I’ve always heard the phrase Geocaching, but never went much more farther than that to find out what it meant. That is until a friend of ours, Kenny, told us more about them and it got our interest. Geocaching is a high tech treasure hunt of sorts where people use GPS receivers to find “caches” that have been left by others at specific coordinates. Caches are normally small watertight containers with a “prize” inside. Normally it’s a trinket not of high value and depending on the specific instructions you can take it with you as long as you replace it or you don’t have to take it at all. Because the fun isn’t in the prize, it’s in the hunt!
Geocaching gives you a reason to explore, to go to someplace new, and it all has a sense of adventure to it. But it also serves another purpose, most geocachers make it a practice to pick up any trash that they find along the way while searching for elusive cache containers, thus making it an effort to clean up the environment as well.
Today when I went out on a walk through Wickham Park, I didn’t intend on looking for caches. But an app that I installed on my phone for geocaching rang off and told me that I was getting close to a cache. And then the hunt was on! I was using my phone’s Geocaching app to lead me, which doesn’t have the accuracy that a dedicated GPS receiver has, but it was enough to point me in the right direction and get me close. After a little backtracking followed by some sideways tracking I finally found an old spray painted ammo box with “Geocache” written on it.
I grabbed the box and opened it. It was filled with little toys and fake gold coins, but I didn’t take anything seeing how this was an impromptu search and I didn’t bring anything to replace it with. The best part was the log. Each cache should have a log to go along with it where people sign and date when they found the cache. This log went back for years! It was great to read the names and messages that people wrote in for future people to find. And that’s where the real value comes in I think, to reach out and communicate to like-minded people that you would never get a chance to meet otherwise.
You can always spot a cacher, they’re constantly looking intently at some device in their hand and looking around as if they’ve lost something. You’ll see them walking with purpose in one direction only to turn on a dime to walk in another direction with the same sense of purpose. And then ultimately you’ll find them wading through the bushes not seeming to be concerned that they have left the beaten path.
And I think that’s what draws me to it, the willingness to jump off the well traveled path at a moment’s notice to search for adventure, even if it’s only to leave it for a few minutes to find some fake gold coins and to connect with people that you’ve never met seems completely worth it. I think that I’ll be finding myself wading in the bushes much more in the future to come.