You may have noticed today that I added a page to my blog called “Geocaching Profile” (under the about tab). You may be asking what this is. So I figured that I should tell you.
For those who have not heard of Geocaching, it is a global GPS “treasure hunt” where people hide caches around the world and post GPS coordinates online so that other people can find them. A “regular” cache usually is a watertight plastic container or a .30 or .50-cal ammo can. A cache always contains some kind of logbook and trade items. Most of the time trade items are simple things like lapel pins happy-meal type toys, and other small nick-nacks. Some people also hide larger and smaller caches from 5-gallon buckets to tiny “nano” caches that only contain a small log sheet.
The official Geocaching website is Geocaching.com, but there are a couple other sites that have popped up like Opencaching or even Munzee, which is an odd derivative that involves using your smartphone to scan QR-codes. Geocaching is by far the most widely used of the services. Cachers can visit the website and get information and coordinates for the caches they want to look for, and you can even load this information on to your GPS or smartphone so that you can take it with you and not have to print things out. The geocaching motto is “Get out and play!”
What does this have to do with me? Well, I was introduced to geocaching by my father back when I was in college. I did a little bit of caching with my friends while in school, and then it kind of fell by the wayside despite the fact that the old GPS unit that my dad had “loaned” me was riding around in the back of my car for years. Then, for my birthday this year my in-laws gave me a new GPS unit that makes caching really easy, and it re-sparked the flame to go out and do it. So, pretty much since my birthday this year I have been trying to get out every day and find at least one cache. As of this writing I have a string of 54 days with finds. I don’t know if I will ever be able to put together a streak of finds that is longer than the 2115 days of slump, but that isn’t really the point.
What is the point? Well, it really is just to get outside and have some fun, which I certainly have been doing. There are some challenges that cachers can complete. Some caches require you to solve puzzles or complete challenges in order to find and log the cache. Basically the game is based around goals that you set for yourself. There really aren’t any big prizes, no one can win the game. I suppose if you found all of the millions of caches around the world you could say you won, but there are new caches every day. For me it is just something fun to do.