Since I post a lot about things that I do inside my house, you might wonder if I ever leave my desk.
Well, I do! I walk the dogs, but what I love even more, is geocaching. It’s sort of modern puzzle walk. All you need is a handheld gps and a geocache description of one of the thousands on the site. Sometimes the description gives you plain coordinates where you can go to and search for the stash, or treasure, as my daughters call it. Somtimes the description only gives you a location to park your car and a first waypoint where you will find a clue for the next waypoint. My daughters love this type of geocaches most! But then there’s the type I’m beginning to grow fond of: the mystery cache! It will appear as a question mark on the geocache map and when you click it, you will find a description that only gives a puzzle, a riddle that when solved correctly, will either give the coordinates of the stash, or the coordinates of a waypoint.
So, what does this little cuty have to do with it? Well, this is a Travel Bug. It is a dog tag with a code on it. That code is secret, so that’s why I didn’t photograph it. I attached this travel bug to this doggy yesterday evening because I’m going to send this little dog into the wide world. He’s going to travel; from stash to stash, from geocacher to geocacher. Everytime a cacher finds this in a stash, he can pick it up, log it as ‘retrieved’ and take it to another stash. The fun is that the website keeps track of the code and calculates the distance it travels and keeps track of its current location. It’s great fun. Sometimes these travel bugs get lost or stolen when an entire stash is ripped (happens occaisionally, when geocachers are overlooked by “muggles” when finding a stash. Muggles are people like you, who’ve never heard of ‘geocaching’. Some of these muggles get curious, dig up the stash and never put it back. Then the entire contents are lost.
Oh, talking about contents…geocaching is especially great fun to do with kids. They get to hike in nature and as a reward for their efforts they get to find or dig up a real treasure. Because in most stashes there are goodies to exchange. The kids get to pick a goody each and I put two goodies back into the stash, for the next kids. They love it. Sometimes it’s a let down when there are no good goodies in a stash. But usually they find some little trinket or gadget that they are really proud of. It happens often that they take their loot to school, to show the other kids in class. My daughter has to deliver her first speech in front of class in two weeks. At first she wanted to talk about our Cardigan Welsh Corgi “Silke” because then she’d get to bring the little dog to school. How tempting an idea! But then the idea of talking about geocaching sprang to mind…then she’d get to bring her collection of treasures to school and show them all. Now, that’s an idea mommy liked! So, since we’re heading for our 50th find, I ordered my girls a geocoin each.
What a geocoin is? Well, basically you can use it as a travel bug. On the back of this unicorn there’s a secret code. So, we could send it into the world. I just don’t think my kids will want to do this because they will probably want to keep these cool coins themselves. Now, that’s the great thing about coins. You can carry them with you and exchange the codes with geocachers you run into on your geocaches. I have one on my geocaching bag (holds gps, pens, goodies, travel bugs, a small notebook to keep record of our finds and the printed description of the caches we’re doing that day) that can be “spotted”. And even crazier…we have ordered a travel bug for our cars! A sticker with the secret code!!! People can then log our cars as travel bugs…
Well, there’s loads more to tell about geocaching. If you got interested, then I can only advise you to give it a try. You can open a free account that gives you access to loads of caches. It will take a little time to understand what to do, but it’s worth the effort!!! (And if you really don’t understand what to do, then e-mail me the code of the cache and the problem you’re having and I’ll see if I can help). A handheld GPS can be hired…but there are really good ones for fair prices (we have the Magellan Explorist 210 that never failed us)…and if you buy it second hand…well, that’s about as cheap as hiring. So, there’s no excuse to give this a try. Just bear one thing in mind…geocaching is a little secretive…so make sure you never EVER actively search for or lift a stash with people around unless it’s geocachers looking for that same stash!!!
Oh, and before I forget…did you know that you can take this hobby with you on a holiday? Just visit this map, zoom out and take it to your holiday location and zoom back in again. The icons that appear are geocaches. And? How many are there? And how many are there near your own house?
I’m curious. Let me know if you’re warming up to this!
Oh, and if you are, and if you’re opening an account, you can befriend me if you like. That way you can see which geocaches I’ve already done and I can keep track of yours. Also, you can keep in touch that way. My geocache name is “Romaisne”. But if you can’t find me, just mail me your username and I’ll find you!
Now, go on, click on that link and just take a look!!!!