Geocaching
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
I've recently acquired a new game/sport/hobby called "geocaching".

Geocaching.com defines it thusly:
Geocaching is an entertaining adventure game for gps users. ... The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they get something they should try to leave something for the cache.
Geocaching is similar to a very large (world-wide, even) easter egg hunt. The family no longer hides the eggs - they have been replaced by complete strangers. The eggs are now less colorful and range widely in appearance and size. So far I've seen matchstick containers, ammo boxes, tupperware, plastic jugs, and 35mm film canisters.

The "wide variety of rewards" regularly consist of dollar-store junk and old dirty toys - the stuff a normal person would dump into the "10 cents" garage store box. The cache-egg must also contain something to sign, confirming you did find it. It may or may not contain a writing utensil, which means I will consistently forget to carry my own.

The veritable treasure trove of junk is not the reason I enjoy geocaching. There's something oddly fascinating about a hidden container that no one notices, but waits quietly for someone with the treasure map to locate. When you do locate the cache, you find in the logbook that many unseen others have visited the same location, unknown to you and the rest of the world. I have driven by one of these hundreds, if not thousands, of times before I was let in on the geocaching secret.

Geocaching provides more than the adventure of discovering dirty tupperware, though. It provides a reason to explore a local park, hike an unknown trail, and see parts of your world you never knew existed.

...and the sweet dollar-store toys, too.

1 Comments:

Blogger the mom said...

You never cease to amaze me. It's like you getting your "surprise packages" from Archie McPhee when you were a kid. Sounds like a great way to see the world. And I'm glad it's something you and the "Mrs" can do together.

8/23/2006 4:19 PM  

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