We have a new toy and a new hobby! The toy is a Garmin Etrex Legend HCx handheld GPS receiver which we are still learning how to use and the hobby is geocaching.
Geocaching is basically a grown up, high-tech game of hide and seek. Participants use GPS units to hide and find containers called geocaches or simply caches and then log their activity online. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook where the finder records the date they found it as well as their geocaching username. It may also contain small items for trading or a trackable item such as a travel bug or a geocoin that is moved from cache to cache. Each trackable has its own unique tracking number stamped on it and its own online diary that follows its movements. To watch a 2 minute video that explains geocaching in a nutshell, click here.
There are currently more than 1.6 million geocaches hidden in over 100 countries around the world. They can be found on every continent including Antarctica and there are over 5 million registered geocachers out there looking for them! Today we joined their ranks.
Though we look forward to finding caches in many interesting and faraway places, there are lots to be found close to home. This afternoon, we set off in the sunshine in search of two of them. We had a little trouble finding the first one, not because it was so difficult but because we were still trying to figure out how to use the GPS! We’re not the most technologically savvy pair on the planet! Once we figured out how to enter the coordinates and follow the directions, the GPS led us right to what we were looking for. Our first find was an ammo box hidden within sight of the school I used to teach at.
The second one, which we found much more easily, was a little further from home. It was a camouflaged peanut butter jar hidden in the edge of a farmer’s field.
After just two finds, we’re definitely hooked! Geocaching is a perfect activity for retired folk like us with plenty of time on our hands and a love of the great outdoors.
One aspect of geocaching that we are very pleased to participate in is known as Cache In Trash Out. Geocachers around the world are dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of parks and other cache-friendly locations by picking up trash as we go. It’s easy and it enhances the beauty of our surroundings.
On the way home after finding our second cache this afternoon, we wandered some back roads and found something else that we weren’t looking for but it will be the topic of my next post!