocks, fences, logs, or have a variety of things glued to them. I found a magnetic micro on the underside of a metal storm sewer cover that had a big plastic roach glued to it. Yes, it scared me, so much so that I dropped it.
Geocaching is a great way to satisfy your curiosity of the environment. Like most young kids I used to go "exploring" which usually just meant wandering through the nearby woods close to home. I guess I'm still just exploring. I've seen countless amazing places I never would have known existed, just a few miles from home. I've certainly gotten to know my way around the county better. I found a 900 ft train tunnel under a road I had been traveling 20 years only 3 miles from my house that I never knew existed. My grandson Chace and I walked thru that tunnel only seconds after a train went thru it. Now that was an experience he and I will never forget. Geocaching will constantly take you to small seemingly insignificant, but interesting places you would never go on your own, when before you had no reason to go there.
Every kid has imagined he's a spy on a secret mission. Geocaching is pretty close to being on a spy mission, at least if you use a little imagination. Not everyone would leave a geocache as they found it if it was run across it by accident, so they're hidden pretty well. At times you have to be stealthy when looking for a cache, as well as placing it back. This can be a real challenge in busy places like a library, a park, or a store parking lot.
While not a particularly social person I do enjoy sharing my experiences geocaching and reading about other peoples experiences at the same caches. Through geocaching sites I've met some very interesting people. I enjoy caching alone at times, but I also enjoy caching with a group.
People like to collect things and Iím no different. I collect clocks, radio equipment, QSL cards, and geocache finds. My particular aim is to see how big a radius I can create from home where I've found all the caches. With a few exceptions I'm at about 7 miles right now. This is quite difficult with multi's and puzzle caches created by much smarter people than I. Then of course new ones are always being added, so you have to go back and I'm glad for that.
That's quite a few reasons why I cache, but caching is also good for me in ways I have never thought of. For one it's great exercise. Apparently it's also a good way to lose weight. Someone recently asked me if I had lost weight and I responded with "I don't think so." I found a scale and decided to see. To my astonishment, I had lost 9 pounds since I last checked!
I'm not sure when or if I will burn out on caching. Sometimes when I'm finishing a weekend of 3 to 9 caches I think I've done enough, but a few days later I'm motivated again to go out and find a bunch more. There are over 600 caches I haven't found within a hundred miles of home, so it's unlikely I'm going to run out. The top geocachers have thousands of finds. Having 150+ only puts me at the average rank.
If you haven't tried Geocaching yet, I highly recommend you pick up a cheap gps and go for a few. If you're curious about nature and backwoods out of the way places (many are in urban areas also) you'll find it's simply a lot of fun. The Garmin Etrex can be bought for around $100 or you can go for the Garmin GPS V that does routing and can be had for about $300.
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